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Taking The Positive (Singular)

England have been thoroughly outplayed at Nottingham in every department: batting, bowling, and fielding. If there was a food or lingerie department at Trent Bridge, we’d probably have been outplayed in that too.

India have improved immeasurably in this game whereas England have gone backwards. Actually, scrap that, our batting hasn’t gone backwards because it was already at the bottom of Mount Everest with nowhere else to slide. It was just as bad here as it has been all series.

There is, however, one huge positive to take from the game. And this time it’s actually a real positive, not subjective or illusionary bullshit spouted to fulfil monotonous media duties. I am referring, of course, to Jos Buttler’s first test century.

That’s the Jos Buttler, of course, who didn’t deserve his recall; the Jos Buttler who had previously shown zero commitment to first class cricket; the Jos Buttler who questioned whether test cricket would even be around in a decade; and Jos Buttler the one-day specialist who simply didn’t possess the technique or temperament to play a proper, patient, test innings.

According to some idiots anyway. Ahem.

Yesterday Jos Buttler took all the understandable criticism of his selection – well, it was just his fifth red ball century and his first for four years! – and shoved it firmly up the critics’ collective backsides. After a shaky start he played incredibly well. And his defensive technique looked as a tight as an aquatic bird’s bullet hole.

In my opinion Jos currently plays straighter and with better foot movement than most players in the side. I was really impressed by his performance. He looked a completely different player to the one sorted out by Australia back in 2015. Fair play to the guy. I didn’t think he had it in him and I was completely wrong.

No doubt Jos’s critics will point out that he should have been caught for a low score yesterday (Pant’s effort was pants), and they might even point out that he was dropped in single figures on his successful return to the side against Pakistan too. But doesn’t every batsman need a bit of luck now and again? Maybe Jos is simply one of those players who’s a poor starter but incredibly dangerous when set. And there have been plenty of successful test batsmen like that.

Yes yesterday was just one innings. We should remember that Moeen Ali, another recent England No.7, scored five test hundreds before the selectors decided he wasn’t consistent enough to be a test match batsman. False dawns have been ubiquitous in English cricket: after all Graeme Hick made six test centuries, Mark Ramprakash two, Chris Lewis once scored 117 against India at Chennai, and yet all their international careers ultimately ended in failure.

However, there was something about Buttler’s innings yesterday that suggests his story will end differently. It wasn’t like his first innings slog, which contained several horrible hacks. Yesterday’s effort was full of stout defence and elegant cover driving. And as a purist these are the kinds of things I love to see.

Long term Buttler must move up the order now. He’s proved Ed Smith was right to pick him; but Ed Smith was wrong to miscast him as a specialist No.7. Just as he was wrong to miscast young Ollie Pope as a No.4.

As many of us said before the Lord’s test, picking a uber-talented youngster who had never batted in the first fifteen overs of a first class game before at second drop, whilst the vice-captain hid down the order, was utterly ridiculous. Buttler is a good player of spin, so he should do well in Sri Lanka this winter, and he must swap places with Pope immediately.

Thus far young Ollie has shown a great temperament but a less than watertight technique (he often leaves a big gap between bat and pad whilst playing at balls he should leave). In fact, I might be tempted to simply move Buttler to No.4 and recall Sam Curran, thus giving Pope time to work on his game.

The big complication in the short-term, however, is the injury to Jonny Bairstow. If Jonny can’t play in the next test then a more radical rethink might be required. One might even be tempted to give Ben Foakes a game, and then choose between Pope and Curran on the day. I’m not a fan of wicket-keepers batting in the top four or five, so if Jos moves up the order he should focus on his batting alone.

The other option is to bring in Joe Clarke, Moeen Ali, or even Ian Bell for Bairstow, give Jos the gloves, and keep the balance of the side the same. Ben Stokes played a very responsible innings yesterday so at least that gives the batting a little more solidity on paper. No doubt Bell has his admirers, but personally I can’t see England recalling a 36 year old. Moeen scored a double century against Yorkshire yesterday (and took a few wickets) so perhaps this is a more likely eventuality.

What’s clear from the above, however, is that England have plenty of thinking to do. The performance at Trent Bridge has been a shambles and Ed Smith still has many problems to solve. Having finally found a player capable of filling one of the specialist batting spots (whether that’s at four, five, or even six), Ed must now turn to England’s openers. How much longer can Cook and Jennings survive?

