Thursday, March 29, 2007

Two good things for England about the World Cup

Having gone and written a few long posts about serious (ish) topics, I thought I'd just touch on the positive things to come out of England's Word Cup so far. It is that England are almost certain never again to entrust the England captaincy with Andrew Flintoff - the best all-rounder for a generation yet the least convincing England captain since Chris Cowdrey. Odd though that the man who is almost certain to inherit that mantle, Andrew Strauss, has yet to play a game. Presumably the thinking is that there's only room in the side for two of Strauss, Bell and Vaughan - each of them being accumulators. Strauss is too talented a player not to come back from this though.
The other bit of good news is that England now has a selection of talented fast bowlers to choose from. With more and more test match and one day cricket being played, it must come as a relief to be able to pick and choose between Harmison, Hoggard, Jones, Anderson, Mahmood, Plunkett, Broad and Jon Lewis, not to mention Graham Onions and Chris Tremlett in the second tier. Not many countries have that much depth at the moment. In fact, for all England's dismal winter, as a test-playing nation the depth is extraordinary. Owais Shah can't get a game; one of the 'current' top order has to be dropped to make way for Vaughan; and will Trescothick come back? If you're picking 5 of Strauss, Cook, Vaughan, Bell, Pieterson, Collingwood, Trescothick, Joyce and Shah there's a fair amount of selectorial head-scratching to do.
For the record, so that I can look back and see how wrong I was in the summer, here's my 12 for the first test match against the West Indies in May: Vaughan (capt) Strauss, Cook, Bell, Pieterson, Collingwood, Flintoff, Davies (wk), Hoggard, Harmison, Panesar, Lewis. Steven Davies, of Worcestershire, is my 'rabbit out of the hat' pick - he's only 20 and averaged nearly 40 last season.
Anyone got any better ideas?


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