Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Selection Headaches

In the wake of England's hammering of the West Indies, the selectors have found themselves in a bit of problem: If everyone is fit to play - who to pick?

With the 'horses for courses' selection of Ryan Sidebottom playing so well at Headingley, surely he cannot just be put out of the window for the next test, however if Hoggard proves himself fit enough for Old Trafford, can we afford to go in with two swing bowlers?

Also, maybe a good dilemma could be who to get rid of out of Plunkett or Harmison if Sidebottom is picked again. Neither played fantastically well but neither sprayed it around as much as they did a Lord's. Both proved they can bowl good wicket-taking balls and Harmison clocked up around 94mph showing he can still bowl dangerously fast.

Lets say Flintoff is fit to play again, do we go in with a four or five man attack? For me a 4 man attack including Panesar is fine, but we have seen in previous years that the selectors, coach and captain like a 5-man attack. If a 5-man attack was picked, which batsman would go? Collingwood would be the obvious man, but his form is too good, so for me Bell. However, if a 4-man attack is chosen, which bowlers do we go in with? Sidebottom and Hoggard are too 'samey' if we only go for 3 seamers (including Flintoff), but how can you drop Sidebottom? Plunkett and Harmison will be asking what they have done wrong aswell to be dropped. So the selectors have a lot of thinking to do.

If you ask me, providing Flintoff was fit enough to bowl 20-30 overs a day, I would play a 4-man attack, with the two swing bowlers, Hoggard and Sidebottom making up the rest of the seam attack, with Panesar obvisiously being the spinner.

I would pick this side to play at Old Trafford;

Strauss
Cook
Vaughan
Pietersen
Collingwood
Bell
Prior
Flintoff
Hoggard
Panesar
Sidebottom

This may appear a huge risk, playing 2 swing bowlers and having no varitaion, but although their performance was greatly improved, Plunkett and Harmison were still too wayward and more county appearances can only help. But the batting (although it hasn't come under much pressure so far) is greatly improved, with Flintoff at 8.

Jack

8 comments:

Chrispy said...

I agree you can't ditch Sidebottom. However, how different your view on batting might have been had Colly been held on to, or given out in that streaky innings tother week! I would keep Bell in over Colli for long term reasons as well as technical ones.

At Old Trafford I can't see England going with a four man attack, one of whom could break down at any time, along with another player returning from injury and two of them being swing bowlers. If Flintoff plays five bowlers play. That is the only way it can work surely. They didn't pick a batsman who keeps so that they could play Flintoff at eight. They picked a batsman that keeps so they could keep five bowlers in the side. But will Fred and Hoggy be fit anyway?

Strauss
Cook
Vaughan (c)
Pietersen
Bell
Prior (wk)
Flintoff
Plunkett/Broad/Harmison (take ur pick)
Hoggard
Panesar
Sidebottom

Tim said...

Good piece, but, if you need to drop a batsman, why not drop the terribly out-of-form Strauss?

Chrispy said...

Good point Tim. Vaughan is just as good opening and Srauss has been underperforming. On form he should be the one to go. Tres in that position would complete things though! Surely a matter of time!

Sudip Kafle and Sujan Kafle said...

Selection is always a head ache. Every cricket team has problems in selecting fast bowler.
Nice cricket blog.

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Matt Thornton (Six and Out) said...

Also agree generally... and if a batsman is to go it has to be Strauss... they already dropped him out in WI, so no danger in doing it now EXCEPT that he's currently in line to take over captaincy should Vaughan get injured again. It's a very awkward situation in that respect.

Surely Bob did enough to keep his place, so if Hoggard / Flintoff are fit it must be at the expense of Harmison or Plunkett. I would probably drop Harmison so as to give him more time for Durham to really get himself sorted out.

Richard Lake said...

I don't really see Sidebottom and Hoggard playing in the same team as a risk regargless of the conditions. The advantage that they have over Harmison or Plunkett is their ability to keep it tight. Therefore, even if not threatening with a wicket taking delivery every ball, they will frustrate batsmen out.

The changes from the 2nd test would be Flintoff and Hoggard for Plunkett and Harmison. And Flintoff only plays if he can bowl 20 overs a day.

Whinging Pom said...

Probably I should have put Strauss as the one to go but because he is the vice-captain I chose not to. In a way all these problems are good because whoever misses out is still a very good player.

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