There is no real shocks in the touring party named on Friday to take on Pakistan next month. Some might say that Bopara’s name still being included is a shock, but one thing the selectors can’t be accused of, is inconsistency.
Ravi Bopara for Paul Collingwood is the only change from last years Ashes touring squad, and Collingwood had to go. It’s an obvious factor in all sports that instability isn’t a recipe for success, England’s selectors (at test level) have made sure that isn’t going to be a problem.
With regard to Ravi, any regular readers will know I’m not his biggest fan at test level. But at the same time I haven’t really got a problem with his selection here, he is been given every chance to succeed by the selectors at the moment in exactly the same way as Ian Bell and Alastair cook were, so from that prospective, the selectors are again showing consistency.
Maybe Samit Patel might have pushed him for his place as a batting all rounder who can bowl spin, but in fairness to Ravi, Patel hasn’t done enough to justify a place on a test touring party.
I’m not sure what James Taylor is currently doing, Geoff Miller said something about a Lions tour on the radio yesterday, but I’m sure a year playing cricket at a higher standard with Nottinghamshire (no disrespect meant to Leicestershire) will do him a world of good before he steps up to international level.
Apart from that the squad is as expected, I’m glad to see the selectors stick with Steven Davies, he was given a harsh lesson 12 months back and hopefully he has made the required changes to his personality (there was apparently a theory that he wasn’t vocal or aggressive enough behind the stumps), and there was no way on earth that Craig Kieswetter could have took the spot.
With his international experience and last seasons form Monty was a shoe in as the back up spinner, the fact that England have only named two in the squad suggests to me they are probably (in the majority of matches) planning on only using one in the team.
A show of just how strong England currently are in the bowling department is the fact that in reserve we have Monty Panesar, Chris Tremlett (assuming Bresnan keeps his place) and Steven Finn.
Tremlett and Bresnan played a major role in winning the Ashes last winter and both won’t even get in the same side unless there is an injury.
I believe that Pakistan will provide a stern test for England here, they seem to be finding their feet in the UAE, they also have a good mix of youth and experience and now have a settled team, and as a result are starting to put a run of impressive performances together.
In the past (in ODI’s in particular) England haven’t adapted too well to differing conditions. If they are serious about staying at the top of test cricket, this is surely a series they will be looking to win, or at the very least, not loose.