It’s time for our TFT weekly roundup. As always here’s plenty to get our teeth into. And I promise to avoid any ‘I love a good tart’ gags … even though my Dad jokes are getting increasingly hard to resist with age.
First of all it has been confirmed that Keaton Jennings, who was the leading run scored in division one last season, has been called up to replace Prince Haseeb. It’s hard to argue with this selection. Even though I rate Nick Gubbins quite highly it’s your stereotypical ‘it probably doesn’t make a rat’s arse of difference who they pick anyway’ kind of dilemma.
At 24 years of age, and with twelve first class hundreds to his name, the selectors probably feel that Jennings is a more experienced cricketer. Gubbins is just 22 and has only registered four centuries – even though he has a better first class average. It’s just a shame that both players are left-handed. It’s almost like the cricket Gods want Ravi Ashwin to take bucketloads of wickets.
Will Jennings be up to the challenge? I genuinely have no idea. I’ve mostly seen him play in one-day cricket, which has bugger all relevance to test cricket, so I’m not really in a position to judge. Apparently Andy Flower rates him highly so that’s all that matters … apparently.
The more contentious selection, and another one that smells of Flower – did you see what I did there? – is the selection of Liam ‘The Power’ Dawson. Apologies for the darts gag.
Hampshire’s Dawson impressed in his T20 debut for England but has done absolutely nothing in the championship for years. Perhaps he could exchange notes with Jos Buttler? None of this matters though because, as you might guess, he’s an Andy Flower favourite.
One has to assume that Jack Leach’s 65 wickets at 22 – which included a match-winning 6-fer at Headingley against the reigning champions – means nothing if you don’t have ‘strength of character’. Call me an old traditionalist, but I always thought that ‘talent’ was important too.
I don’t want to go on a Flower rant here, as he did an awful lot for English cricket and you can’t argue with his overall record as either a player or a coach, but I just find our selection structure utterly bizarre …
At one point the official selectors (Jim, Gus and Mick) were going to be sacked by Strauss. Then Strauss decided to keep them – with the caveat that he was going to sit in on meetings to keep a modicum of control over them.
Yet now we hear that Andy Flower, who isn’t a selector but coaches the Lions (the team from which players are generally selected anyway) seems to be making big calls. The end result? We end up choosing between two opening batsmen that the coach, Trevor Bayliss, has never seen play.
What other country has a selection system so utterly lacking in logic and accountability?
Anyway, before I sign off I’d like to draw your attention to a petition organised by Durham supporters. They’re asking the ECB to rethink their decision to dock Durham points. Here’s their pitch in full:
We believe that the totality of penalties applied to Durham CCC by the ECB as a punishment for their financial mismanagement is grossly disproportionate to the offences. The wide ranging nature of the measures imposed mean that the innocent suffer alongside the culpable. The heaviest burden of punishment falls upon the Durham players and supporters. The reactions of cricket professionals, commentators, journalists and MP’s is almost universal in condemning the package of punitive measures as “over the top”.
We call upon the ECB to demonstrate its magnanimity by rescinding the penalty points it has imposed upon Durham – in all forms of the game – next season, thereby offering the players and supporters some hope of redemption – a glimmer of hope at the end of a long dark tunnel.
Amen to that! It was the ECB’s ridiculous decision to introduce a bidding system for international matches which largely caused this farce in the first place. Good on Sylvia and Peter Savage for getting themselves organised and doing something about the situation.
You can sign the petition here. I have.