Wednesday, 11 March 2009

England player ratings

Here are the series ratings for England's 1-0 defeat in West Indies.

Alastair Cook 7
Finally hit his eighth Test century and, along with three half-centuries, allayed any doubts over his position in the side.

Andrew Strauss 9
Thrice hit centuries on the opening day of a Test to put England in control, batting with a new-found positivity to confirm his remarkable rejuvenation as a Test opener. And he convinced as skipper, in tandem with Andy Flower, although he will live to regret the timing of two of his declarations.

Ian Bell 2
Dropped, at long last, after the first Test, Bell should be kept well away from the side until the end of the summer. At which point this supremely talented technician may have found the mental resolve to do justice to his great talent.

Owais Shah 4
Given his chance at long last, Shah sadly disappointed. His running between the wickets was indicative of his confused mindset; how he will regret his run-out when crusing on 57. May yet be given another chance - although his best position, as remarked upon well before this series, is not at number three.

Kevin Pietersen 7
He will be disappointed 15 centuries were posted before his brilliant final Test hundred. But he slipped back into the side with minimal fuss, to his immense credit. With the challenge of the captaincy taken away from him, how about trying your hand as England's number three, KP?

Paul Collingwood 8
Two centuries and a 96 constituted a hugely impressive series. And the doubters, whom Collingwood seems to take such pleasure in proving wrong, have no reason to question his place any longer. His sublime catch almost proved the catalyst for England to level the series - although some of his other fielding, like his bowling, was below his normal standards.

Ravi Bopara 8
Took his opportunity wonderfully with an assured century after an early reprive. But even if he plays 100 Tests, he may not score an easier ton, so it would be pressumptious in the extreme to hail him as the answer to England's problems at number three, as some have rushed to do.

Andrew Flintoff 5
In the two Tests he played, Flintoff disappointed with the bat - yet again - while bowling with his usual parsimony. But the days of him batting at number six have surely passed.

Matt Prior 7
Nine for his exceptionally impressive batting; five for his improved, but still too shoddy, wicket-keeping. But if England want to pursue a strategy of five bowlers, then Prior simply must play and bat at six.

Tim Ambrose 7
Dropped on nought, Ambrose compiled a fine, attacking 76* in his sole innings, to go with some impressive keeping. Prior's place remains safe, however, unless his keeping completely disintegrates.

Stuart Broad 7
Bowled manfully, and with developing variations, on lifeless services to cement his place in the side.

Graeme Swann 8
In any vote for 'man of the tour' Swann would surely win hands down. Unjustly dropped for the first Test, Swann kept his spirits up and responded magnificiently when given his opportunity. he may lack a doosra but impressed with his variations, aided by control and a willingness to toss the ball up in search of wickets. His spell on the series' final day was exceptional.

James Anderson 6
The figures do him scant justice, but Anderson's magnificent reverse-swing bowling in the final Test almost saw England share the series. At times he seemed unable to believe his illfortune - but he emerges from the series as England's new King of Swing.

Steve Harmison 5
Disappointed in his two Tests, without being so poor as to completely burn his bridges. Should have been given one final opportunity ahead of Ryan Sidebottom in the Fourth Test, but he is clearly holding onto his international career by the tips of his fingers. The ODIs are of huge important for his future.

Ryan Sidebottom 2
What was he doing playing when so patently unfit? Wholehearted but sadly toothless, his international career looks over after his 12 months in the sun.

Monty Panesar 5
Poor in the first Test, after which he was rightly dropped. But his return for the final game suggested he has learned new variations and subtleties. England's best chance of beating Australia lies with playing two spinners. After his exploits this winter, however, Swann is the senior twin.

Amjad Khan 4
Playing the final Test, Khan delivered the priza scalp of Sarwan. However, he was weighed down by a serial no-ball problem, and lacked any real control. The next Simon Jones he does not quite appear to be.

The Verdict
England ended the series in funny shape. They suffered a desperately disappointing and unexpected series defeat. And yet there were clear reasons to be cheerful.

4 comments:

Rob said...

A pretty fair assessment. I think 5 for Prior's wicket-keeping is about 10 too many though...

5 for Harmy might be a bit generous given that Flintoff bowled while injured and Harmison rarely bowled at all (if the rumours are correct).

Richard Lake said...

Sadly Amjad Kahn looked more like the next Steve Harmison, but later career rather than earlier. I hope he gets another chance and relaxes into the game though.

The bowling problem is well articulated by Bob Willis (words I never thought I'd write) (http://www.cricket365.com/story/0,18305,9882_5037987,00.html) in that England's three set bowlers (Flintoff, Anderson and Broad) need a cutting edge, and other than Harmison, there isn't another bowler available. However, in English conditions, they may still do the job.

I'd have given Anderson 7, but other than that, I can't argue with any of this. It's interesting that Bopara thrived probably because he was in a well set position and needed to score quickly - the kind os situation that Bell tends to flourish in as well. It will be interesting to see how he copes under pressure.

Rob said...

I was impressed with Anderson and Broad. Broad managed an average of 30.6 which is not too bad in the batsman friendly circumstances. Anderson averaged 38 which is pretty poor, although quite a bit less than Edwards (54.88).

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