Is it time to drop Jimmy?

I’m a bit torn on this one. On Sunday I had made my mind up that Jimmy Anderson has to be the man to make way if Stuart Broad is fit to face Ireland. But now, after a couple of days reflection I’m not so sure.

On present form I don’t think it can be disputed that Anderson isn’t worth his place in the side. That’s not meant in a ‘get rid of him, as he’s crap’ way. It’s meant that he is in a bad run of form and that is probably becasue he is mentally and physically exhausted.

He bowled himself into the ground during the Ashes, he also was backwards and forwards to England after his wife gave birth, all this must now be taking its toll on him.

Do England give him one more chance against Ireland? No disrespect meant to the Irish, but England will face tougher opposition during this tournament and a run out against an Associate side could be what Anderson needs to get himself back on track. Assuming that it’s just his radar and confidence that needs adjusting.

If it’s a bigger problem than that, then maybe it’s time to take him out of the firing line and try to get him ready for the latter stages of the competition.

At the moment he is clearly struggling, whether that is through tiredness, lack of confidence or a bit of both, or maybe even something more sinister, only Jimmy and the England management know.

One thing that is for sure, is that England’s bowling and fielding needs livening up in a big way. Anderson is one of the main culprits in both of these departments recent struggles, so maybe a rest so England can freshen things up a bit would do Jimmy and the team some good.

Another thing that might point to him being left out, is that now we are almost certain to qualify, it is more important that we have him firing on all cylinders come the business end of the tournament.

It will be interesting to see how England handle this problem.

Ashes Profile – James Anderson

He has the voice of a 60 year old man who owns a whippet as he seems to have aged before his time. This miserable sounding complexion could be brought on by the constant need to have a dirty black cloud following him around from cricket ground to cricket ground while in England.

From the Aussie perspective, according to emails sent by Justin Langer he can also sometimes be found hiding under Graeme Swann’s floorboards.

He has also been given the daisy nickname for his erratic performances and many people (including me) have questioned his mental strength, my main gripe is that he never had a stock ball when batsmen got after him and he seemed to crumble under the pressure.

This has already been pointed out on this tour by Shane Watson, who said “There’s no doubt he’ll have some mental scars from the last series he played out here,” referring to Anderson’s record of 5 wickets at 82.6 the last time he toured Australia.

Overall his average against Australia is 56.17, against a 52 match career average of 31.75. The telling statistic for Anderson though is that he averages 27.13 in England and 43.84 overseas.

Further analysis of Anderson overseas, shows in 2 tests in India in 2008 he took 2 wickets at 53.50. In the same year he played 2 tests in New Zealand and picked up 8 wickets at 35.37

In 2009 he took 9 wickets at 38.00 in 4 tests in West Indies and on the tour of South Africa last winter he took 16 wickets at 34.25, a respectable return but far from world beating.

Thats why for me this tour should be the defining one of Anderson’s career. Will this be the one where he shows he isn’t just a one trick pony? Where he proves there is more to him than just swinging the ball in damp overcast dreary English conditions?

He had a brilliant (so called) summer in England against Pakistan, but throughout that series conditions suited the bowlers. He isn’t going to get that luxury in Australia.

So far so good on this tour, he’s had a good start and as a result has been excused Tasmania and is already in Brisbane getting prepared for next weeks 1st test. Looking at the Tasmania pitch on day 1, I think that is a good idea. The last thing England’s bowlers needed was to bowl on a green top like this and get lulled into thinking all is great, as Brisbane will be the exact opposite.

I’m one of the few that has not been convinced that Jimmy is the real deal. I have heard people saying he is world class, which is a view I don’t subscribe too. In typical English conditions he is one of the best bowlers in the world (maybe even the best), but for me that isn’t enough to be regarded as a proper world class performer.

I have always been a bit sceptical as to what he adds to the party when conditions don’t suit him. England waited years for him to come good and it is now time for him to show that he really is the man for the big occasion.

The real question for me is can he keep things tight when conditions don’t suit him? In the past he hasn’t had the control to keep a lid on things when a team have got after him, I await with interest to see if his bowling really has moved on that much and if he is strong enough mentally to handle the pressure.

Anderson is 3rd favourite in the betting to be England’s top bowler at a best price of 4/1 with Bet365 and VC Bet.

It just had to be Tremlett!

When I seen the news on Friday morning that Jimmy Anderson had broke or cracked a rib while boxing, I couldn’t help but think that it would be ironic if the man who landed the fateful blow would turn out to be Chris Tremlett.

But then a touch of reality kicked in, I was been totally stupid thinking that! There is no way in the world that anybody with any sense would put a bloke the size of Tremlett in the ring with a bloke the size of Anderson, it must have been someone else who broke his rib.

I mean, you wouldn’t put Amir Khan in the same ring as Vitali Klitschko would you?

Before this trip I had a neutral view about it, I thought Flower and Strauss knew what was best for the squad and that they would make the correct decisions.

I believed that sensible decisions would be taken by sensible people, that the era of people getting kicked up in the air by team mates in football practise at the start of a days play were over for good.

How wrong was I. This is just the kind of outcome that all the cynics of this trip were warning about and most probably waiting for.

It’s not just the damage done to Anderson’s ribs that is a problem. This could possibly upset the psychology of other members of the squad.

How is Chris Tremlett likely to feel should he end up playing in the 1st test as a result of this?

Will it effect him and have a negative impact on him and his bowling?

Will Jimmy Anderson now hold any bad feelings towards Tremlett?

If Anderson is 100% fit for the Brisbane test match, then none of the above should be an issue. If he isn’t then someone, somewhere in the England ranks may have some explaining to do.

Ruthless England

I have to say that I was very impressed with the manner in which England bounced back today from their complacent defeat to Bangladesh on Saturday, it was a performance more akin to an Australian team, than England.

When Craig Kieswetter again went cheaply, I did wonder if England would set a decent target, I thought they might struggle with the prospect of a humiliating defeat hanging over them.

Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott put paid to that theory, and England put Bangladesh to the sword in a ruthless fashion.

It was also good to see the selectors give Ajmal Shahzad another run out, he was in danger of becoming the next Adil Rashid, such is the amount of time he has spent on the sidelines with England lately.

He had a shaky match at Bristol, but bounced back well today. His bowling is showing plenty of promise, and he has a good chance of being included in the Ashes touring party.

England are currently developing a good pool of seam bowlers for all formats of the game.

As well as Broad and Anderson, they still have Steven Finn to come back to the test side, Ryan Sidebottom is still a good limited overs bowler and he hasn’t even played for England since the World T20.

With Shahzad backing them up, and if they can get Graham Onions fit again, the selectors know competition for places will be competitive.

Which brings me to Jimmy Anderson. Why, in a game that England needed to win to avoid an embarrassing defeat, would you rest or rotate one of your (so called) best bolwers?

He has taken a good hammering in the previous two ODI’s with Bangladesh, he also didn’t have a brilliant series against Australia with his wickets coming at 38.42.

Ironically, today was probably the day most suited to his bowling, dark clouds overhead and a pitch with a tinge of green on top.

But if he is dropped then just say so, never mind this pussy footing around, claiming he is being rested or rotated.

It’s starting to look to me that Anderson’s place in the side is not as assured as it once was, he was also left out of the World T20 team earlier this year. There is also going to come a time soon when England might not want (or need) to carry a bowler who can only perform in certain conditions.

Now that we have a few more emerging talents, Anderson might find he needs to add a bit more craft and guile to his bowling, and more importantly, cut out all the 4 balls.