The Build to England’s Summer of Cricket

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 11:25 am

It’s a little early for separate World Cup and Ashes threads, but with the Windies giving England less wins than they might have liked, what confidence had been gained from Sri Lanka has been drained.

If anything, it feels like there were less questions in summer than there are now, with the top three even less secure, Curran’s away showings looking unconvincing so far and some questions around  places for Bairstow, Foakes and pace of Wood or similar. 

There’s also a World Cup coming, a home World Cup, something England have been building towards for quite some time. They’re a very good team, maybe better than any England World Cup team, but there’s a few issues.

It’s also worth noting opponents, although I can’t see anyone getting more discussion than the Aussies. They’ve recovered from defeat to win a home series against a very weak Sri Lanka. Their tails are up, and they could welcome back their two bets batsmen. Could, as morals might well make that a little difficult. They don’t have many here, though, so it will depend just how much of a tit Warner is in the meantime.

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 11:28 am

Mouthy blonde and poker player Shane Warne has picked this side and squad.

WARNE’S ASHES FIRST TEST SIDE
Dave Warner
Joe Burns
Marcus Harris / Cameron Bancroft
Steve Smith
Travis Head
Marcus Stoinis
Tim Paine
Pat Cummins
Jhye Richardson
Nathan Lyon
Josh Hazlewood
The rest of the 17-man squad: Marcus Harris / Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Kurtis Patterson, D’Arcy Short, Mitch Starc, Dan Worrall/Chris Tremain/Scott Boland/Peter Siddle

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Post by Duty281 on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 7:13 pm

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/25988742/ben-foakes-struggle-test-recall-trevor-bayliss-says

So Bairstow's time at number three is over. What on earth was the point of that experiment, and what could possibly be gleaned from a whopping four innings? Very harsh on Ben Foakes as well, who has started his test career with great promise, but will be shunted out of the way for inferior batsmen.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 9:23 pm

A few thoughts from me on the Bairstow situation.

First off, it's worth remembering that already in the summer, there had been talk of Bairstow playing as a batsman, with Buttler given the gloves. This came after Buttler took over the keeping when Bairstow injured his finger, and did a tidy job (though no better really than Bairstow would have done). The thought was that Bairstow could focus on batting at 5, with Buttler at 7 a more natural position for a keeper (and also, him being the keeper of the limited overs sides). Then, before the next test, Bairstow gets injured playing footy, Foakes comes in, scores a hundred, and the whole debate gets reignited, with more insistance, as Foakes is an excellent keeper. Bairstow then gets brought back in as a specialist batsman, in the troublesome number 3 spot.

Now my personal opinion is that England's management didn't handle this as well as they could have. They gave off the impression that they were bringing Bairstow back and sticking him at 3 only because they'd tried most other options there and nothing had worked. That might well have been true, but I think Bairstow would have responded better to a message along the lines of "you're our best batsman after Root who doesn't want to bat there, so we want you in that vital position so you can influence games more". You can argue that professional sportsmen don't need to be coddled like that, but man management is an important part of building a successful team (see Nasser's autobiography "playing with fire" on handling Caddick for instance), and the feeling I get from Bairstow is that he can be low on confidence at times, and responds better to positive messages like this one. Of course, it's possible that England were telling him that in private, but it's not the impression I was getting from the public announcements.

As it is, there's no doubt that Bairstow wasn't best pleased with the whole situation, not without some justification IMO. He worked really hard (credit also very much to Bruce French) to become a decent Test keeper (remember that series in SA where he was dropping things left, right and centre), and to lose his position because of injury must have rankled. Again, yes, these guys are professionals and should be able to get beyond that, but you can see where Bairstow's annoyance would be coming from.

One thing I did notice in the last Test was how much more vocal Bairstow is behind the stumps, compared to Foakes. England have a bit of a thing about keepers being the "heartbeat" of the side, a theory that was behind the misguided selection of Prior for the 2011 WC (Prior was very much the hearbeat of the Test side at the time). I'm not sure how necessary it all is, but I wonder if that may also have been a part of their thinking.

Personally, I think Foakes can consider himself hard done by. I also think Bairstow at 3 showed some promise, and I honestly am not sure I can conceive of a world in which Denly is going to score more runs there (for all that he played nicely in the last Test). But clearly, Bayliss sees it differently. He wants to go with a settled 4-8, and work on finding his top 3. If you persist with Bairstow at 3, but he say doesn't do anything there for the next 2/3 tests, then that arguably creates more uncertainty (i.e. you end up shifting players around again).

Back on the main topic, England have solved very little (arguably nothing) of their top 3 issues. Noticeable in Duty's article that Bayliss still seems to have a bit of time for Jennings. I get why: he's a fighter, and scores hundreds when he gets in, as well as being an excellent fielder. However, for me he just doesn't play pace bowling well enough. Leaving aside even the issues with driving and his slightly dodgy defensive technique, he doesn't really have any scoring shots other than a backfoot punch (he's not great off his legs, nor does he play the cross bat shots particularly well, and as for driving...) which severely limits his options. Burns I think did OK, and looks decent, but the issue (and one he has in the CC) is rather giving things away after making a start. Still, for me he starts in pole position, and if he gets a few early runs in the CC under his belt, he should start the Ashes. As for the other two positions, I'd wait to see who's getting runs in the first class games before making a decision.

