The end of the English cricket season moved a step closer at the weekend with the end of the county season and the end of the Indian series. There is now just the small matter of the two T20’s against West Indies to compete.
You know the ones, the ones that were apparently devised to help out West Indies cricket while it suffers financially. Yes, I really believed Giles when he told that story on TMS earlier in the season.
At a guess, I’d say that India are quite happy to be heading home. To say it hasn’t been a great tour would be an understatement (England know that feeling well, from back in Australia in 2006/07). I’m sure Duncan Fletcher will have his work cut out explaining this one, and I dare say his job will probably get tougher over the next few months with some big decisions potentially to be made with certain ageing players.
A few weeks ago I wrote that I had just witnessed the end of Ravi Bopara’s test career. That maybe still the case in the 5 day format, but he certainly has put himself in a position where it is now hard to drop him from the 50 over side.
I assumed he would be near the top of the England run scorers list for the India series, and after checking I see that he is top English run scorer with 197 runs at an average of 65.66 with a top score of 96. Only MS Dhoni average more (78.66).
Ravi’s form seems to put Ian Bell’s position in the 50 over team in question. Bell was his usual self in the 50 over series for me. He did ok, without setting the world on fire. Which is all he has ever really done in the 50 over side. I don’t think he has ever been totally at home in this side and with the emergence of Stokes, Bairstow and Jos Buttler, his tenure must surely be coming to an end.
Another potential problem for me with Ravi’s form is that the likelihood is that he will get the No.6 slot when Morgan and Pietersen return. The reason why I see it as a problem is because I like the idea of a Bairstow or a Buttler at No.6 – a real rope clearer.
For years now England have lacked someone who can clear the ropes down in the middle order. Buttler has shown the potential to be this player, and I don’t need to say anything more about Bairstow after his brilliant match winning debut on Friday, his cricket did all the talking needed.
Bell certainly isn’t this player at No.6, and I’m not convinced Ravi is either. One thing for certain now though is that Ravi has nailed down a place in the side, and after his performances he deserves it.
I’ve given him enough stick on here over the last couple of years, so I have to praise him when he deserves it.
On the international scene it was good to hear Kumar Sangakkara voicing his dislike of two match test series’. I’ve wrote before on this blog that Sangakkara is a good speaker and a man of intelligence that speaks a lot of sense, and this just further justifies my view.
I noticed that Ryan Harris has had to sit out the 3rd test of this series with another niggling injury. He looks like one of these unfortunate players who is always going to have problems with injury. The Aussies look like they are wrapping him in cotton wool at the moment.
Reading between the lines, I get the feeling he would have played in this current test match had it been a must win for Australia. As it isn’t, they look to be saving him for the forthcoming busy home schedule.
And I suppose I had better finish by saying congratulations to Surrey, another one of my least favourite counties (like Lancs). I was very surprised to see Tres insert Surrey after winning the toss, I suppose the pitch looked good and you would look fairly stupid if you asked the opposition to bat and they posted a massive score. But at the same time, look at the record books!