There was – in my view – one startling omission from the Ashes touring squad announced by England earlier this week.
I thought the decision to leave out Graham Onions in place of an all bean-pole attack could have be a bit of a short sighted one, and potentially a huge mistake by the England management.
Nothing against the guys all picked, any regular readers of this website will know that I am a huge Chris Tremlett fan. Steven Finn is a long term project, leaving him out may have damaged his confidence, and Boyd Rankin’s good form and the fact that he looked more than at home in the recent ODI’s have seen him justifiably picked.
If any of those guys are really lucky to be picked, I suppose it has to be Tremlett. To be honest, I expected him not too make it into the squad. I know he was brought back into the England set up earlier in the year to re-familiarise himself with the group, with a view to him going on this tour, but I thought that Boyd Rankin would have just edged him out.
The reason I would have taken Graham Onions is the same reason why England have taken Monty Panesar.. quite simply for cover. In the cases of both Onions and Panesar, neither of them are in the class of Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann, but both are adequate cover.
I know that the selectors have basically decided one of Finn, Tremlett or Rankin could replace Anderson if he picked up an injury on the morning of a Test match, but would the lack of variation that the bean pole attack would give you really be adequate on all Australian pitches?
Maybe I am nitpicking, or maybe it isn’t practical to cover all bases, I don’t know. There is no out and out reserve wicket keeper (I know Jonny Bairstow is there) in the squad also, so clearly the selectors don’t see it as practical to cover every possible outcome.
That said, I still feel very sorry for Graham Onions. I’m not sure it is the end of him for England, but his prospects don’t look good beyond this tour, when England will most probably be starting to look at younger bowlers.
I wouldn’t rule out the prospect of him being called onto this tour if there are a couple of injuries to bowlers though, but there is also Tim Bresnan to potentially come back, and assuming any replacements won’t be called up until a few weeks into the tour, Bresnan could be fit by them.
I was pleased to see Monty Panesar recalled, a lot of his off-field problems could be partially down to the fact he is not involved with England, this call up could give him plenty of encouragement and give him something to focus on. It also gives the England management plenty of chance to monitor him closely and see how he is doing.
Whatever Geoff Miller tells us about Gary Ballance’s call up not being a left field one…. it was. The biggest surprise to me about his call up though, was the lack of reaction/outburst from Nick Compton.
I am pleased to see England take a back up opener, although I suspect that Michael Carberry is as much cover for Gary Pratt, as he is for the openers – a good choice though.
The announcement of the England squad has had little effect on the Ashes Betting odds, as England are still the odds on favourites with the bookmakers. Full odds are Australia 7/4, Drawn Series 9/2, England 5/6 (there is a £25.00 free bet for new customers opening an account).