The other open position is the third seamer spot. Unlike the top 3, England do at least have a variety of decent options there. It remains to be seen if Wood's first innings speeds in the last Test are his new standard, or more of an exception. Again, it might be worth seeing how fast he's bowling early season before making a call. Having someone bowling consistently over 90 mph is definitely worth considering, but if it's more the second innings Wood, then I think Woakes is a better option.

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 11:35 pm

Lets face it its typical of the confused flip flopping we have seen under Bayliss.
Foakes was a happy accident yes. But he did do well with gloves and bat.
The talk ahead of the west indies was all about finding a settled to 3. The one player who did well in the top 3 in now bumped to 7 which he was moved up from because he wasnt realising his potential with the bat at 7. The three players who have done badly in the top 3 are the only options England have. If we have a settled top 3 it means we have one we know to be genuinely awful.
I appreciate the points MFC is making but over all its muddled inconsistent thinking once again, as has happened with Moeen constantly shuffling up and down the order.

As it is 2 of England top 3 don't yet have a century, and there number 5 has just one. The 6 has the biggst test century of any player in the side, only one player has a higher test average and more centuries than the number 7, and the number 8 has a higher test best score and more centuries than the 1/2/3/5 have combined. Stick Woakes in at 9 and he has a better batting average than anyone in the top 3 and a test best higher than 3 of the top 5 have. Broad at 10 has a test best score higher than all but 3 of the top 9. Anderson at 11 has a better test record against seam than Jennings does ( Im just making that up but it sounds vaguely plausible)

Now theres no perfect way to shuffle the deck chairs, and number of tests obviously plays a big part, and yeah its selective use of stats of course but theres something seriously screwed about that batting order.

Someone has to play in the top three, and the idea of moving out the one guy who's made a decent job of it is baffling. Bairstows averaged 39 in his time batting at 3, since his recall Buttlers averaged 40 at 5/6 and suddenly hes Bradman/Norris/Holder, whereas Bairstows binned back down to the kids table.

Really I just cant imagine a world in which anyone could sit in the selectors meeting and put Jennings in the frame to play in a home test against a team with strong seam bowlers. Except the one which Bayliss will attend.


As for Wood Woakes, you just cant ignore Woakes' record in home tests. If Wood comes in (yikes!) I suspect Broad would be the one to make way, especially as he would get the new ball.And certainly for flatter pitches theres a strong case for using that raw speed, if hes still showing it in practise/warm ups. Its still quite possible that he wont be able to sustain the effort levels seen in the fist innings in the last test. Its nice to have that in the locker as an option though.

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Post by alfie on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 5:31 am

Mad for Chelsea wrote:A few thoughts from me on the Bairstow situation.

First off, it's worth remembering that already in the summer, there had been talk of Bairstow playing as a batsman, with Buttler given the gloves. This came after Buttler took over the keeping when Bairstow injured his finger, and did a tidy job (though no better really than Bairstow would have done). The thought was that Bairstow could focus on batting at 5, with Buttler at 7 a more natural position for a keeper (and also, him being the keeper of the limited overs sides). Then, before the next test, Bairstow gets injured playing footy, Foakes comes in, scores a hundred, and the whole debate gets reignited, with more insistance, as Foakes is an excellent keeper. Bairstow then gets brought back in as a specialist batsman, in the troublesome number 3 spot.

Now my personal opinion is that England's management didn't handle this as well as they could have. They gave off the impression that they were bringing Bairstow back and sticking him at 3 only because they'd tried most other options there and nothing had worked. That might well have been true, but I think Bairstow would have responded better to a message along the lines of "you're our best batsman after Root who doesn't want to bat there, so we want you in that vital position so you can influence games more". You can argue that professional sportsmen don't need to be coddled like that, but man management is an important part of building a successful team (see Nasser's autobiography "playing with fire" on handling Caddick for instance), and the feeling I get from Bairstow is that he can be low on confidence at times, and responds better to positive messages like this one. Of course, it's possible that England were telling him that in private, but it's not the impression I was getting from the public announcements.

As it is, there's no doubt that Bairstow wasn't best pleased with the whole situation, not without some justification IMO. He worked really hard (credit also very much to Bruce French) to become a decent Test keeper (remember that series in SA where he was dropping things left, right and centre), and to lose his position because of injury must have rankled. Again, yes, these guys are professionals and should be able to get beyond that, but you can see where Bairstow's annoyance would be coming from.

One thing I did notice in the last Test was how much more vocal Bairstow is behind the stumps, compared to Foakes. England have a bit of a thing about keepers being the "heartbeat" of the side, a theory that was behind the misguided selection of Prior for the 2011 WC (Prior was very much the hearbeat of the Test side at the time). I'm not sure how necessary it all is, but I wonder if that may also have been a part of their thinking.

Personally, I think Foakes can consider himself hard done by. I also think Bairstow at 3 showed some promise, and I honestly am not sure I can conceive of a world in which Denly is going to score more runs there (for all that he played nicely in the last Test). But clearly, Bayliss sees it differently. He wants to go with a settled 4-8, and work on finding his top 3. If you persist with Bairstow at 3, but he say doesn't do anything there for the next 2/3 tests, then that arguably creates more uncertainty (i.e. you end up shifting players around again).

