The England squad picked to tour India later this month looks an exciting mix of youth and experience. I like the way the selectors are gradually introducing youngsters into the set up and giving them a look at international cricket- before taking them back out of the firing line, this squad seems to be a continuation of that policy.
Ben Stokes has apparently been left out so he can undergo rehab on his injured finger. I’m not sure if this isn’t a diplomatic way of dropping him, but either way he didn’t do himself justice against India and he deserves a chance again when he is 100% fit.
The England management seem to have learnt a lot from their experiences with Adil Rashid and I hope that Ben Stokes will benefit from those mistakes and not just be discarded after one iffy series, that would be a backwards step in my view.
Jonny Bairstow secured his selection with his match winning performance in Cardiff, and another player I like the look of is Jos Buttler, who is included in the T20 squad – again, he is getting a feel of being around the set up.
The reason why I like these two is because we lack a rope clearer at 6 or 7, we obviously have Pietersen and Morgan when both fit, but I’m not sure of KP’s long term role and a lot of the big hitting seems to fall to Morgan and he can’t keep doing it on his own.
Moving onto KP and I heard it mentioned by Paul Newman of the Daily Mail that Pietersen’s so called rest from the Indian home series was supposed to act as a bit of a kick up the arse and that if all went well there was a real chance he wouldn’t have been recalled for this tour, he claimed Eoin Morgan’s injury left the selectors with no choice.
I don’t wish to disagree with someone who is in the know more than I ever will be, so I will have to take his word on this. But if this is the case, it sounds like Pietersen’s ODI career could be on borrowed time unless he makes a marked improvement very quickly.
Personally I think Ian Bell is very lucky to keep his place, he’s been different class in the test matches, but is still to convince me he is a real ODI player and he seems to have no real role in the side. Maybe the Trott at No.3 dilemma keeps him in and around the squad in case England decide they want a more versatile player in that role. Who knows, as the team seems to still be searching for it’s best formula.
Onto another rested or dropped player, Jimmy Anderson, a closer look at his career figures show he has played 151 matches, with 204 wickets at an average of 30.89.
Here is a breakdown of those stats….
Home – 62 matches, 91 wickets, 27.80 average.
Away – 62 matches, 73 wickets, 35.94 average.
On neutral venues (World Cups, Tri-Series in Australia) – 27 matches, 40 wickets, 28.70 average.
In India – 12 matches, 12 wickets, 48.16 average.
The stats show that he is better at home than on his travels, especially when his travels take in India. On top of that he also had an absolute disaster at the recent world cup, but the quandary is that based on his home form of last summer, he would surely keep his place in the team.
Similar to Paul Newman’s opinions on Pietersen, I am taking the same view with Jimmy Anderson that this is a selective resting/dropping. It makes absolute sense and is a canny decision from the selectors, I made the point at the start of the summer that it could be better to leave him out of the ODI team for the good of his confidence and test career, he obviously doesn’t have a problem in England, but on the road he has taken a hammering at times and we don’t need his confidence taking a battering again.
Also, can you really build your bowling attack around a player who can only really play at home?
I think if the likes of Dernbach, Woakes and Meaker have a good series the selectors might well reduce Anderson’s ODI outings even more. The selectors are trying to develope a pool of fast bowlers and it makes sense not to flog Anderson on the sub continent, where he doesn’t have a great record. We may as well save him for the test matches, where he seems much more at home – and make use of the pool of bowlers we are developing in series like this one.
Another South African place of birth is included in this squad in the form of Stuart Meaker, I don’t want to go all deep and meaningful on this issue and I have my views on Pietersen, Trott, Kieswetter and even Eoin Morgan.
I might well be giving the game away when I say that I regard Meaker as English/British, like Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior and Jade Dernbach, Meaker’s family brought him to England at a young age and he was schooled, taught and brought up in this county.
He was a juvenile when his parents (presumably) made the decision to come to this country, he hasn’t sat down and made a conscious decision to switch allegiances for cricketing or financial reasons. So I have no problem regarding him as an English product.
One final footnote to end on. When are cricinfo going to update Samit Patel’s cricket online profile photo? I checked the squad on there prior to writing this piece and I noticed they’re still showing an old photo of him with his 3 chins. Come on, he’s made the effort, so get it changed cricinfo 😉