Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Test Cricket next week!

England start a five match test series against India next week and I can't wait!!!  

But before I chunter on about that the ODI form must get a mention.  England have played brilliant cricket to batter an under strength Australian team 6-0 if you include the T20.  England were simply better in all departments and Joss Buttler's century in the fifth ODI was superb, earning victory from certain defeat.  Since then we've faced a strong Indian side who won the T20 series 2-1 but England came from behind to win the last two fifty over matches to take that series and hang on to the World number one ranking.  It's not the results that matter though, the way England play is brave and attacking, they back their talent and go for it.  There was a time when I wouldn't bother much with ODI cricket as it seemed stale and a bit boring compared to T20 which seemed the better 'short form'.  T20 cricket has influenced the modern fifty over game, given it a proper kick and rejuvenated the game and at the moment England really are the best in the world.

So why is the Test team so inconsistent?

Earlier this year Joss Buttler was selected for the test team on the back of his IPL form and it was a resounding success.  Now there is talk of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid of coming back for the same reason.  I'm all for Rashid's selection, I think he is the best wicket taking spinner we have in all forms of the game.  To select Ali would seem really unfair on Leach and Bess who have both done well since Ali last played.  I'd be more inclined to stick with one of the younger bowlers as although Ali has done well in home series his bowling abroad has been poor.

What about England's much maligned top three, would this benefit from the inclusion of Hales or Roy?  As I've said many times I'm a fan of Hales but maybe Roy should get a go should an opportunity arise?  In the short term Jennings will hold onto his place as Cook's partner.  Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes are both getting back to fitness so we could see a very different team to the one that beat Pakistan, way back before the great drought.

India have a team of superstars but they don't always travel well.  Normally I'd make England favourites at home but the weather this summer may well affect the pitches, I don't think they'll be dry turners but I can't see them seaming or swinging much.  Shear pace could well be useful this year.  If England are not at their best India could embarrass us.  However I still think England should be too good for India.

So the selector game...
Cook, Jennings, Root, Buttler, Bairstow, Stokes, Bess, Wood, Rashid, Broad, Anderson.

I've picked what  once long ago, the Ray Illingsworth's of the world would call a balanced side.  Four fast bowlers including one capable of hurling it down at 90mph and two spinners.  I think we might need six bowlers to bowl India out twice.  The batting would definitely look stronger with Ali instead of Bess but the youngster looked like a batsman against Pakistan.  I will be amazed if the XI that goes out next week will look anything like mine :)

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