Less than four weeks now until England start the first of their three Tests in the Caribbean.
The squad selection or 'reset' as they are calling it has drawn a lot of attention, most notably for the omission of Anderson and Broad. I can't say I'm surprised about them missing out however.
England have a demanding set of Test matches in the summer and will have to adjust their attack as they go. Keeping this duo, especially Anderson, match-fit could be crucial. No point in aggravating any residual stress injuries on some hard-baked and unforgiving surfaces on Windie home soil. Broad probably struggles a wee bit to bowl to his best there as well, probably more so than anywhere outside of the pitches in India and Bangladesh.
Far better to keep them protected and roll them out for what could be a farewell summer. Certainly with Anderson, and potentially with Broad, this might be the time to depart the stage. From the game and the host venues' point of view I don't doubt it would really swell the coffers, though there would have always been good demand for tickets this year, given the fixtures.
Big news for me was that Joe Root has succumbed to what had to be inevitable and announced he will play at three. I can stop my increasingly vituperative letter-writing campaign to the ECB at last. I do wonder whether retaining the captaincy was conditional on him moving up the order though. When it's all said and done, England's top order have been so fragile that batting at four was almost no different to batting at three anyway!
And so to the other changes. Reason finally triumphs over whatever noun represents the futility of persevering with Jos Buttler as a Test keeper. Ben Foakes assumes his natural place and my other letter-writing campaign to the ECB can cease. More importantly, it offers the tantalising opportunity for England to pick a 5-6-7 that reads Stokes-Foakes-Woakes. Such a symmetry doesn't occur once in a generation, rarely even once in a lifetime, possibly even a century. England must seize the day and build an all-conquering XI based around this axis of assonance.
As for the rest, a real injection of youth and some departing players who must be unlikely to feature again (Burns, Hameed). I can't quite let go off Hameed, he is just one of those players I would keep giving a chance to, because there is something there IMO. Saying that, I used to stick up for Andy Dow and his potentail to come good at Hibs, so what do I know.
Mahmood and Parkinson, the Lancashire duo, both look interesting in the bowling unit, though it will be easier to properly judge Parkinson in the summer as one wouldn't expect a debutant leg-spinner to flourish in the Caribbean - Shane Warne himself averaged just a shade under 40 there.
Last edited by Mibbes Aye; 09-02-2022 at 07:27 PM.
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