Back on the main topic, England have solved very little (arguably nothing) of their top 3 issues. Noticeable in Duty's article that Bayliss still seems to have a bit of time for Jennings. I get why: he's a fighter, and scores hundreds when he gets in, as well as being an excellent fielder. However, for me he just doesn't play pace bowling well enough. Leaving aside even the issues with driving and his slightly dodgy defensive technique, he doesn't really have any scoring shots other than a backfoot punch (he's not great off his legs, nor does he play the cross bat shots particularly well, and as for driving...) which severely limits his options. Burns I think did OK, and looks decent, but the issue (and one he has in the CC) is rather giving things away after making a start. Still, for me he starts in pole position, and if he gets a few early runs in the CC under his belt, he should start the Ashes. As for the other two positions, I'd wait to see who's getting runs in the first class games before making a decision.

The other open position is the third seamer spot. Unlike the top 3, England do at least have a variety of decent options there. It remains to be seen if Wood's first innings speeds in the last Test are his new standard, or more of an exception. Again, it might be worth seeing how fast he's bowling early season before making a call. Having someone bowling consistently over 90 mph is definitely worth considering, but if it's more the second innings Wood, then I think Woakes is a better option.

Pretty much mirrors my view on the whole selection issue. Especially the para in bold. I do think - as Goose has also flagged above - there has been too much flipping around lately (I blame Smith as much as Bayliss) and if they are at last choosing to settle the part of the lineup that has largely worked for them in the past , it is probably a sensible move.
I wonder if , when Smith first brought Buttler back into the setup , somewhat out of the blue , they had just put him in at five from the start , they might not have avoided a lot of messing about ? Of course the contrary argument is he might not have done well in that elevated position for a start and may have ended up another casualty...history now anyway. More to the point is how he - and the others - go from here.

Top three was the main issue (other than the now retired Cook ) two years ago ; and it still is. Runs in the early county season surely must be the key for the Ashes ...

I am not too worried about the bowling ; but I hope they have the sense and courage to make choices based on the pitch conditions rather than just assuming one size fits all.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 3:07 pm

We had a settled top order with Strauss, Cook & Trott. They last played together in 2012. Since then we struggled to find a partner for Cook with his 17 partners:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?batting_positionmax2=2;batting_positionval2=batting_position;class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=batting_average;player_involve=7023;player_involve_type=none;spanmax1=14+Feb+2019;spanmin1=14+Feb+2009;spanval1=span;team=1;template=results;type=batting


Since Trott's departure we have seen 12 guys bat at 3 (incl Anderson as nightwatchman). Root has had the most innings there followed by Ballance. Both have averages over 40 batting first wicket down, but Ballances inflated by a good start. Other than these two only Bairstow has a century at number 3.


Eventually we have to stop chopping and changing and and give someone a good run at the job. Lord alone knows who though.

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Post by dummy_half on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 3:52 pm

I think the first Ashes test will have Burns at opener and Denly at 3, unless someone absolutely knocks the door down with CC form. As for the other opener - ask whichever deity you believe in for guidance...

I presume Hales or Roy could become options if they have good form in the world cup, but I have big reservations about both in red ball cricket. Does Agnew's extreme left field option of Woakes opening come back into consideration?

As for the bowling, I think for the Ashes you can pencil in Anderson, Broad, Stokes and Ali, with the remaining bowling option based on conditions -Woakes or Curran for swing/seam, Wood, Archer or Stone if there's pace and bounce, and Leach if there is a spinner's track. Generally I'm happy with this lot, with quality options to choose from to suit most conditions.

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Post by VTR on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 6:10 pm

I think Bell actually has a chance of getting back in. Never thought I'd be saying that but there you go the options are terrible

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Post by Duty281 on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 7:03 pm

I wouldn’t mind Bell coming back either, to be honest. Reminds me of the desperate situation at the end of the 2009 Ashes series, when recalls for Tresco and Ramprakash were being considered. Thankfully, Trott came out of the gloom, rescued England and kept his spot for four years. How England could do with a similar emergence this summer. But, with nothing likely, Burns/Denly/Bell as a top three isn’t the worst option.

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Post by VTR on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 7:41 pm

Yeah I remember Ramps being up for a recall. We'd probably have lost 2-1 if that had happened. Would be nice if another Trott or three were out there!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Fri 15 Feb 2019, 2:57 pm

If Foakes cries to the media and makes a fuss, will he end up getting the gloves back for the summer? Seemed to work out ok for Jonny "I've averaged 34, 30 and 22 in 2017, 2018 and 2019" Bairstow.



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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 4:29 pm

Bayliss is not leaving to join Warwickshire after the ODIs and T20s. Farbrace however is.


Last edited by LondonTiger on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 6:29 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Made a booboo)

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Post by James100 on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 5:45 pm

LT - Isn't it Farbrace not Bayliss? Or is Bayliss going too?

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 6:27 pm

Oops

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 11:14 pm

Judging from Bayliss's comments, I don't think Bell is in line for a recall. He doesn't quite slam the door shut, but he's not exactly singing his praises.

I take Goose's point about Bairstow doing better than most at 3 (though being selective with stats Denly averages nearly 50 there Wink). I did state that Bairstow at 3 showed some promise. I would have been happy personally to see that experiment continue.

But there is something to be said for at least having some stability in those 4-8 positions. I take Olly's point about Bairstow's poor form, but like Moeen, he hasn't been helped by moving around (in Bairstow's case, between 5 and 7, in Moeen's case, just about everywhere). The selectors thinking now seems to be: let's stick to Root-Buttler-Stokes-Bairstow-Moeen as our middle-order, in that order, which leaves us "just" the top 3 to worry about.

Again, if you persist with Bairstow at 3 but he fails there for the first 2-3 Ashes test, and you feel you need a change there, then what do you do? Drop Bairstow? Push him back down the order and shuffle everything again?