Although I agreed that Jennings deserved another go in test cricket I’ve been really disappointed that he hasn’t improved his game. He’s statuesque at the crease and looks an inferior player to Mark Stoneman at this point. And he’s even caught Dawid’s dropsies disease (which is never a good sign).

And then we come to Alastair, who failed yet again yesterday. George Dobell wrote a piece the other day about how Cook has become something of a flat track bully – in other words, he only scores runs in the most benign conditions. This is something Maxie and I used to go on about ad nauseam. I’m afraid it isn’t a new phenomenon. It has just become more apparent as Cook’s career winds down and the miles on the clock ratchet up.

Can you see England’s opening the innings with Rory Burns and Nick Gubbins in the fourth test? It would certainly be funky. Something tells me, however, that Alastair won’t suffer the indignity of being ditched mid-series. He surely has too many admirers in the corridors of power. If he doesn’t score runs in the next two games he might be given a quite nudge and then announce his retirement. Jennings, however, is a very different case.

James Morgan 

2018-08-22T09:43:42+00:00 August 22nd, 2018|Eng v Ind 2018, Test Cricket|44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Gav August 22, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Cook needs a break from international cricket. Listen to Ian Bell speak, he’s had an extended break of not flying around the world living out of hotels and he is hungry as ever to come back into the side. I think this is what Cook needs because he’s been playing international cricket for far too long. He’s missed 1 test match hasn’t he, since he made his debut?

    • growltiger August 22, 2018 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Cook does not need a break. He needs to retire

  2. James August 22, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Firstly, fair play to Jos his innings showed maturity many people didn’t know he had. However he is pretty much the only positive to come out of this game (apart from maybe Stokes in the second innings). For me Jennings has to go. Get Burns or Gubbins in (I’d say Burns but that is the Surrey fan in me talking) and give them some time to get used to test cricket before Sri Lanka later this year.
    Foakes should play if Jonny can’t and I’d put him at 7, Pope at 5/6 and Jos at 4/5.

    • Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      Wow. Literally shows for one innings actual test match mentality and he’s up to 4. Any wonder why we have such a crap batting order.. stokes has one or two flashy innings and a stodgy one and he’s suddnely world class.. (avg 30’s)..Bairstow similar ….

      When will people realise that these players need to show consistency not odd games before being lauded as superstars

  3. Doug M August 22, 2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

    The top order is a disaster in nearly every game and is luckily often bailed out by the mid order. Even considering he should be a 4 not 3 Root isn’t even scoring now. As you say James Pope is a number 6 not 4 where he’s never batted for Surrey. With the ever dodgy 1 & 2, 3 & 4 are almost openers which their not. I heard a rumour of yet another Vince recall, please no. Also Cook may not play next test anyway as his wife is expecting. Look the problem is if there is no one else who can average over 35 as an opener you may as well stick with what you’ve got for the moment, although Jennings is awful. The only one that may be able to do it is Tory Burns, there just isn’t anyone else putting their hand up.

    I didn’t watch it yesterday because I was at an enthralling game at the Oval which was 10 times better. Good on Butler but it’s all rather meaningless when your going to lose by 200 runs.

  4. John August 22, 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    I have been very disappointed with Jennings since his recall. In his first ‘spell’ in the Test side he showed technical fallibility, but the word was that he was working on that with his county. He briefly, initially, looked better on his recall, but gradually the old faults have reappeared to the point where you can say that, for now at least, he is not a Test opener.

  5. Down at Third Man August 22, 2018 at 10:15 am - Reply

    I have always wanted to see Buttler playing for England in Test matches and welcomed his selection against Pakistan. I never thought that the problem was lack of maturity or application.

    His vulnerability comes, as it does for many sportspeople with great eyes and hands, from their ability to make wonderful contact without moving their feet In their development stage they simply don’t need to move those feet us much as those without this gift. They seldom get punished for it and their practice (as artists use the word) gets ingrained.

    Every now and then, therefore, Buttler plays miles from his body and his eyes. Even when he does connect well he is much happier putting his front foot straight down the wicket, winding up the lag on his downswing and slapping it through covers. Which is why he is also one of the best in the world at using a swing that owes much to modern golf.

    His first ball on his return to Test cricket at Lord’s was a case in point. No foot movement, a clean swing and an inside edge that somehow missed the stumps. Yesterday I tweeted an image from Sky showing the huge gap between bat and body, his right elbow miles from his hip. And contrasted it with Stokes who classically keeps the elbow of his bottom hand tucked in tight to his hip.

