Thanks to all of you who voted in our recent poll about the composition of the England test side.
Around 70% of you voted for five bowlers, five batsmen – while the remaining 30% would prefer the current line-up of four bowlers with six batsmen.
The debate will continue, and alongside the promising performances of Steven Finn and Ajmal Shahzad against Bangladesh, there’s some interesting food for thought over the medium-term direction of the England side.
Pity then, that we have no more test cricket for six weeks. The first test against Pakistan doesn’t begin until 29th July, before which we’ll be treated to a glut of 50 over ODIs. The first is against Scotland, followed by three versus Bangladesh (of whom we’re getting a bit bored now) , plus a mind-bogglingly pointless five against Australia.
June and July are the only unambiguously cricket months we have. But our precious, Premiership-free midsummer will see hardly a ball of the real deal – test cricket. Instead, we’ll plod through nine instantly-forgettable ODIs. Admittedly, the World Cup is now taking centre stage, but the South Africa tournament still ends eighteen days before the Pakistan test series gets under way.
England’s new squad rotation policy is a blatant ECB admission that we’re playing far too much international cricket. So why schedule a total of fourteen ODIs this summer? After Bangladesh and Pakistan, there are five more against Pakistan following the test series – plus two T20s.
As a child of the eighties, I remember fondly the Texaco Trophy, a three match ODI series in early June which served as an appetite-whetting preview for the proper stuff which followed. It worked perfectly. By contrast, this summer’s schedule is ridiculous, and it begs the question – who benefits from it? The players increase their risk of burnout, while supporters lose interest. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this: have you heard anyone say “I wish England played more 50 over one day internationals?”