Wednesday, 24 December 2008

England series ratings

Here are the series ratings for England's 1-0 defeat in India - although the ludicrous brevity of the series makes such an exercise somewhat tricky.

Alastair Cook 5
Two fluent half centuries - but he didn't pass 52 in four completed innings. His conversion rate, so impressive at the start of his career, is becoming progressively more worrying.

Andrew Strauss 9
So criticised by this blogger, Strauss produced what should have been a career-defining performance in the first Test, but was badly let down by his team-mates. Strokeless he may seem at times, but while he is so tight in defence and so adept and nudging the ball into spaces, his place is assured.

Ian Bell 2
When is enough enough? Infuriating to his core, Bell has the technique and range of shots to score 8000 runs at 50. But, now, the best thing would be to drop him - from both formats. If he is hungry enough he will return, like Steve Waugh, more battle-hardened.

Kevin Pietersen 7
Captaining was difficult, and he has received criticism for the in-out fields used in the first Test, enabling the spinners to be milked with minimal risk-taking involved. But he will be a better captain for the expereince, while his 144 was majestic.

Paul Collingwood 6.5
Another century evoked the 'gritty Northerner' cliches once more. Some doubts linger, but his willpower is unquestionable. But what, exactly, has happened to his bowling?

Andrew Flintoff 8
Yet again, Flintoff bowled better than the figures suggest, suffering through dropped catches and dodgy lbw decisions. But, at long last, he managed a Test half-century - and a cultured one at that.

Matt Prior 7
Quietly very effective - which is seldom something that can be said of Prior. His keeping looks to have improved since his horror series in Sri Lanka a year ago, while he remains a very good Test number seven.

Stuart Broad 5
Did a sound job in very difficult circumstances. Despite the mediocrity of his record, is now an automatic selection.

Graeme Swann 7
Easily out-bowled Panesar to finish as England's leading wicket-taker. Displayed much more attacking intent and ability to think on his feet (and for himself) - and deserved a lower average, but for some ill-fortune. Shame about the batting though.

James Anderson 4
Bowled skillfully at times in the second Test, whilst claiming scant reward. But overall his was a miserable tour.

Steve Harmison 4
Harmison disappointed in the first Test, save for one fine spell, but deserves to play in the West Indies.

Monty Panesar 4
A miserable series, showing a complete lack of improvement since making his Test debut in India three yeras ago. Infact, his record on the sub-Continent and against sides other than New Zealand and West Indies is distinctly mediocre. It would be a brave man who bets on Panesar playing the first Test in the Caribbean.

The Verdict
Fundamentally, England were beaten by a superior side. But they can take heart from faring a little better than Australia. Ultimately, a two-Test series can simply never satisfy.

3 comments:

Rob said...

About right although I think 4 for Harmison was a bit generous.

Richard Lake said...

The WI squad announcement will be interesting. It's interesting that there wasn't the outcry over Harmison being dropped this time round compared with last winter. I'd expect the bowlers to be the same.

Personally, I'd take the same batsmen as well (yes even Bell), but I suspect that Vaughan will come back in after his rest (well it worked for Strauss last year), meaning that one of Shah and Bell will miss out.

The last point is interesting, and the Ashes may well be a battle to be 3rd best in the world!

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