I do agree that after constantly shifting things around for the last 2-3 years it shows somewhat muddled thinking mind. The one that was most bizarre to me was Stokes at 3 for a single innings, with nightwatchman Leach opening in the next dig which allowed Root to stay in his preferred spot at 4 (with Jennings at 3). That was just bizarre, with the only thought process being that Moeen there hadn't worked, and they hadn't tried Stokes there yet.

The other thing I'd say is that Buttler at 5 will now need to start converting his pretty 60s and 70s into centuries. You can afford to fail to convert from 7, but at 5 a conversion rate of 1 in 15 isn't really good enough.

The most frustrating thing for me is that the one big question mark at the start of the winter was England's top 3 (sure there were some quibbles about the make-up of the bowling line-up, but generally it was felt that they have good options there). Six tests later and we're really none the wiser. Burns did just about OK without setting the world alight, Jennings still can't play pace bowling, and at 3 we tried 5 different players with the current incument a guy with an average first class record in D2 who was only really picked in the squad for his ability to bowl some part-time leggies!

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 11:41 am

The Guardian(Observer) reporting Roy will open in the Ashes this summer.

While Rory Burns is expected to retain his place for the Ashes, Observer Sport understands Jennings, who averages 25.19 in 17 Tests, will be jettisoned, with Roy set to be given his chance for the one-off four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s in July that acts as a warm-up for the Ashes series that follows.

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Post by Gooseberry on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 12:51 pm

Doesn't amaze me ....but how many opportunities will he get to practise that role before the warm up and after that? It's quite an ask for him to develop into a legit test opener whilst playing IPL and a 50 over world cup. It also leaves you with two attacking batsmen as openers and an open question 3 ...presumably Denly continues?

A case of having run out of options rather than an ideal solution. Roy to me fits into the same bracket as Buttler, clearly very talented batsman but it's a big jump to translate his game into tests. Buttler managed that on third bite , but that's hiding down the order. To do it as an opener is even tougher.

I don't think it's a terrible unexpected idea. Nor do I hold out a great deal of hope that it'll pan out short or long term. But there just aren't any options standing out, even Burns who was head and shoulders the best English opener last season has struggled in tests.

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Post by VTR on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 4:45 pm

Surely Burns can't be classed as an attacking batsman? Doesn't seem like the worst idea anyway, even if he can score a fifty every now and then, he's doing better than Jennings ever would vs pace

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Post by JDizzle on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 5:28 pm

Roy, certainly in ODI's, is not a man who generally makes a scratchy 10 or 20 - or that is my perception anyway, without looking it up. He does tend to get out very early a lot, which isn't an ideal quality for a Test opener (particularly seems vulnerable to the ball coming back in - Starc and Hazlewood will be watching) but he can definitely play International quality bowling, and he hardly has much to live up to! So what is the worst that can happen.

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Post by VTR on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 6:35 pm

Well the worst that could happen is he's so bad that the selectors have to recall Jennings. Or Adam Lyth, who has experience of being utterly hopeless in a home Ashes series

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 11 Mar 2019, 6:02 pm

4.Root
5.Buttler
6.Stokes
7.Bairstow
8.Moeen

Bayliss seems heart set on that as his 'middle order'. Stability is good. The fact that only one of them averages more than 37 is not so good.

It would be a very timely summer for Nick Browne to get a couple of early centuries batting alongside Cook for Essex.

In that article the guys name checked are Roy, Foakes (without the gloves...) then the batsman that have been tried and thus far discarded in Duckett, Pope and Vince.

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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 11 Mar 2019, 11:31 pm

king_carlos wrote:4.Root
5.Buttler
6.Stokes
7.Bairstow
8.Moeen

Bayliss seems heart set on that as his 'middle order'. Stability is good. The fact that only one of them averages more than 37 is not so good.

It would be a very timely summer for Nick Browne to get a couple of early centuries batting alongside Cook for Essex.

In that article the guys name checked are Roy, Foakes (without the gloves...) then the batsman that have been tried and thus far discarded in Duckett, Pope and Vince
.

Hmmm. Foakes could just possibly claim a middle order spot for his batting. However, if he did, shouldn't he also have the gloves? Imo he's the best keeper we have.

Hmmm again. Burns and Stoneman are Surrey's first choice openers in the 4 day game. Roy was tried there about 6 years ago (in the dark days of Adams and Hamilton-Brown) but it didn't work out. He's undoubtedly a huge talent - I've been banging that drum since I first saw him almost a decade ago score 180 odd at Guildford in a county seconds match against Essex (for whom, incidentally, Foakes was keeping). However, imo again, he's far more suited in the longer game to a middle order spot where he's spared from facing a swinging new ball and having to tough out the opening hour and instead should have more freedom as to the way he plays. That probably means a place for Roy is dependent upon Buttler losing his place - it seems hard to fit them both in the middle order, at least in my team.

So what do we do up top? I think we (or at least the selectors until they choose to appoint me) need to acknowledge that Test cricket is bl**dy difficult and that opening the batting is the most difficult job of all there. You can't play someone out of position in that role and expect him to make a long term go of it. As others have said, Roy could have some initial success - he rarely hangs around quietly, so if he bats some time, he will get some runs - but I doubt it would be more than a short term fix. I would keep looking and hoping that a specialist from the county game will put himself forward in the opening weeks of the season. Perhaps Browne as Carlos indicates. As I've also said before, I wouldn't rule out a recall for Stoneman. However, and rightly so, they'll need to get the runs to put themselves in (or back in) the frame.

