No slips for Cook

A tricky Test series successfully negotiated (although I don’t mind admitting to having an uneasy feeling at the end of the 1st day of the 2nd Test), England got done what they came to do, and despite peoples misgivings about the captain not touring, I’m sure ‘team England’ will call it a success.

Don’t see Ricky Ponting fearing Cook the captain should Strauss not make the Ashes tour through injury. He was efficient and calm, in many ways he captained like he bats. I remember getting up one morning and seeing Tim Bresnan bowling to one slip with England over 350 runs in front and Bangladesh 3 wickets down, there were a few examples of over cautious captaincy, but on the whole I thought he did ok.

It will be invaluable experience for him and he should have learnt a lot from it, Cook seems a level headed man and I doubt that he thinks he is the finished article as either batsman or captain, I’m sure he will look to keep on learning in both departments.

Bresnan would appear to be the big winner from the tour. Not originally selected, he showed potential with both bat and ball. He looks to have worked hard on his game, he seems to have now cut out bowling from too wide of the crease and looked a useful bowler.

He also looks like he has worked on his fitness, to me he looked a bit overweight last summer, but there was a much trimmer version on show by the end of this tour. Maybe the heat played a part in him shedding a few pounds.

He has given England an option now though, don’t think he would get into the team (yet) as one of four bowlers against tougher oppositon, but he would give the management the option to play him as a 5th bowler batting at No.7.

The number 3 position still looks a problem to me, why was Trott promoted up there after one Test match? It is a joke, he should be allowed to learn his trade down the order, as a result he is now looking a bit lost to me.

I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again, Kevin Pietersen should be given a stint there. He is England’s best batsman and should now take the responsibility of filling England’s problem position.

Can Graeme Swann maintain this form through to the Ashes? How we hope so. And I also hope Ian Bell has now put his self doubts behind him once and for all, and will go on to become the world class batsman which his talent suggests he can be.

From watching a bit of Sky and listening to Test Match Special I noticed that Andrew Struass wasn’t the only man to skip this tour for a rest, no less than Hussain, Gower, Botham, CMJ, Agnew, Boycott, Vaughan and Vic Marks, to name a few, all skipped the tour as well.

Hope they all enjoyed the rest!

Understated Bangladesh come bearing gifts

“In hindsight it was probably a bad decision.” This is the understated response from Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons to his team winning the toss and asking England to bat on Day 1 at Chittagong.

I have read a lot of blogs and articles over the last few weeks criticizing Bangladesh for distorting the cricketing records, criticizing the ICC for allowing this to happen, people saying that Bangladesh have achieved nothing during the years since they were granted Test status.

Basically a lot of negative stuff, but nevertheless I could see where people were coming from. I personally thought it was all a bit harsh given their recent results, I also thought they were not far off from claiming another major scalp (Australia at Cardiff in 2005) sometime soon!

Last year Bangladesh beat an understrength West Indies side 2-0 in a Test series, they beat both West Indies and Zimbabwe in ODI series, in January they gave India a scare in the 1st Test at Chittagong, and just recently they should have won the 2nd ODI against England at Dhaka.

All this showed signs of improvement and gave me optimism that Banglasdesh might be well on their way to becoming a more serious opposition. That maybe they could give a decent game to the Pakistani team that recently turned up in Australia, or the West Indies team that occupied the pitch briefly against England last May, that the knockers might have got things wrong.

How wrong could I have been after the opening day of this Test match.

If the cricket they played wasn’t bad enough, then the decision to ask England to bat first certainly was. Just what was the thinking? If any.

There was as good a chance as ever to lay down a good marker today against England, look at the basic facts. An inexperienced captain, an inexperienced bowling attack with one man making his debut and Bresnan playing, passing up the chance to (possibly) bowl last with their three spinners, bearing all this in mind it was a staggering decision to bowl first.

To put it bluntly, Bangladesh blew it.

If Bangladesh had batted first and put 300 on the board against an under strength English attack who knows what might have happened, in the past we have all seen how England’s batsmen can sometimes crumble under pressure as well. Bangladesh would probably still have lost, but at least the contest would have lasted more than the three sessions that this Test match is seemingly destined too.

You can try your hardest to compete against superior teams, to try to bridge the gap in class, to merge decent individual performances and come together as a team, and to try to turn decent days into victories. But if you can’t do the fundamental basics right you’ve got no chance.

What is going on with Adil Rashid?

The omission of Adil Rashid, a leg spinner, from the upcoming tour of Bangladesh may well have left a few people scratching their heads.

The England management have, in my opinion, handled him badly over the past few months, sending out mixed signals which can’t be helping the young mans confidence.

What has changed in the time since the original touring party to South Africa was named, to the retaining of James Tredwell in the ODI squad after he was called up as cover for Graeme Swann?

After naming the Bangladesh touring squads, without him in it, Andy Flower said “I think it will do him a lot of good to go back and play a lot of cricket for Yorkshire and to work out his own game, to work out what works for him, to understand his game better, and to come back into the England side, whenever that might be, a more knowledgeable and tougher cricketer.”

That would suggest that Flower thinks he is not ready for international cricket just yet and doesn’t even really know his own game yet.

Did they not notice this on the tour of the West Indies last year? If not then maybe during the Natwest series or Champions Trophy?

He was messed around during the English summer, performing well in the first Natwest series game against Australia, only to be dropped for the next match.

He was then given just one over in the Twenty20 captained by Alastair Cook in South Africa, went for 25 runs and was then basically dumped from the tour with hardly any chance of redeeming himself.

In my opinion he has been badly treated by the England management.

It dosen’t take a rocket scientist to work out that he is only a young kid still learning his cricket, as Flower has now suggested. So why then was he dragged out of the Yorkshire side during the summer to sit on the sidelines? When they are now saying he needs to play more cricket.

Why was he named in the England squads to tour South Africa if he basically wasn’t ready? He ended up in the development squad, where he should have been in the first place, but only after a humiliating demotion.

Another option could have been to play abroad during the English winter, like Monty Panesar has.

I don’t doubt for a minute that Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss want Rashid to succeed, it would be great for England to have a leg spinner who can bat. I also don’t doubt that they are doing what they now think is best for him by sending him on the Lions Tour and suggesting he then plays a full season for Yorkshire.

What I do doubt is the way they have handled him over the last 12 months, by all means take him on a tour to have a look at him, as they did in West Indies. But why have they only just seen now what they should have seen during the West Indies tour?

Let him learn his cricket and go back to the familiar surroundings of Yorkshire, England have a promising cricketer here so lets not ruin him before he has even started.