A couple of weeks ago I made my predictions for the test match squad and was nowhere near!
My XI; Cook, Carberry, Root, Bell, Balance, Stokes (or Woakes), Buttler, Jordan, Broad, Anderson, Panesar. Also in squad, Finn, Robson.
I selected 14 players above and of those only nine feature. Stokes is not considered fit enough but Woakes is in the squad. Carberry has been discarded and replaced with one of my picks Robson. Matt Prior takes the gloves again so Buttler doesn’t play. Finn and Panesar aren’t in the mix at all at the moment. As expected Jordan is in the squad but a surprise to see Liam Plunkett is back for the first time since Freddie was captain. The spinning option goes to Moen Ali who will likely edge out Woakes for the all rounder’s spot. So the team will likely line up like this; Cook, Robson, Root, Bell, Ballance, Ali, Prior, Broad, Jordan, Plunkett, Anderson. Just six of the players that started the Ashes in Brisbane last November are still around. By the end of that series the England team that had pretty much picked itself was broken up. Few would have predicted that.
So Sri Lanka, they have two genuinely great batsmen in Sangakarra and Jayawardne. They have a decent team but how good remains to be seen. Any Sri Lankan team will be capable of beating England if we don’t perform. On home soil with the likes of Cook, Bell, Anderson and Broad England should win and it will be fascinating to see how the summer unfolds.
Froch vs Groves I was a great fight but the abrupt end spoiled things and left more questions than answers. In the aftermath Carl Froch claimed the referee saved Groves from a beating. He said he wasn’t motivated because he under estimated Groves which affected his preparation and attitude going into the fight. (What he didn’t quite admit was Groves had done an Ali mind job on him and totally got under his skin.) In the build up to the rematch Froch claimed he was totally focused this time around and that Groves couldn’t live with him at his best.
On the other hand George Groves was adamant he’d given Froch a hiding until he’d been robbed. He was sure he would have recovered and carried on to beat Froch. Going into the rematch he was positive there was no way Froch could possibly beat him.
Froch vs Groves II was a closer, more tactical fight but the ending proved that Froch was 100% correct in everything he said after the first fight. That was as good a knockout punch as you would ever see. He is at the pinnacle of a great career and is high on the list of the great British & Irish Super Middleweights that includes Calzaghe, Eubank, Benn, Watson, Collins, Woodhall…. Groves now finds himself behind in the pecking order to James Degale, a man he has beaten. Degale is looking good but has Groves peaked to soon? George needs a rest before he begins trying to rebuild his career.