Typical Surrey bias on my part in flagging Foakes and Stoneman? Maybe, although I honestly feel I'm just highlighting the best contender in Foakes and a possible one in Stoneman. And tbf and in case goose goes overboard Wink , I did post concerns about both Burns and Sam Curran before England's winter tours.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 9:11 am

VTR wrote:Well the worst that could happen is he's so bad that the selectors have to recall Jennings. Or Adam Lyth, who has experience of being utterly hopeless in a home Ashes series

Paul Grayson has stated he will have done his job as Yorkshire batting coach properly if Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance get England recalls!!!!!

While Lyth had earned a go following good county form, I was very quick to suggest he would not have the skills to face a decent test attack. While England messed him about (ie taking him to thw WI as one of two openers but selecting Trott to open) the ton he got against NZ was put into sharp focus by the Aussies.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 9:14 am

I still feel Harry Brook is one to watch, but his performances in his first full season last year did not match the potential - and we have the issue of him amending his game to match limited overs and losing some of the solidity needed for tests.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 9:30 am

IIRC Roy did get a handfull of games at the top.of the order for Surrey at the end of last season and did pretty well? Stoneman had a pretty poor season especially when put against the context of other batsmen in the same games scoring huge amounts of runs. Given he's not been in the Lions or anything and because of his age won't be any more of a long term option than a makeshift opener I don't see him being a realistic contender for the summer unless he does something remarkable.
Burns though has shown that being a dominant force in county cricket is no indication of how well a player will transfer to test cricket ( also Moeens batting !).

Roy is far from a perfect option but since there isn't a good one and they've already scraped the barrel of D2 with Denly there's worse ideas than challenging a talented confident batsman to develop a wider game.

None of this sorts out the structural issues which have led to the drought of stackable batsmen and openers though.



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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 10:01 am

Geoffrey Boycott's mother with a stick of rhubarb may be the option?

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Post by king_carlos on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 2:02 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
king_carlos wrote:4.Root
5.Buttler
6.Stokes
7.Bairstow
8.Moeen

Bayliss seems heart set on that as his 'middle order'. Stability is good. The fact that only one of them averages more than 37 is not so good.

It would be a very timely summer for Nick Browne to get a couple of early centuries batting alongside Cook for Essex.

In that article the guys name checked are Roy, Foakes (without the gloves...) then the batsman that have been tried and thus far discarded in Duckett, Pope and Vince
.

Hmmm. Foakes could just possibly claim a middle order spot for his batting. However, if he did, shouldn't he also have the gloves? Imo he's the best keeper we have.

Hmmm again. Burns and Stoneman are Surrey's first choice openers in the 4 day game. Roy was tried there about 6 years ago (in the dark days of Adams and Hamilton-Brown) but it didn't work out.  He's undoubtedly a huge talent - I've been banging that drum since I first saw him almost a decade ago score 180 odd at Guildford in a county seconds match against Essex (for whom, incidentally, Foakes was keeping). However, imo again, he's far more suited in the longer game to a middle order spot where he's spared from facing a swinging new ball and having to tough out the opening hour and instead should have more freedom as to the way he plays. That probably means a place for Roy is dependent upon Buttler losing his place - it seems hard to fit them both in the middle order, at least in my team.

So what do we do up top? I think we (or at least the selectors until they choose to appoint me) need to acknowledge that Test cricket is bl**dy difficult and that opening the batting is the most difficult job of all there. You can't play someone out of position in that role and expect him to make a long term go of it. As others have said, Roy could have some initial success - he rarely hangs around quietly, so if he bats some time, he will get some runs - but I doubt it would be more than a short term fix. I would keep looking and hoping that a specialist from the county game will put himself forward in the opening weeks of the season. Perhaps Browne as Carlos indicates. As I've also said before, I wouldn't rule out a recall for Stoneman. However, and rightly so, they'll need to get the runs to put themselves in (or back in) the frame.

Typical Surrey bias on my part in flagging Foakes and Stoneman? Maybe, although I honestly feel I'm just highlighting the best contender in Foakes and a possible one in Stoneman. And tbf and in case goose goes overboard  Wink , I did post concerns about both Burns and Sam Curran before England's winter tours.

Hi guildford, hope you're well?

I still remember Roy making his one day debut in a televised 40 over game. The commentators were dumbstruck by it as he was down in the order to bat at 8, didn't get a bowl when Yorks batted first and then did indeed come in at 8 below Chris Schofield. The commentators were questioning whether Surrey were hoping that half the team would do the batting and bowling whilst the other half made up the numbers add up to 11! True village stuff and dark days indeed.

Surrey started the noughties playing some fairly innovative one day cricket. Hollioake at the helm, Ali Brown and James Benning opening the batting aggressively, Nayan Doshi bowling (for the time) unorthodox economical spin. The one day side became somewhat less inspiring for a time though.

Back to the thread. I like Stoneman, he's a player who makes the most of his kills, but he has the same tendency as Ballance to get stuck on the crease against pace and swing. That's not an inspiring thing to say when Starc and co will be opening up with good pace and likely some movement.

