Earlier in the week I wasn’t exactly waiting with bated breath the forthcoming announcement of England’s 15 man world cup squad, mainly because like most observers I thought it was already set in stone.
I have to admit – like Matt Prior must have been himself – I was quite surprised to hear that Steven Davies had been dropped in favour of our test wicketkeeper.
I believe Prior’s inclusion is fair enough and I have no problem with it. Where I’m shocked, is that it is so unlike Andy Flower to tear up the script at such a late stage, he usually makes a decision to back a player and sticks by it through thick and thin.
From that point of view maybe Davies is unlucky, but overall I think Davies has had a good run in the team and he hasn’t set the world on fire. He has done ok, but it would appear that ok is no longer acceptable for England.
That said, I still think there is the makings of a good player there and I hope that England stick with him in the long run.
Matt Prior seems to have been rewarded for both his test form and the fact that he has made the effort to try and improve his T20 game with his stint playing in the Big Bash in Australia, rather than going home and sitting on his backside.
The batting was never going to change really. Paul Collingwood maybe was sweating a bit after being dropped for the first ODI, but he was always going to get the nod for the other aspects of his game.
I believe the luckiest man in the squad is Luke Wright. This could well be his last chance for a while if he dosen’t start to make some meaningful contributions. England could have opted for another paceman in place of Wright, so he needs to repay Andy Flower’s faith. Like Steven Davies, Wright has done ok without ever really excelling.
I’m not that surprised to see Chris Tremlett not make the squad, it’s probably because he is too similar to Stuart Broad and England need variety which Ajmal Shahzad will give them.
I do wonder just how close Chris Woakes might have come to beating Shahzad to his spot? I think he would have come under serious consideration after his batting performances in the T20, but in reality it has probably come a bit too soon for him.
A special mention has to go to Samit Fatel. Here is a guy the England management clearly wanted to see involved in the squad, he has been given yet another chance – probably his last under Flower – and has apparently blown it again. If Flower really wasn’t interested in him, I doubt he would have made the remarks he has done.
Fatel could have been useful on the sub-continent, he is a far better batsman than James Tredwell and probably a better bowler too. The best bit about it is that Tredwell is no athlete himself. In a 15 man squad that was always going to contain 3 spinners, to not even be fit enough to be considered is a total joke and shows how little he must be bothered.
Will he ever have a better opportunity? What an idiot!
Squad Andrew Strauss (C), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy
Woakes would certainly have merited a mention. Especially after his recent innings which confirmed both his talent and temperament.
I happened to pick up a good interview on TMS during the interval yesterday morning with David Saker, who, unusually for a coach, singled out Woakes for particular praise. He likes his ability to swing the ball and thinks he’ll gain pace as his conditioning improves. Definitely one to watch.
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Thats interesting Brian, I orginally thought that Woakes elevation was probably more down to Ashley Giles.
But having heard that and the fact that Andy Flower promoted him up the order in the T20, it shows that most of the management and coaches would appear to rate him very highly.
It’s interesting how England more identify a talent and persist with it these days, as opposed to going for somebody taking lots of wickets or scoring lots of runs in county cricket.
They seem to profile (for want of a better phrase) individuals these days rather then go on their stats.
Even if his pace dosen’t improve, I still think he has a future at ODI level. Not sure if he’s threatening enough at his current pace for test cricket, especially when you look at who’s already ahead of him. He’s only young though and has plenty of time to improve.