Monday, 15 August 2016

Fourth test. One step forward...

England were supposed to win the fourth test as a demoralised Pakistan team crumbled under pressure, except no one told Pakistan!  In the end England were well beaten, we didn't bat, bowl or field anywhere near the level we've become used to.  For Pakistan, key players re-found form, notably Younis Khan with a brilliant 218 and Yasir Shah with five wickets in the second innings.

It's been a really good series between two well matched teams and 2-2 is probably a fair result.  England would have expected to win this series but in truth, positions 2,4 and 5 have not contributed anywhere near enough runs.  Pakistan have been really impressive in both the cricket they've played and the way they've played it.  Misbah ul Haq is a really good captain and a tough competitor.  Recent Pakistan tours of England have finished with controversy and bad blood, not so this time.

For England its another case of one step forward and two back.  There was a chance of us going to No.1 in the world rankings but this would have been undeserved.  This side is nowhere near as good as the one led by Andrew Strauss a few years ago.  We have a team full of star players but we are lacking key components for a truly world class side.

I think everyone likes Alex Hales at the top of the order, he looks so good but just hasn't made enough runs to make that position his own.  Perhaps sir Geoffrey Boycott is right when he says he would be better off in the middle order?  But who will open??  Maybe Ballance is better suited to playing up front or should Someone like Sam Robson get another chance?  Since dropping Ian Bell England have tried Compton, Ballance, Vince and the unfortunate James Taylor in the middle order but none of whom have contributed to the team in the way Bell would have.  Will he be given another chance?

Pakistan's attack is as good as any in the world so for me, Moeen Ali has proved he is good enough to bat in the top five for England.  This frees up a place in the team for a PROPER SPINNER!!!  Adil Rashid or ???  English cricket is seriously lacking in this department at the moment.  When it comes to pace/seam bowling we seem to have players to spare.  Chris Woakes has had a great series and looks like he could be a star of the future, he has the third seamer's berth nailed down for now.  Waiting in the wings we have Finn and Wood to name but two.

This winter we have two tough tours against Bangladesh and India where the ball will turn and we don't seem to have the bowlers to exploit this.  Last time we played in India we won a hard series but had Swann and Panesar in top form and we beat the home side at their own game.  We don't have the spin bowlers to pose that kind of threat at the moment.

At the moment some players are guaranteed to make the winter tour, assuming they are fit enough;  Cook, Root, Stokes, Ali, Bairstow, Woakes, Broad and Anderson.  The selectors will meet at the end of the county season and another eight tour places will be up for grabs.  Who gets them is anyone's guess at the moment.

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