Monday, 23 February 2009

England in WI - ratings so far

These are my views on the England squad at the halfway point of the West Indies tour.

In credit

Strauss - big captain's knock and handling a difficult dressing room with maturity. Also impressed with his comments to the press, and the themes he is picking up on (personal responsibility and re-learning how to win) - good common sense stuff which the England bubble has been lacking recently.

Collingwood - 3 hundreds in 6 games. People need to stop talking about dropping him now, and not even think about starting again until after the Ashes.

Broad - our best bowler on the tour so far, and finding some form again with the bat.

Swann - showing us what we missed when Ashley Giles retired. Not a special talent, but uses everything in his armoury to achieve the desired effect, and has the guts and desire to go with it.

Prior - despite a torrid first innings of the 3rd Test, he is doing enough with the bat and the gloves to stay a fixture. And he seems to have got rid of that obnoxious cockiness which made everyone hate him after the jelly bean debacle.

KP - obviously.

Neutral

Sidebottom - nagging accuracy, but needs to get his pace back up to be a threat again to get into a team oversupplied with stock bowlers.

Harmison - hasn't been wayward, and soldiered on when unfit when he might previously have retired to his hotel room for a week. But he is a strike bowler, and doesn't have the haul of wickets to back that up.

Flintoff - Not a Test 6, and needs to take more wickets with the ball. Responsibility has hampered both - he should be a free-hitting 7 or 8 and kill 'em or get 'em out strike bowler rather than what he has become.

Rashid - some sparks of promise in tour games, but nothing show-stopping either way.

Debit

Cook - seriously, getting out in the fifties has to stop. Particularly because they are slow, "let's put my roots down" fifties. May yet be the one to make way if Vaughan puts some runs together.

Bell - more pretty forties in the tour games, no argument about being dropped.

Panesar - looks to have got the yips, in that he seems too scared to toss it up when people start hitting him. Badly needs his confidence back, and county cricket seems the obvious place to find it.

Anderson - his career looks to be going backwards again, after a summer where he suggested he had finally arrived. May be that (like Harmison) he's a home pitch bowler only.

4 comments:

Richard Lake said...

Anderson would be my only disagreement here. I thought he bowled pretty well in the last match without a lot of luck. He's yet to convince fully, but he's been more of a threat than Harmison.

Also, Shah (who you've missed), I'd have a neutral. It's good that he's got his chance, but his innings in the last test was a Bell special. Looked in good form befre getting out in a silly fashion. He needs to do more to convince he's a test number 3.

It was nice to see Colly playing a more attacking game in the last test, rather than the attritional game he's developed in test cricket. He looks more comfortable doing it and it's certainly easier to watch.

Tim said...

Can't argue with too much of that - hopefully Swann will prove to be a more attacking, wicket-taking bowler than Giles though.

Rob said...

Prior neutral? He let through 38 byes (yes 38) in the last test and looking incapable of stopping the ball!

Ramdin let through 22.

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