Friday, 30 May 2008

Doing Geoff Miller's job

With the One Day series around the corner, it’s selection time again. New Zealand are one of the better One Day teams in world cricket and showed that they are a tough nut to crack during the winter. However, England’s two previous series were wins against India and away to Sri Lanka, so the home team can also take some comfort in recent form.

Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones have not been considered for selection as they continue their recoveries from injury. Otherwise, recent form is a strong factor in the selection of this 15 man squad.

Top Order Batting
The top order should contain one anchorman with the rest being strokeplayers. The England team has plenty of strength in depth with batting due to the number of all-rounders available. Therefore, a more aggressive approach can be taken at the start of the innings. The role of anchorman has been taken in recent games by Ali Cook and Ian Bell (normally in the same match). Both make my squad, but on the understanding that only one will play in a match. The wicket keeper should also be considered to be a top order batsman and with Kevin Pietersen coming in at four, the other specialist batsman should come in at three. Holding onto his place will be Owais Shah, and just seeing off the challenge of his Surrey teammate James Benning for the reserve slot is Usman Afzaal who has had a magnificent FP Trophy.

Middle Order Batting/ Allrounders
Paul Collingwood should continue to captain the side. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his best moment in the test was when he went into One Day mode to finish the game before the tea interval. Also in the team, primarily as batsmen but possibly to share 20 overs with Collingwood, should be Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright both of whom again are scoring a lot of runs. Sharing 20 overs between batting allrounders may be a risky strategy, so bowling all rounders Tim Bresnan and Dimi Mascarenhas are also be selected

Wicket Keeper
Phil Mustard hasn’t done anything in wrong in the last two series. He’s just not really done anything of note either with just the one fifty in ten matches. Tim Ambrose is also clearly a capable batsman and excellent keeper but with a technique which could be found wanting at the top of the order. Matt Prior is the batsman in form in county cricket as a whole and despite an even more indifferent start to his One Day career than Mustard, he is worthy of another chance and gets the nod here.

Graeme Swann is the man in possession and has shown himself to be a good attacking One Day bowler and a better option in this form of the game than Monty Panesar. The three pace bowlers also pick themselves, with only two likely to be used in any match. Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad are the ones likely to make the team, with James Anderson as the reserve bowler and Bresnan providing further cover.

The Squad
Ian Bell
Matt Prior
Owais Shah
Kevin Pietersen
Paul Collingwood
Ravi Bopara
Luke Wright
Tim Bresnan
Graeme Swann
Stuart Broad
Ryan Sidebottom

Ali Cook
Usman Afzaal
Dimitri Mascarenhas
James Anderson


Chrispy said...

Snap Richard!

We are pretty much in agreement it seems. I would put Kev abobe Owais so that he could play more positively and dictate the game, while I feel Shah is a little more capable against spin than pace. The identity of the spinner doesn't appear to be a significant factor for England at the moment. My only disagreement is over Mascarenhas. I think he has done enough to deserve his place. Bresnan is not as economical as him with the ball and they are fairly similar with the bat. Hants vs Yorks bias! Glad to see others are tired of Anderson and have noticed Afzaal's resurgence.

Tim said...

Interesting about Afzaal Richard...he could certainly have been worth a shot!

The squad is pretty predictable I'm afraid...typical England pretending everything's all right!

Don't like your bowling line-up though, too samey - there's only two bowlers I'd trust for 10 overs!

Richard Lake said...

To be fair, the results at home to India and away in SL show that the team is moving in the right direction. Predictability is not a problem if your building on success and an improving team.

Interestingly, there were some stats a while back that showed that England score more runs in the last ten overs of a ODI than any other team (while less in the first 10-20 overs). I don't see why we can't combine the two attributes, but we do pace our playin a different way to other teams.

Swann has bowled his overs in pretty much every game he's played and Bresnan is unrecognisable from the bowler who played a couple of years ago. I'd trust both to bowl 10 overs. If you want changes, Tim, you've got to trust the newcomers!