    Buttler therefore is going to be unreliable (if he doesn’t amend his technique in this regard). What is going to be the ratio of 100s or even 70s to low scores because of lack of foot movement? Is that ratio worth a place? Can you get ‘lag’ on the down swing without that gap between ball and body? Is it actually worth trying? Probably not. Just keep him away from the new ball as much as possible and take his ‘low hanging fruit’. But don’t get carried away. Enjoy his runs and forgive his errors. We may not be able to have the one without the other.

    • James Morgan August 22, 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

      There are definitely times when Jos’s old habits come through. He’s not technically perfect by any means. However, I do think his foot movement in defence (which is what I was referring to in my article above really) has improved a lot. I thought he looked very compact defending on and around off-stump. Totally agree that players with great eyes don’t always move their feet to the ball. The hope, I guess, is that they can learn this skill.

      • Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:17 pm - Reply

        His ‘foot movement’ is a trigger and decided action. He has obviously decided to essentially walk across his stumps. That’s not usingnyou feet.. that’s simply moving your start position

        He’s the same Jos as ever and now he’s had one actual test innings people are over hyping again.. face facts, he will never be good enough consistently in test match Cricket.

    • John August 22, 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

      I suspect much of that comes from playing with Trescothick. Never a natural mover, Fletcher encouraged him instead to get in position early, ‘plant” his feet to give himself a solid platform, and then hit through the ball as hard as possible. Part of the logic for this was that, especially overseas, there was little sideways movement early on, and Test wickets generally played ‘true’ for the openers. It served Tresco pretty well, but I’m not sure the same logic applies to someone batting 5, 6 or 7 in English conditions.

  6. James August 22, 2018 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I quite like the idea of Moeen batting at 3 (the only position he hasn’t batted for England, and where he bats for Worcs). Or is that not “funky” enough? It would allow Root to bat 4 (which he prefers). To be fair, I’d also take Stokes’ batting as a positive.

    For me the biggest negative is that the top 4 all got into double figures in both innings, and only one of those 8 innings went past 20 (Cook got 29 in the first). You just don’t win test matches if you’re 4 down for under 100 in both innings.

    • Pete Cresswell August 22, 2018 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Apparently it’s the first time in test history that the top 5 in both team reached double figures twice

    • Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      Moeen selection isn’t ‘funky’.. it’s stupid. He’s been tried and failed. Going back to him means you might as well choose balance… moeen is a flashy wafty middle order player who sadly shows our county champ isn’t much cop as he bats 3

  7. Simon H August 22, 2018 at 10:43 am - Reply

    England’s margins of defeat in home Tests since the start of 2015: 199 runs, 405 runs, innings and 46 runs, 75 runs, 10 wickets, 340 runs, 5 wickets, 9 wickets, 203 runs. So, when England lose it tend to be shellacking – and yet the team hasn’t lost a series. It’s all very peculiar.

    More stats (this one pinched off Dave Tickner): England’s specialist batsmen in this series average 19.9; all-rounders, keepers and spare keepers average 37. If Ed Smith doesn’t go all Funkadelic on us and pick a team entirely composed of all-rounders and keepers, perhaps he’ll pick that guy who made all those runs off Yorkshire? Is it finally time for Daryl Mitchell?….

    Anyone else noticing how nobody in the media is calling for Jennings to be dropped? It’s almost like someone’s designated him FEC and they know he’s going to be given every possible chance (and probably a few on top of that).

  8. Matt August 22, 2018 at 11:31 am - Reply

    As much as I enjoy Ed Smith being blamed for all the worlds ills, I think he only picks the squad not the final eleven and certainly not the batting order. So to blame him for where Buttler or Pope bat in the order is incorrect imo, that’s down to the captain and coach, both of which I’m less convinced about with each passing game. I would like to see a middle order of Root at 4, Buttler (5), Stokes(6) and Bairstow at 7(wk) when fit,Foakes could deputise until then. Pope looks exactly what he is to me, young, talented but nowhere near ready for test cricket. Who bats 1,2 and 3 is anyone’s guess, I haven’t seen much of Burns but his numbers certainly suggest he deserves a chance.

    • James Morgan August 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Matt. Got to interject here. Ed Smith specifically picked Ollie Pope to bat 4 and Buttler 7. There’s no doubt about that. It’s not the case that the national selector just comes up with 12 names and tells Bayliss to get on with it. It might have been like that in previous eras but not now. There’s a great deal of collaboration and Bayliss is actually on the selection committee too.

    • Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Wow.. that line up is so inconsistent.. I mean you literally have one player above 40avg !!! Notorious ball strikers and not for consistent performances.

      Sigh.. literally no hope for people if no one is willing to admit half those listed don’t perform well enough, often enough

  9. Jamie August 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Good comments.

    To solve our batting issues, I think we need to two things.

    1) “Middle order” batsmen need to come at six first and get “promoted” up once they prove themselves in the team, up to four at highest. Someone like Pope shouldn’t be thrown in the straight end but has shown potential; he should be bedding at six.

    2) “Top order” batsmen (i.e. top three positions) should all be openers. Batting at three is practically opening and we need grafters in those positions; gone is the ideal of attacking / defensive openers etc. The single and key priority that we have learned is to get opening batsmen that will greatly value their wicket. England have never had a problem with a lack of middle order firepower to propel forwards the momentum. We need more “Jonathan Trotts” at the top of the order.

    The biggest thing holding England back at the moment is the lack of top order batting stability.

    In terms of team selection, I think we should be looking at
    Cook
    Another opener
    Another opener
    Root
    Buttler
    Pope
    Stokes
    Woakes
    Rashid
    Broad
    Anderson

    Realistically with Bairstow out but to come back in, they certainly won’t be bringing in two new openers any time soon so reckon it’ll be no change apart from Bairstow out and (hopefully, in my view) Curran in as the latter looked very promising in terms of what he offers. However the batting issues don’t go away. I would prefer to see Buttler go up and Pope down the order as you have described.

    • Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:23 pm - Reply

      And where are these types of grafters going to come from ?? All counties down the age groups care for is fast scoring ball strikers .. where in the amateur game will these players be nurtured ??

      Answer

      No where

      Formats dictating all levels now are white ball biff biff .. there simply is no place for players at any level who grind out innings ..

  10. Comte August 22, 2018 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I watched a few minutes of last night’s Debate in which Willis and Butcher were tying themselves in knots about selection, batting order and players saying where they wanted to bat and field.I turned off quickly.

    My own view is that anyone picked to bat for England would have reasonable expectations of batting in their usual position, Thus, asking Pope to bat at 4 was bloody stupid. Root, as skipper, should bat where he likes and not where Sky commentators say. Buttler probably deserves to bat higher than 7, as does a fit Bairstow.

    I think it also reasonable to expect that anyone selected for England should be a proficient fielder, close and/or in the deep. We have to have a decent slip cordon which we lack at the moment. “Catches win matches’ was never better illustrated than in this game. The Indians were on fire and we were decidedly not.

    I really don’t want to see Cook and Jennings open for England again. One has lost it, in seemingly terminal decline, and the other never had it and both suffer from dropsyitis. And when they depart, as part they must, Ramprakash should accompany them out of the door and give cricket a wide berth.

  11. Doug August 22, 2018 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    With 9 wickets down, 290 to win, can someone please tell me the merit of holding out to take the game into an extra day?

    Seriously, who on earth would want a game that potentially could of ended after one ball. The cost must of been massive.

    The players could of had an extra day off, but no, the brains trust thought it would be wise to hold out until stumps.

    Dumb England and their lack of strategy once again.

    • Benny August 22, 2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      Couldn’t help thinking of snooker where, if a player realises he has no chance of winning the frame, he stays in his seat and doesn’t waste anyone’s time. Move on to the next

      • Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:24 pm - Reply

        So you basically want white ball ‘we can’t win so just slog out’.

        Sigh., that’s not test cricket . Test cricket you fight and fight and fight

  12. Simon H August 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Meanwhile the CC is being won by a guy who if he played for one of the Big Three would still be playing international cricket. Yeah, but Jimmy and Cooky and their heroic longevity….

    (Just to be clear, this isn’t getting at Morkel. I don’t blame him in the slightest for wanting to set his family up for the future at this stage of his career. I’m getting at the governance of the global game that results in him finding playing English domestic cricket better for his future than playing internationals. The game needs a central revenue fund with money re-distributed to the poorer boards – but the Big Three will keep just playing each other and proclaiming their own brilliance until the game collapses. It stinks).

  13. Gareth August 22, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    It’s a hard one to comment on, when, as has been pointed out, England are still 2-1 up in the series, but what’s frustrating is that for all the talk of new selection committees, promoting youth, “funky” selections yadda yadda, it is the same age-old problems that selection, team management and coaches, and the players themselves are doing *nothing* to address.