Lyth likes a flirt wide outside off stump. It's a flaw that provides a very easy tactic for test bowlers to exploit. 3 slips and a gully, hang it outside off and wait.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 5:38 pm

So when Lyth got found out and ditched who was there working with him to help him overcome the issue? Was there even a real incentive from anyone when he could remain a decent county pro and still get a regular pay packet without fixing his issues because county attacks are so mediocre and expectations so low?
Waiting for someone to come along and stick their hand up is fiddling after some has already burnt down. They've done this for years and ended up picking an endless list of guys who had one or two good seasons then discardng them. Some like Stoneman had long careers of being pretty average behind them. None have cut it at test level, even Burns to date he really did lay down such a marker he simply couldn't not be picked.

If it isn't clear by now that the county game in it's current form simply isn't capable of producing traditional test ready openers I don't know when it will be. The ECB and England need to be investing directly into nurturing top order bats, the same way they have genuine pace bowlers...a programme that's vaguely bearing some fruit now.

In the short term yeah there isn't a great deal of option other than to do that or just pick someone like Roy and try and reverse engineer him. I guess no one ever though Steve Smith would be the world's second best batsman.

But as discussed in that other thread it's not even in the counties interests to invest time and money in developing traditional test openers when the county champ is a sideshow financially and set up to encourage rubbish bowlers and attacking batting on result orientated pitches.

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Post by alfie on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 11:03 am

I haven't read the article but I saw that they seemed pretty keen on the notion of Roy as opener for the home Tests. Sort of ties in with suggestions recently that they wanted him trialled as a top three option.
Have to say I share guildford's reservations.
Certainly Roy has talent. Hits the ball as well as anyone in world cricket when he's on song...and the thought of what he might do to upset the Australian attack if he had one of his magic days is undeniably tempting... However : even in the white ball game his wonderful rapid centuries are often alternated with equally rapid early departures. Is the chance of one or two special innings worth the risk of a string of outs in the first couple of overs ? (I cannot think they'd want him to change his normal game plan). Seems like another Smith "hunch" - and while I appreciate there aren't a lot of options screaming out at present I can't help thinking it might be better to pick the specialist who is making runs in the summer (whether that be Browne , Stoneman , or whoever) than to attempt a wildcard - and presumably short term - fix. The middle order looks strong in any case so I don't think they need to panic in advance...

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Post by alfie on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 11:21 am

Also note guildford flagging the Foakes option as a middle order option (I presume as an alternative to Roy as a candidate to replace Buttler ? Not that that looks remotely likely at present : Jos has enjoyed an excellent year and even if we'd like more "big" scores shows signs of making a go of number five)
Not sure how Foakes could actually fit in there unless it actually is as keeper : and they are unlikely to reverse their decision to end the Bairstow at three experiment so he is really only a prospect if one or other of the JBs gets injured or totally loses form and favour. He certainly isn't replacing Root and can't cover the bowling tasks of Stokes and Moeen.
As I've said before I think Foakes is a bit unlucky to have been squeezed out so quickly after an excellent start : but I guess you could say he was a bit lucky to get in the team in the first place due to
an injury to the incumbent . It is unfortunately the way with wicket keepers : there is (normally !) only room for one at a time in the team so a really fine player can often have to wait for a chance (ask Bob Taylor)

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 12:00 pm

Could they be looking at Roy for three? At this stage, might as well play Foakes there on the basis of at least he isn’t mentally scarred by playing for England.

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 1:58 pm

alfie wrote:Also note guildford flagging the Foakes option as a middle order option (I presume as an alternative to Roy as a candidate to replace Buttler ? Not that that looks remotely likely at present : Jos has enjoyed an excellent year and even if we'd like more "big" scores shows signs of making a go of number five)
Not sure how Foakes could actually fit in there unless it actually is as keeper : and they are unlikely to reverse their decision to end the Bairstow at three experiment so he is really only a prospect if one or other of the JBs gets injured or totally loses form and favour. He certainly isn't replacing Root and can't cover the bowling tasks of Stokes and Moeen.
As I've said before I think Foakes is a bit unlucky to have been squeezed out so quickly after an excellent start : but I guess you could say he was a bit lucky to get in the team in the first place due to  
an injury to the incumbent . It is unfortunately the way with wicket keepers : there is (normally !) only room for one at a time in the team so a really fine player can often have to wait for a chance (ask Bob Taylor)

Hi Alfie - just to be clear, I was only responding in my post to comments attributed to Bayliss about the possibility of Foakes being picked solely as a batsman. My point really was that if that were to somehow happen (and, like you, I find it difficult to see how he could be fitted in the middle order), he should also have the gloves as imo he's the best keeper that England have available.

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 10:13 am

guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote:Also note guildford flagging the Foakes option as a middle order option (I presume as an alternative to Roy as a candidate to replace Buttler ? Not that that looks remotely likely at present : Jos has enjoyed an excellent year and even if we'd like more "big" scores shows signs of making a go of number five)
Not sure how Foakes could actually fit in there unless it actually is as keeper : and they are unlikely to reverse their decision to end the Bairstow at three experiment so he is really only a prospect if one or other of the JBs gets injured or totally loses form and favour. He certainly isn't replacing Root and can't cover the bowling tasks of Stokes and Moeen.
As I've said before I think Foakes is a bit unlucky to have been squeezed out so quickly after an excellent start : but I guess you could say he was a bit lucky to get in the team in the first place due to  
an injury to the incumbent . It is unfortunately the way with wicket keepers : there is (normally !) only room for one at a time in the team so a really fine player can often have to wait for a chance (ask Bob Taylor)

Hi Alfie - just to be clear, I was only responding in my post to comments attributed to Bayliss about the possibility of Foakes being picked solely as a batsman. My point really was that if that were to somehow happen (and, like you, I find it difficult to see how he could be fitted in the middle order), he should also have the gloves as imo he's the best keeper that England have available.


