Monday, 19 May 2008

England's quartet of promise

It seems that England have finally found a bowling unit again. After a lot of fiddling around and numerous injuries and losses of form in recent years, the quartet who now hold the England bowling positions are starting to look like they work well together.

Even the usually inconsistent Anderson has started to perform for more than one Test in a row, perhaps starting to fulfil his early promise, though he has a long way to go to completely convince. What is good is that he seems to enjoy bowling with Sidebottom, Broad and Panesar and Vaughan has started to have much more faith in him.

There is little doubt that both Panesar and Sidebottom have firmly established themselves in the team. Both left-armers have the skill and spirit necessary to succeed at the highest level and have produced several match-winning performances.

Broad is by no means the finished article, but has shown the priceless ability to learn with each bowling spell. This continual improvement should take him on the road to success in the five day game, though he will, no doubt, have many stern tests ahead.

England may have failed to push their advantage in the First Test against New Zealand, which ended in the damp and murk today, but the bowlers showed that they can fire, both individually and as a unit. With better support from their fielders and better umpiring they could have forced a serious wobble from the New Zealand line-up and given the England batsmen a late chase for victory.

Roll on the Second Test and another interesting installment in the development of England's new look quartet.


Rob said...

I am impressed with Broad, he had the speed and the ability to push McCullum back today and not for the first time. His batting is promising too.

Chrispy said...

I'm not yet convinced by Anderson and can't remember these two performances in a row (baring in mind in the game prior to this he was abyssmal). I think he is a fair weather pony, when the going is good (cloudy, moist, swinging, seaming conditions etc) he excels, but when he has to work for his wickets and gain them through consistency, he lets the side down. In such conditions Hoggard or Tremlett would do better I feel.

This is besides the point though as England are looking at getting Fred back in the side as part of a 4.5 man bowling attack. Only Anderson could be discarded unless they bring back Prior as keeper and have a 5 man attack, with Fred 7 and Broad 8. Prior is the only WKB in this country who could bat at 6 or higher imo.

Agree regarding Sidebottom and Panesar - they are certainties. As for Broad he is developing well and although he bowls a few too many four balls, it is nowhere near as bad as with Mahmood, Plunkett, Ali etc and he bowls plenty of peaches too and is capable of putting batsmen under pressure. His batting is also a major bonus and he should be a fixture for the next dozen or so years.

Nick Gammons said...

Chrispy, I have to admit playing devil's advocate a bit with Anderson, who has to do a lot to convince at Test level.

Having said that he has looked better amongst younger, newer bowlers than he did with Hoggard, Harmison et al, whom he seemed to be in awe of and unable to perform at his best.

With Flintoff on the comeback trail and Tremlett in the squad Anderson cannot afford any lapses.

Tim said...

Good stuff Nick - and I agree in the main. However for the balance of our attack I would prefer an 'enforcer' - Tremlett seems perfect to me, providing he can stay fit - to replace Anderson, as he could be more effective in the middle overs.

Could it be worth opening with Broad?

Nick Gammons said...

I'm not entirely convinced about Tremlett - he appears to have all the attributes, but seems to lack the killer instinct that the best bowlers have. However, the bounce he gets, even with the old ball, is dangerous in those middle overs.

Broad is good enough to open the bowling, in my view. Like everything else he does I'm sure he'd learn from the experience and rise to the challenge.

Richard Lake said...

Broad's a good batsman Tim, but opening with him? Oh I see...

I was at Lords on Thursday and Anderson's opening spell was fantastic. He's going to get more swing out of the new ball, so I'd keep Broad at first change.

Just been watching Simon Jones bowl at 90 mph tonight. With Flintoff looking to be part of a four man attack as well, I think there will plenty of changes to the attack before it becomes truely settled in the same way as the Ashes 05 team.