Should England go with Fatty or Finny?

Steven Finn and Tim Bresna - England Training Session

Poor Steve Finn had a bit of a lean spell at the WACA – so much so that Flower and Strauss are weighing up whether to plum for (or should that be ‘plump’ for) Tim Bresnan. It would be tough on Finn, who is the leading wicket taker in the series so far, but there’s no question he’s been leaking runs at an alarming rate.

Flower spoke yesterday about the need for England to build pressure at the MCG, therefore it looks like the rotund Bresnan’s accuracy might have tipped the scales in his favour.

This is a serious dilemma. Finn is England’s best seam bowling prospect for years. My instinct says we should stick with him through fat and thin – much like we did with Stuart Broad. Furthermore, England‘s recent success has been built on consistency of selection. Therefore it would surely be wrong to panic like Australia did after Brisbane.

On the other hand, it’s easy to forget that Finn is only 21 years old. The workload of an intense Ashes series seemed to be taking its toll in Perth. Perhaps it would be better for his long term development to give him a rest?

Bresnan might not be the most penetrative seamer in the world, but he’s reliable, a solid character, and can bat a bit – which wouldn’t hurt after the WACA debacle. Furthermore, with Graeme Swann struggling for form, our four man attack looks paper-Finn when the Middlesex youngster is off colour.

It’s a real tough one for the selectors to call. The other option, of course, would be to select Bresnan instead of Collingwood – who seems unlikely to score runs anyway. We’d miss his fielding, but at least a five man attack would keep the bowlers fresh and take some of the pressure off Finn – enabling him to bowl faster in short spells.

The problem with this is that it would seem nonsensical in the circumstances. Even Australia’s selectors aren’t dumb enough to rectify problems with the batting line up by weakening it. Besides, Matt Prior’s inability to hit a cow’s arse with a banjo in the first three tests probably precludes his promotion to number six right now.

What would you do? My instinct is that England will weigh up the options, consider changes, then select exactly the same XI. Whenever the media calls for changes, England’s response is usually ‘same players, different performance’. And who can blame them? Unlike the Aussies, England don’t usually panic at the first sign of trouble.

James Morgan

8 comments

  • I like your puns Morgsy!

    Personally Bresnan for Finn seems a sensible selection for all your reasons. Finn is clearly worn out, strengthens the batting now we don’t have Broad, and can help tie and end down at the very least.

    Got to get Bell above Collingwood. I’d keep Colly in, it’s not as though Morgan has scored many runs in the other matches. Collingwood does OK in the face of criticism, so lets hope for a big one from him at the ‘G’.

    • I think there should be constant pressure on Colly and Cook in the media. Neither of them seem to get any runs unless there is speculation about their place in the team – although Cook has been better recently.

      I say drop both of them now (are you listening Colly?). If they get runs at the MCG they should definitely be dropped for Sydney! If they win the Ashes for us there, they should be dropped for the English summer etc etc.

  • Tough on Finn but I think he needs to be rested (isn’t that the terms these days) otherwise we might need the (Bruce Ried) tape. I’d favour Bresnan for his discipline with the ball and his batting. England need to build pressure and he might just do that.

    As for Colly. Tough one, we know this is his situtation. On the other hand there is little to lose in picking Morgan and he doesn’t seem to be the type to worry about a lack of cricket.

    But I see no more that two possible changes… Unless Chapple and Hilditch have been employed by the ECB

  • Great puns, is that some sort of record amount for one article?

    I think this is a difficult choice. There is an argument for picking, or leaving Finn out, and I think you summed them up pretty well James.

    What I would add to that, is sometimes you need to take a player out to protect him from himself, although I don’t think that applys to Finn at the moment, I don’t think his head has really dropped yet.

    Earlier in the day I thought if Bresnan came in, it should be for Collingwood. But on reflection I’m not sure, and as you pointed out weakening a batting line up won’t help it and Prior is in no form to speak off.

    I just hope the Bresnan selection won’t be solely on the fact that we have lost Broad’s runs. I definately would be against it on that basis, his main job would be to bowl, not bat at 8.

    Another thing that will probably save Collingwood, is Morgan’s lack of cricket. If Morgan had just hit a century in a tour match, then I think Colly might have struggled to stay in the team. Flower will have to weigh up which is the greater risk. An out of form Colly, who is England’s best fielder – or a game rusty Morgan?

    Thats why I think Colly will keep his place. I’m not convinved by changing Finn either, if Bresnan fails, the fact that we left out (dropped) the series top wicket taker would look pretty stupid.

    I think there is some tough calls to make over the next week.

  • In the Finn-al analysis, I would worry about our attack lacking penetration if we drop our lanky youngster. However, if he keeps bowling just 80mph because his body’s knackered there’s no point in selecting him.

    A compromise decision could be to select Shahzad instead. Suppose it all depends on the wicket. I don’t know how easy it will be for the Aussies to doctor a drop-in pitch? Bob Willis seemed to have his doubts the other night on the highlights.

    PS This thread must now have the pun record, surely?

  • If Finn’s to be dropped I would definitely play Shahzad. He’s quicker, able to reverse it (thus taking whatever pitch is prepared out of the equation) and the Aussies haven’t seen much of him. Bresnan won’t be giving any of the Aussie batsmen sleepless nights, and his own batting isn’t good enough to consider him replacing Colly.

    Swann’s perfectly capable of batting 8 and Shahzad 9 – think adding a bits and pieces player like Bresnan to the side sends completely the wrong signal to the top 6. Let them write off Perth as an aberration and get back to doing what they’ve (for the most part this year) done well enough.

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