Friday, January 05, 2007

England: where to from here?

I can't say I am hugely surprised by England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash, given the clear gulf in ability between the two teams and the mistakes made by Duncan Fletcher and Co in selection and preparation - but where do we go from here? The next Ashes series is two and a half years away, in the summer of 2009, so we have plenty of time to regroup and bring on new talent.

There's been much talk about Michael Vaughan coming back as captain, but I'm not convinced he is going to be worth his place in the side. By contrast, although Andrew Strauss has had a poor series on paper, he was the victim of a number of shoddy umpiring decisions and overall looked in good nick. He should get the captaincy in my view.

I have a feeling Paul Collingwood won't be around by 2009, so I think it's probably time to have an extended look at Ed Joyce and Owais Shah as middle-order options. Although he flattered to deceive in this series, several times reaching 50 but failing to go onto a century, Ian Bell will surely come good in the long run.

In the wicketkeeping area, I think we now have to move on from the endless Geraint Jones - Chris Read debate and give an oportunity to James Foster or Steven Davies, both good wicketkeepers who can bat.

The main changes, though, will come in the bowling area. Steve Harmison looked a shadow of his former self in this series and has already retired from one-day cricket at the age of 28. I have a hunch he will have retired from all cricket by the time he reaches 30.

Matthew Hoggard bowled manfully in this series but may be over the hill by 2009. I think our main fast-bowling options by then will be Stuart Broad and Sajid Mahmood, with young spinner Adil Rashid forming a potentially lethal slow-bowling partnership with Monty Panesar.

My XI for 2009: Strauss (Captain), Cook, Bell, Pietersen, Joyce, Flintoff, Davies, Broad, Mahmood, Panesar, Rashid.

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MorrisOx said...

It isn't the 11 on the pitch that's the problem, Paul. It's the management structure that allowed it to happen.

The Aussies learned the lessons of 2005 in a big way, whether it was making sure they did what was necessary to kill off a match or letting England know in one or two subtle ways that this was business and not a matey get-together.

For all his undoubted talents, 'matey, Flintoff embodied a team that the Aussies knew was going to lose.

skipper said...

analysis spot on Paul. Your 11 is a bit of a clear-out but I think close to the money though maybe Hoggard will hang on and Anderson might build on his final decent performance to feature for a time longer given his youth. I was going to post on this depressing subject today but my technical probs precluded it so I enjoyed your piece.

Womble said...

If your team (which isn't a bad shout) is presented in batting order you have Adil Rashid far too low. He is a genuine all rounder, picked initially by Yorkshire for the huge volume of runs he was scoring in the 2nd XI. I'd suggest by 2009 he would be at no7 in that side. I'm not convinced Mahmood will make it.

Anonymous said...

The aussies could have put another two teams up to play England and still have won, such is their strength. when you get thousands of kids knocking a ball around every weekend all around Australia
you do not stand much of a chance unless you're doing the same in England. There should be trophy for the barmy army,they are well liked in Australia and a credit to England.

Bob Piper said...

womble is spot on, Rashid would bat at seven, and Matty has the heart of a lion whilst his bowling gets bettter. Don't rule out Yorkshire's other young spinner Mark Lawson who took 6-88 in one championship match last season. With Vaughan there as captain, the white rose will win back the ashes.

Your link is restored Paul... do you think you could update mine to the right address.

Richard Bailey said...

Hi Paul,
Super review. Good point from Morrisox. I have made the very same throughout. My review is up on my blog.
Don't know much about Rashid. Will watch with interest.
Mahmood did nothing for his career. He slagged off his Captain in the press for not bowling him and then got hammered round the park when he did bowl. His failure to run out Warne was shocking.

I have gone with Strauss (v-c), Cook, Bell, Pietersen, Flintoff, Vaughan (C), Wkpr (whoever makes the mark), Panesar, Hoggard, Broad, Tremlett.

Paul Linford said...

Bob, Womble

Wasn't aware of Rashid's batting prowess but if what you say is correct then having him, Steven Davies and Stuart Broad in the team would considerably strengthen our fragile tail.

Agree Mahmood did himself no favours in Oz but I back him to come good.

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