    I know Ben Stokes said they’d shut everyone’s mouths two Tests ago, but the top order are not scoring runs. The selection is muddled, and the team are relying on two fading fast bowlers and a talented lower-middle order to try and plaster band aids over bullet wounds.

    The selection of Buttler. I’m pleased for him, I think he’s a good guy and a supremely talented cricketer, but when I was watching the Ashes and saw four medium pace right arm bowlers getting death by a thousand cuts, Ali being carted, Stoneman dropping catches because he couldnt be arsed taking those stupid shinpads off and James Vince nicking off I didn’t think “a specialist seven with a license to attack will cure all these ails”. No.

    I personally think Rashid is the best of a mediocre bunch of spinners just now. But is a leggie the kind of spinner to set fields to when you’re attacking totals made after losing all ten wickets in a session? Is the poor bastard likely to get to bowl on a day 4 & 5 pitch with a big 400 plus total and attacking fields due to the triumphant batting exploits of Keaton Jennings? Nope. Credit where its due, his selection annoyed all the people that its good to annoy, but he’s not being given a chance to succeed.

    Root chosing to bowl when the bowlers didnt fancy it. Hey ho – short again (with the exception of Woakes that first session to be fair) rinse and repeat. And a strop about the ball. And a couple of dropped catches. Checklist ticked.

    Pope picked to be funky with absolutely no thought given to giving him the best chance to succeed. But hey, Bumble said its another triumphant Ed Smith selection and who am I to argue?

    Bairstow keeping the gloves, because we have to remember that the England cricket team has two primary goals. Number 1 – keeping Jonny happy, and a distant second – winning games of cricket. Take the gloves off him, and tell him to score some bloody hundreds.

  14. AndyB August 22, 2018 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Very amusing James. You had me going for a minute. Then I realised you were exercising your wicked wit!

    Buttler the saviour of English test batting because he played one good innings and got his first test century after 23 tests (and still averages under 35)? Next thing you will be telling us that Chris Woakes proved he should bat in the top 4 because he got his first test century after 25 games.All credit to Buttler for this effort (albeit in the best conditions – sunny against the old ball). But he needs to do it plenty more times to show he is better than his overall test record. But he should certainly bat up the order if he is a real bat – and, whatever we do, please do not give him the gloves. I have seen better keepers in the Surrey Championship. Gives Foakes the gloves. A much better keeper (and probably as good a bat – if not better).

  15. Doug M August 22, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Well I’ve just seen a classic at the Oval where Surrey beat Lancashire by 6 runs in a nail biter of a game with neither side getting the upper hand for long. I’d rare this in my 10 best games of all time, which includes tests. Play it over and over, wonderful. I really couldn’t be bothered to watch the “highlights” of the test. One sided thrashings don’t really do it in my book. Good on Butler but I was reliably informed that lots of runs came of the edge anyway. And excuse the language, but for fucks sake why didn’t they just kick the stumps down at the end of yesterday? Unless they thought it was going to rain all day. What a pointless waste of everyone’s time.

  16. david deakin August 22, 2018 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Doug M, you really need to learn to spell. rare?, of? Butler it is Buttler. The best of all was Tory Burns which was either a comment on his politics or I suspect another spelling mistake. I agree the Surrey v Lancs game was a classic which could have gone either way. Good advert for CC.

  17. ravi August 22, 2018 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Hi James,

    Nice review of the Trent Bridge test. Joe Root’s some decisions including inserting India after winning the toss boomeranged on him. Like what he did last year at Headingly against West Indies when he declared at 490/8 setting a target of 322 runs in the fourth Innings, which backfired as the Windies romped home by 5 wickets when Shai Hope hit century in both Innings. His explanation after this Test was ” grass in the outfield ” tempted to insert the opposition doesn’t sound ideal. And it was blessing in disguise for Indians who scored 307 runs on the first day and their openers put 60 runs on the board. From there on everything went wrong for England dropping dollies in the slip cordon as happened throughout the series and of course India also dropped some catches but the debutante Keeper Pant & KL Rahul at second slip held 7 catches each that set up for a win. No doubt as Kohli rightly India put up runs on the board and the Indian pace bowlers exploited the conditions well after a severe drubbing at Lord’s with both Hardik Pandya & Jasprit Bumrah picking 5 scalps in first and second innings respectively. Kohli led from the front in batting scoring 97 & 103 runs and useful contributions by Rahane (81) & 73 by Pujara helped India to consolidate their position. And Jos Buttler’s leather hunt in both innings was the solitary consolation for England. And the series is still wide open as 2 test matches are on the anvil to attain the supremacy.