Absolutely Guilford, it would be insane to select Foakes and not have him keeping wicket.
There is (as there was previously) a way it could be done, although I doubt having abandoned it England will go back to it.
Bairstow did as well (better) as anyone has at 3. Hes also the second best batsman in the England side currently. Having him at 7 to bat along with the tail is only being done to relieve the pressure on him whilst he keeps wicket. Because of that England are picking Denly at 2/3 who is a mediocre D2 player who shows little evidence of ever being good enough for test level, and trying to do a Buttler with Roy but at the top of the order.
England have a huge issue in the lack of quality specialists through their team, but a real strength in having many very talented all rounders and batsmen keepers. There was a lot of finger pointing after the first WI game that they were let down makeshift batsmen out of position, but trying to pick a "proper" top 4 made no odds, just meant they had more poor cricketers in the side.
Theres a fair argument that Foakes is one of Englands most talented players. If you want them on the pitch then get him in the side and get rid of Denly/Jennings. I wouldnt read too much into his test scores so far, and yes he was batting with Surrey where everyone ( except Stoneman) made runs last season but he clearly has a head for test batting and is on a par with most of the current team and specialists contending for a spot. Hes also hands up and down the best keeping keeper England have available.
They could go with Burns Roy/Denly Bairstow Root Buttler Stokes Foakes as a top 7. Yes its got its issues but any more than the options that have any combination of Roy/Denly/Vince/Jennings/the first opener to hit a 50 in D2 this year/A tin of custard as the 2 and 3?
Again even with the muddled thinking and selections that England have shown over the Bayliss era I very much doubt it will happen given the way he was ditched previously. Im now more of the opinion that that decision was hasty, but it does also party depend on what Bairstow is comfortable doing too. Theres a risk of him becoming another Moeen with a lack of clarity and focus on his role.

Whatever England do with their top 3 its going to be wrong, I guess its more how wrong and what they can gain in the team elsewhere thats key. With Moeen not performing with the bat now the top 7 is increasingly under pressure to deliver. When only one of them averages above 40 thats a big problem.

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Post by alfie on Sat 16 Mar 2019, 5:06 am

Hey guildford and goose . ... I really don't disagree with you about the good points of Foakes : I would have persisted with the Bairstow at three option for a good deal longer (and I do wonder if the untimely injury to Foakes had a fair bit to do with it being hastily ditched) But having made that switch - back to YJB at seven - I think they are most unlikely to flip around again in the near future. In time , who knows ?
I didn't read the article which apparently quotes Bayliss . But if he was talking up Foakes as a pure batting option I suspect it is more an example of his tendency to make vaguely supportive statements about players on the fringe of the team/squad - presumably to encourage them ; a laudable aim - rather than a serious sign of their position in the queue. Unless Foakes is seen as a serious option at three I'd say he is injury cover at best ...though I guess in the hypothetical case of an injury to Jos that would raise the issue of whether to mess with the keeping job again Smile

Tricky year coming up for the selectors. They first need to get the ODI squad right for a WC they are almost expected to win ; and then have to put out an Ashes team to - hopefully - keep up the very good recent home record. That really will be a case of the right team for the day and never mind future planning so I suppose anything is possible : a punt on Roy , a recall for Bell ... and if whatever they do works they will receive praise and thanks. If it doesn't , however...

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Post by Gooseberry on Sat 16 Mar 2019, 12:13 pm

Very much in agreement Alfie. The irony of a recall for Bell given how much stick he got for most of his previous Ashes performances would be a real indictment on the current generation of batsmen. He carried the perception of being soft for most of his career after establishing himself scoring big against Bangladesh then getting murdered by the Aussie quicks in the next games.
(Remember the heady days of the real 606!)

In terms of expected to win that pressure is certainly there. They didnt have it this summer against India or in Sri Lanka, but did in the West Indies and fell apart when the opposition didnt roll over for them. Winning home Ashes series has become normal now, and this Aus side is far from the 2005 vintage. Theres an ambition for England to be in the top two sides in the world, not unreasonable when they are top in the short formats and baked by one of the best resourced boards. Beating average sides like Aus at home is a must for that.
Players individual reputations and careers will be on the line too. Broads place seems constantly under threat, Moeens should be, none of the top 3 (whoever they are!) are secure, Woakes has his injury issues and could be pressured by Curran, Wood will need to show he can sustain the pace he showed in the Windies and not get injured...and Jofra Archer exists.
The world cup could have an effect too. Win it and their could be a literal hangover to deal with (get someone to chaperone Stokes at the party!) and even more increased pressure and assumptions of superiority, fail to win it and players confidence could be shot and the need to make some amends by winning the ashes pushed up.
There will be much more pressure on England than Aus. The Australians are already hated by their own public and professional opinionated rent-a-gobs like Warne, losing the Ashes wont change much.

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Post by Jetty on Sun 17 Mar 2019, 2:21 am

Anderson Broad Wood Stokes Ali

Pick the 4 best fast bowlers and stick with them till injury or form dictates otherwise. We have gone for years with only one spinner in England but it will be do we play one or two spinners? No England cannot read pitches. They can spend hours looking at it. We saw what happened at Bridgetown picking two spinners and West Indies going with 4 quicks. Even in 2015 in WI we only played 1 spinner.

