Thursday, 19 November 2015

Test squad

The England selectors named the test squad to tour South Africa today and there were several surprises but before we get to that the obvious;  Cook will captain and Root, Anderson, Broad and Stokes will be on the plane.

The glaring omission is Ian Bell who has been treated harshly in my opinion.  Its true he hasn't been in the best of form for a while but class is permanent, I'd have him on the trip for his experience.  Maybe enjoying a winter at home with his family will put him in the right frame of mind to come back stronger next year?  I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him in an England shirt.

Another unlucky player is Adil Rashid who done as well as any England spinner in UAE and was the only one who looked likely to win us a match.  His place has been taken by Samit Patel who will do little more than carry the drinks in South Africa, what a waste of time.  Both he and Moeen Ali have something in common, they aren't good enough to bowl spin at test level so we would have been better served picking a youngster, or Rashid.

Both Finn and Wood will not make the trip through injury so Woakes and Jordan get the nod along with the left armer Mark Footit who was knocking on the door last summer.  He must be the next cab on the rank and I hope he gets a chance.

There are places up for grabs at the top of the batting order; an opening partner for Cook and a no. 3.   Whoever gets selected will be treated to the best pace attack in world cricket.   For these positions pick two from Alex Hales, who has been waiting in the wings for a while.  Nick Compton who was harshly treated in 2013 and Gary Ballance who had a good start to his test career but faltered this summer.  James Taylor should keep his place in the middle order.

The keepers job will be a straight shoot out between Bairstow and Buttler, neither of whom has made the spot their own despite having the opportunities.

Given the squad my XI for the first test vs South Africa (for what little its worth).

Cook, Compton, Hales, Root, Taylor, Stokes, Buttler, Ali, Broad, Anderson, Footit.

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