Monday, May 14, 2007

Not too shabby

Well, I may have some way to go on the Nostradamus front, but the eleven I picked here have all made it into the twelve - I was unduly pessimistic as to the condition of Kevin Pieterson's calf. Received wisdom among the assorted punditry is that the final choice is between the extra batsman, Shah, and the extra seamer, Plunkett. Now, I speak as a spin bowler, and as one who loves the easy classical slow left arm delivery of Monty Panesar, but there must be a case to be made, given the bowler-friendly conditions, and the fact that Flintoff is both out of form, and, worryingly, complaining of soreness in his ankle, to play both the extra batsman and the fourth seamer.
Some might see it as unduly cautious - dropping one of England's world-class players - but there are good reasons. Lords in May is never going to be a raging bunsen; the West Indies have a historic weakness against the swinging ball, an ability that Plunkett certainly possesses; and if England have a weakness then it's a long tail with Plunkett, Hoggard, Harmison and Panesar looking very exposed. I rather doubt that Peter Moores will go with this - the West Indies not having a good track record against spin either - but if Shah does get the nod to head back off to Middlesex I think he'll have been pretty hard done by.

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