The tour is over. The team are on their way back with unexpected silverware and the world cup is just around the corner. All over the internet, armchair selectors are choosing the fifteen strong men and true who will finally win the World Cup for England. And it probably says a great deal abou the success of the last week that there is a general concensus towards the current squad.
There will be discussions about whether Vaughan is fit enough, the form of Strauss and where Pietersen fits back in (although those last two points may well sort themselves out). However, it is likely to be the make up of the bowling attack that will determine how successful we are over the next six weeks.
Traditionally, when one thinks of the West Indies, one remembers the fast bowling greats: Marshall, Holding, Garner, Roberts etc. However, on England's last tour of the Carribean, the most successful bowler on either side was Chris Gayle, in terms of wickets taken, average and economy.
This is not a one-off phenomenom. More and more in one day cricket we are seeing the benefits of taking the pace off the ball. In amongst Paul Collingwood's vital runs and sparkling fielding over the last week has been some pretty miserly bowling. Likewise, Monty Panesar has been able to exert pressure and reign in the Australian batsmen, normally after a pretty brisk start off Plunkett and Mahmood.
Collingwood, Flintoff and Panesar are now firmly established in the England team, but do we need two more fast bowlers, or would we be better off putting our faith in a slow bowler with good control and ideally a useful batsman and fielder to boot?
In short, it is time to bring back Ashley Giles into the bowling attack and play with 2-3 spinners, including Jamie Dalrymple.
My World Cup team is therefore:
with Strauss, Bopara, Plunkett and Lewis as reserves