Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Thankless jobs

Ben Stokes has made the national selectors look "ridiculous" for leaving him out of the World Cup squad, says ex-England captain Paul Collingwood.

In fairness, that was a ridiculous innings. 15 sixes, and 150 off 80. 3 wickets as well. Why on earth is this superstar not in Australia, instead of the useless Ravi Bopara, who's managed 57 runs in the Tri Series at an average of 14 (and a strike rate of 57) and hasn't taken a wicket in his last 14 games? What are the idiot selectors playing at??

Well, the last time Bopara was dropped, back in the summer, he promptly averaged over 50 for the Lions (and under 30 with the ball), and was re-selected for the Sri Lanka tour where he was England's third highest scorer. Meanwhile...

7.3, 10.7. These are, respectively, superstar Ben Stokes's batting average and economy rate from the last time he played an ODI series for England. I can't give a bowling average, because he didn't take a wicket. Stokes was beyond hopeless on that tour - he was unselectable. He couldn't get the ball off the square when he batted, and he couldn't pitch it on the square when he bowled.

Selectors take a lot of stick, often fairly, often not. But it's very hard to blame them for not picking Stokes for the World Cup. The fact that he's woken up in South Africa is fantastic news, and if there's a last minute injury, he looks a shoe-in as a sub. But don't blame the selectors for Stokes being crap in Sri Lanka.

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