Thursday, 29 November 2007

Does Anderson deserve to play?

With Steve Harmison having bowled only 16.3 overs in the warm-up games, it seems highly likely James Anderson will play in the First Test. But he would certainly be fortunate to play.

A pace attack of Anderson, Matthew Hoggard and Ryan Sidebottom has some variety - Sidebottom is a left-armer; Anderson is faster and skiddier; while both Hoggard and Sidebottom can bowl canny 'cutters'. However, it patently lacks a taller bowler which, considering Kandy has the most life of any of the three pitches, could hurt England.

Stuart Broad is surely more deserving of a spot in the final eleven than Anderson, who remains too inconsistent. Broad was far more effective in the victorious one-day series prior to the Tests. And he has shown himself to be fearless at international level, with the strength of his temperament confirmed by his fantastic riposte to suffering the ignominy of six 6s from Yuvraj Singh. Moreover, the maturity of his international batting to date, including twice seeing England to victory with vital innings, means he is the only one of the bowlers, save for Graeme Swann, who could do a good job at number eight.

Fletcher-esque thinking? Perhaps. But runs from the tail are undeniably vital and, in a situation where two bowlers are hard to separate, must count. With Matt Prior yet to convince at number seven, and the trio of bowling certainties ultimately no better than number 10s, England simply must be pragmatic. If they fail to be so, 250-4 could turn into 300 all-out with series-losing regularity.


John said...

Wasn't Anderson named England Man of the Series against England. So what has happened since then that Hoggard/Broad should get into the team ahead of him!

John said...

against India, sorry.

Tim said...

He was indeed, though rather fortunately in my view. 14 wickets at 35 was a wholehearted effort and enough for him to justify being in the squad but not, to me, to be au automatic pick.

The Atheist said...

Hey Tim, great minds, eh?

Although, it looks like we're both wrong. The reports coming out of the England camp is that it's between Anderson and Harmison.

Apparently, they're not too bothered about having an over-exposed tail on a fruity pitch? Also, seeing as Harmy won't be picked, not bothered about selecting three swing-reliant quicks.

It would have been interesting to see how Tremlett got on these pitches.

The Atheist said...

Hullo any of you chaps have an email address? I have a....proposition.

Richard Lake said...

I disagree with Tim's asessment from the India series where I think he and Siders bowled well with little luck. However, I'd have also gone for Broad in this situation as I think the three main bowlers are too reliant on movement in the air rather than discomforting the batsmen.

Intrigued by your post atheist. Not keen on putting my email address on the forum, but Tim has it if you have a means of contacting him.

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The Atheist said...

Tim, I have twice attempted to send an email to the address you provided me. It was returned as undeliverable on both occassions.

Try me on:

hecatomb_funk(at)yahoo dot com