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Selectors show Consistency

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.

Would your cricket loving Buddies enjoy this?


  1. Cook V Taufeeq = Cook
    Strauss V Hafeez = Strauss
    Trott V Azhar Ali = Equal, Azhar can be a nightmare to get out in the UAE where he’s only been dismissed for less than 50 once in as many as 5 tests against South Africa and Sri Lanka combined. He is the only one who toured England in 2010 that is a certainty in the starting line up.
    KP V Younis Khan = Younis Khan
    Morgan V Misbah = Misbah (overseas test cricketer of the year by a YK cricket magazine, 9 50s and 1 ton in 18 innings as captain)
    Bell V Shafiq = Bell
    Prior V Adnan (WK) = Prior (no brainer)
    Bresnan V Rehman = Equal
    Broad V Gul = Gul because of his ability to get it reversing
    Swann V Ajmal = Ajmal due to the variety he possess (leading test wicket taker in 2011)
    Anderson V Junaid = Anderson
    Overall: 5/4 to England

    My series prediction is 1-0 either way, England go into the series as favourites. I initially said 1-1 and sat on the fence. Either way, it will have to be a 0-0, 1-0 or if where lucky a 1-1, definitely not a 2-0, 2-1, 3-0 scenario due to the unresponsive tracks in the UAE where the last 5 tests have seen 4 dull draws. First test will be crucial and both teams will want to set the tone and seize the initiative without going down, it’s going to be hard to come back from there. I think our aim has to be to carry our undefeated test series streak since the summer of 2010 forward by not losing this high profile series which has to be the primary focus, but we have got the potential to surprise ourselves like we did when England toured in 2005 and we won 2-0 after they had regained the Ashes on home soil that summer so the players will be motivated and have that in the back of their minds. It’ll be nice to have a controversy free series without any bad headlines for either sides, we need to get the relations between the two countries back on tracks and both teams have some diplomatic and experienced leaders who will be doing their best to make sure things do not go out of bounds. I’ll be happy with a draw, but wouldn’t be overly surprised if we won the series, although I am expecting series wins in the shorter formats full stop.

  2. Hi Maaz, many thanks for your excellent in depth reply.

    I will try and respond to it in more detail later in the week, have just been so short of time lately.

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