The big bit of breaking news is that Bresnan’s back is bust (is that a record for the number of ‘B’s in an opening sentence?). Poor Bressie lad suffered a stress facture after the Durham Test. We cannot either confirm on deny the fictional rumour that he hurt himself piggybacking Stuart Broad across the outfield after consuming several schooners of Drambuie in the post-match celebrations.
His most likely replacement at The Oval is Chris Tremlett, who obviously plays his county cricket south of the river Thames. However, as we saw at Durham, the fact it’s a particular cricketer’s home ground probably makes it less likely he’ll play. If you don’t believe us, ask Graham Onions.
It would be good to see Tremlett back in the side. We’ve missed his height and bounce, although I’m not sure how much pace we can expect. Serious injuries tend to catch up with bowlers after a while. However, England aren’t exactly blessed with alternatives at the moment. Onions has broken his finger, and the pace bowlers in the Lions team playing Australia today won’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of our antipodean rivals. I’m still in a state of shock after seeing Liam Plunkett’s name on the teamsheet. Remember him? Incredibly he’s still only 28. I could’ve sworn he was 38. Or 48.
The Lions team looks quite weak on paper, but maybe they’ll do better than they did last winter, when the Aussies kicked their behinds from Brisbane to Bullengarook. It’s hard to see any of them getting a test call up in the near future, with the possible exception of Ben Stokes, who everyone hopes is the next Andrew Flintoff. His penchant for off-field misdemeanours is certainly reminiscent of Freddie – although it remains to be seen whether he can hack it in an England jacket.
Stokes is improving with the ball, but he hasn’t had the best season with the bat. He’s undoubtedly talented – he looks a bit like Adam Gilchrist when he’s in full flow (a comparison that’s bound to put the mockers on his career) – but he’s still a bit raw. Then again, Jonny Bairstow isn’t exactly the complete package either yet.
At least picking Stokes would help the bowling attack. We’ve just lost Bresnan to a serious injury. How long before Jimmy’s workload cripples him too? I’d be tempted to rest Mr Anderson for the rest of summer. But that’s just me: paranoid, neurotic, pessimistic and usually completely wrong.