  18. Elaine Simpson-Long August 22, 2018 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    I commented a couple of posts ago that I felt Cook should drop to No 3 and two new openers should be tried. Two guys who were just as bad or as good as each other and would learn together. Might be dire at first but we are dire now. Was listening to the Verdict tonight and delighted to hear Mark But her say the same thing which made me feel less of an idiot for suggesting it!

  19. Simon H August 23, 2018 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Buttler was the one success…. give him the gloves! shunt him up and then down and then back up the order! talk him up as captain! make him captain!

    Hang on, he’s not so successful anymore. Why could that be? Are his eyes going?

    Rinse and repeat.

    • AndyB August 23, 2018 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Buttler did well (in one innings after 23 tests) and I have no problem promoting him up the order (he should bat higher if he is a bat). But I draw the line at giving him the gloves. He is not a test keeper (or even a county standard keeper) and after 10 years of trying he never will be. Why do you think Somerset preferred to keep Kieswetter?

  20. Doug M August 23, 2018 at 10:31 am - Reply

    It’s the predictive text that does it rather than bad spelling! I should check, but always in a hurry. I’ll be sure to check in future!

  21. Simon H August 23, 2018 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    How many of those complaining about Vince were also complaining about not respecting CC performances? Vince scored 221 runs in his last match and is the third Englishman (min. 5 matches) in the batting averages (behind Pope who’s already been picked and Burns. They’re the only three averaging 50+). VInce averages 12 more than Joe Clarke, for example.

    • Simon H August 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      A few other spots from the CC averages:
      1) Gary Ballance is below Harry Gurney in the batting averages.
      2) Haseeb Hameed is averaging 10 from 15 innings.
      3) Sam “He’ll be playing red ball cricket for England before the end of 2018” Hain is averaging 22 in D2.
      4) Recent England discards like Tom Westley and Ben Duckett are having poor seasons (averages 17 and 25 respectively).

      Conclusion: it’s not easy to score a lot of runs after being discarded or linked to England.

    • AndyB August 23, 2018 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      You mean they are the only 3 averaging over 50 in Div 1. There are 2 in Div 2 – Bell and Ben Brown of Sussex.

  22. Simon H August 23, 2018 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Oh, and of course they should recall Belly but I’m living in the real world where there’s no effing way they’re going to do that.

  23. Comte August 23, 2018 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    How does one get dropped by England?

    By not coming from the right sort of family.
    Possibly by failing to have incriminating evidence about a selector.
    By not being a mate of Joe Root.

    Other suggestions welcomed.

  24. Doug M August 23, 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    The problem is who do you pick that is sufficiently better than what you’ve got? Openers: whose averaging over 35 around the country at present? I’m not a stats man but a more learned cricket watcher tells me hardly anyone, best bet Burns IF he can step up. There is Bell, Hildreth and maybe Denley but Smith won’t pick them in a million years, they are not cool are they, too “old”.
    I’m a bit tired of hearing Vaughan, Aggers, Unskilled Berry in the paper and the like rabiting on about “this very talented side”. Well not Test side. No top order which is constantly being bailed out by mid order one day players because they barely cobble together more than 60 odd runs. One day side yes, but a very hit and miss test side. To be honest the Indian bowling attack is looking much better than ours now to.

  25. Doug M August 23, 2018 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I’ve just heard, Vince! Arghhhh. May as well go completely nuts and recall Balance and Duckett. The definition of insanity? The England ” selectors” and the ECB. I give up with Test cricket.

    • Gareth August 23, 2018 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      I didnt think Vince had done anything to warrant selection for The Ashes.

      That being said – since he was dropped he’s gone and done something he’s consistently failed to do all his career – score division 1 runs. He also did get a fifty in his last Test, and was not in the side for the all out in a session debacle in NZ.

      Maybe he has finally cracked how to construct a big innings? His 147 the other day and 200 when he was dropped might be a sign of a sudden improvement?

      • Doug M August 23, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

        Plus Gareth he plays for Hampshire who are only in Div 1 by default after the ECB stuffed Durham.

  26. Cricketcricketcricket August 23, 2018 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    People are still saying buttler is a test batter.. stokes.. Bairstow… lol… we have nothing at the top good enough and there is nothing coming through due to white ball priorities. Add to that our white ball middle order is naturally hit and miss a that’s what white ball produces ..

    This side ain’t talented.. it and we are deluded and yet this tread proves people continue to be deluded

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