Tuesday, 17 September 2019

The amateur cricket selector/obsessed fan game.

It's the amateur cricket selector game...

England's test players this summer.

Joe Root had a reasonable series but scoring scores of 50 to 80 runs isn't going to win many matches.  Especially when the opposition's star batsman is smashing us all over the ground.  Unlike other players of his generation Root seems to have reached a level but is unable to kick on.  Root is our best batsman and should be inked into the team, his captaincy is improving but fork fuck sake don't over bowl Jofra!  The biggest thing going for Joe as captain is who else is there?  As vice captain Stokes would be in the frame if Root stepped down but history shows that giving the top job to our star all rounder isn't a good move.

Unlike Root, Ben Stokes keeps getting better and better.  He is reported to be the hardest trainer in the squad and the work is definitely showing.  His hundred at Lords was excellent, the knock at Leeds is legendary and there were fify plus scores in two other tests as well.  And that's without his bowling and fielding.  It's about time Stokes was thought of  as a batsman who bowls a few overs, in the mold of Jaques Kallis.

In the end Rory Burns impressed me, even after the hundred I wasn't convinced, I really expected his scores to drop away afterwards but that 81 at Old Trafford was a seriously good innings against a first class bowling attack.  He backed this up with decent partnerships at the Oval too, the longer the series went on the more comfortable he looked.  If he can make decent runs against Australia then he should be able to open up against all test nations.  He now deserves a good run in the side.

Joe Denly may be considered unlucky that his test debut came towards the end of his career.  Had he been picked earlier he might have made a decent career.  He's improved as this series has gone on and with 94 in the last innings of the summer has done just enough to hang onto his place but it looks like the poor bugger will be opening from now on.  Unfortunately Denly is in his thirties so may not have too long at the top, we will need another player in the top three in the near future.

The problem with most of the rest is they may well be excellent in white ball cricket but they don't often show the patience to make it in the longer form, it's about time we separated the two and picked red ball players.  It's worth noting that only three of Australia's ODI batsmen featured in the Ashes.

Jason Roy needs to work on his red ball game in county cricket or settle for being a great ODI player.

Johnny Bairstow is another world class ODI player but his test form has been poor for nearly two years.  Top order batsmen shouldn't get bowled as often as Bairstow, he's had a long run in the side and ultimately the stats don't lie, he isn't good enough.  I think JB should give up the gloves and concentrate on his batting, he may come back better in the future and hold down a top 5 place on merit but right now I'd leave him out.

Joss Buttler started the series poorly but he got better the longer it went on, apparently he's averaged higher than all the other England batsmen since his return to the side eighteen months ago.  Does he really have the desire to make himself a top test cricketer rather than a white ball superstar?

Whoever keeps must bat at no. 7, if it was good enough for Gilchrist (or even Matt Prior) it is good enough for whoever England select.  It's over twenty years since England have selected the best keeper in the country to play test cricket (and Bairstow is definitely not our best wicket keeper).  Ben Foakes is the best I've seen behind the stumps for a very long time and he has proved he can bat in tests too.  What does he have to do to get another chance?   As Bairstow and Buttler have played a lot of high pressure cricket this year I'd give them both a tour off and pick Sam Billings as a reserve keeper.

Even though Jimmy Anderson was crocked for the series the bowlers done as proud this summer.
Stuart Broad was excellent throughout the series, he bowled as consistently well as he has in years and looks like he has a few more good seasons ahead of him.  It was glorious watching him swarm all over little Davey this summer and he troubled all the batsman.  Michael Vaughan deliberately courts controversy and his comment saying Broad and Anderson should not play in the same side is typical bollocks.

Jofra Archer looks like being a new bowling superstar.  His pace, control and hostility was impressive at times this summer.  He had 'Six fors' in both England's wins but his spell at Lords was the most memorable.  Archer looks like he will become an awesome bowler but he must be kept fit, guided and looked after.

Chris Woakes is a very likable character but the plain truth is he isn't good enough to be a first choice pick for his bowling.  If Stokes is ever injured then Woakes could come into the side to add balance and give the captain a fifth bowler.
Likewise Sam Curran, a favourite of the selectors who I had considered little more than a fifth seamer but he proved me wrong at the Oval.  However if the ball isn't swinging he's cannon fodder.    I think Curran may still get better and at the moment I'd pick him ahead of Woakes.  For the series ahead this winter neither would get in my team unless other players are injured.

Craig Overton came in and done reasonably well although he looked far less threatening than Broad or Archer and all of the Australian seamers for that matter.  Surely we have better bowlers than that?  If the other Overton brother is quicker then pick him?  If other players are fit then then neither Overton takes a place.

Jack Leach done very well in his first Ashes series.  He will be remembered for the battling 1* at Headingley but throughout the series he took wickets and gave the captain the control that Moeen Ali couldn't produce.  Leach is our number one spinner now but Mo could come back for tours in Asia.

The bowling selections in Sri Lanka last year were perfect, the selection for the first test in Barbados was fucking ridiculous.  With Jimmy injured this summer we always seemed a bowler light, if Ollie Stone had been fit it would have been interesting to see how he went against Australia, he done OK against Ireland.  With Broad, Anderson and Archer bowling seam up, Leach bowling spin and Stokes chipping in here and there we have a very good attack that should do well in the future.  The older Curran looks a good cricketer and if we can keep Mark Wood fit we have a decent pace attack.  Dom Bess looked a good cricketer last year, a good replacement for Leach and we have Mo and Adil for tours of Asia.  Going forward there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about our bowlers.

It's the batting line up that has been causing problems for some time.  Rory Burns has proved he is a test player, he had been consistent for Surrey for a few seasons, why did it take so long for the selectors to get him in the side?  To be fair it didn't take Smith and Taylor too long.  whichever way Denly's career goes from here age isn't on his side.  We will still need to find another opener, at some time we have to try a youngster from county cricket, Ollie Pope seems to be next in line for the middle order, maybe Dom Sibley to bat in the top three.

The squad that won't be selected for the winter tours.
First XI
Burns, Sibley, Denly, Root, Stokes, Pope, Foakes, Archer, Leach, Broad, Anderson

Squad players;
Billings,
S. Curran
Wood, Stone,
Bess,

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