No one knows what the pitch is going to do until AFTER the toss. What if we lose the toss, what if the weather changes. Will the ball swing, bounce, keep low, spin?

Last summer
Anderson 7 Tests 18.39
Broad 7 Tests 26.73
Stokes 5 Tests 28.29
Ali 2 Tests 21.00

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Post by Gooseberry on Sun 17 Mar 2019, 8:27 am

Those stats are a bit misleading Jetty.

Wood who you describe as one of the best 4 bowlers averaged over 40 last summer and got dropped.
Woakes and Curran don't get a mention but averaged 19 and 23 respectively last summer. In that context Broad and Stokes figures are nothing special.
Now I wouldn't argue that stokes doesn't have other attributes that walk him into the first 11, but he isn't one of the best 4 bowlers at home. Nor Wood, even with his new found pace. Even Broads claim in difficult to sustain as a must pick, whereas Woakes has produced brilliantly with bat and ball for the last two summer's and Curran did too last year.
Moeen had an excellent return with the ball and has been as effective at home as any England spinner in a long time, but good is maybe pushing it all the same. Without going all Nathaniel it's worth remembering he in no way justifies a place as an all rounder anymore, his batting has been awful for long time in all formats.
The general principle of the balance is right, Stokes and at least two seamers and one spinner will play regardless (police and injury aside). It would be a big surprise if that spinner isnt Moeen for the start of the ashes.
Where I'm differing is which bowlers are secure. To my mind it's only Anderson and Stokes, and Woakes at home who are secure.
But that there's a hatfull of seamers who could also make a case does show why 4 seamers 1 spinner should be England's default position. Bess struggled and Rashid was decent, but it was only Moeen who delivered on a par with the seamers last summer. Its also increasingly hard to balance a side for England with two spinners now Mooens batting has gone South. Leach would be then other option but is a genuine tail ended, and with the problematic top 6 the number 8 9 spots matter more than they should to England.
They have though had success with two spinners at home, and had success with 3 in Sri Lanka. The west Indies series was just a car crash of poor decisions and play, but I don't think that will change their desire to not limit themselves to a 4 1 split. Aus are going to be far more comfortable against Woods pace (snigger) than they are Rashid or Leach on a slow turner. England should be better placed to make those calls at home, and certainly won't be expecting groundstaff to supply Cummins and starc with conditions that suit them in the way that Holder and co got.
But yes 3 2 should be no more than an option, and 4 2 isn't really plausible unless Moeen remembers how to bat.


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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 17 Mar 2019, 8:55 am

It feels to me like they'd be mad to drop Broad at home for this Ashes.

1 (Whoever)
2 (Turns)
3 (Up)
Root
Buttler
Stokes
Bairstow
Ali
9 (Woakes)
Broad
Anderson

Woakes at home seems a real obvious pick in there, though Curran offers a little variation and is another who is gonna move the ball in English conditions.

Wood feels like an option on the right ground, the right conditions, although the fact he isn't just another one moving the ball at a less than scary pace means he could be valuable. There doesn't seem to be anyone else screaming out for selection, there seems no likelihood of a late wildcard pick in the bowling in the form of an Archer or likewise.

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon 18 Mar 2019, 2:38 pm

It could be a case of Broad or Wood with the new ball in mind.
England have made no secret that they wanted to give others the opportunity with the new ball, and Wood was one of those bowlers. Broad has found himself the odd man for most of the winter and there had been talk of him not gong at all. Although hes had some good spells I just dont see that hes done enough to guarantee himself of a starting spot for the whole of the Ashes even if he generally has performed better at home. He was only Englands 4th best seamer last summer despite largely getting the new ball and his last really great home season was 2015 ...OK he did win England the Ashes then but I guess my point is England have been trying to look beyond him and Anderson and certainly havent been afraid to drop Broad even a medicore bowler like Curran.

It would be mad not to consider dropping him IMO. Ive been a long term Broad fan and defender, but i do see that hes nearing the end of the line despite still having the hunger. Its not like Im desperately sold on Wood ( or Curran or Archer or a tin of custard) but to close the door on other options would seem more foolish to me than blindly backing an old horse regardless of how hard Warner flogs him. Although it would be absolutely typical of Englands stop start muddle headed approach to selection and development.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 19 Mar 2019, 10:03 am

Bells going to miss the first half of the season through injury which finally nails any small hope he had of a recall.
Could even signal the end of his career.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 19 Mar 2019, 1:14 pm

Why's half of the internet getting worked up because they want to put names and numbers on the back of kits for test matches now? Genuinely can't see any negative apart from "well in 1921 they didn't so why should we now" which isn't an argument
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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Tue 19 Mar 2019, 2:18 pm

Things we did in and around the wars are very in right now when it comes to arguments

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 19 Mar 2019, 3:14 pm

I'm still not a fan of one day pyjamas even if it is a day night match

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 21 Mar 2019, 10:09 am

One to keep an eye for in the future, Will Jacks, has just hit a 25 ball hundred for Surrey against Lancashire in their T10 warm up game in Dubai today. Included six sixes in an over against Stephen Parry...believe he is a former England U19 international and he is VERY highly rated at Surrey
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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 21 Mar 2019, 11:21 am

Another one to keep an eye on ... youngish South African chap who's moved over and just stated a desire to qualify and play tests for England. Oliver Dwayne or something? Anyone know if hes any good? Whistle

TBH Im really not comfortable with that, but had he been available this summer I think he'd be an excellent addition form a playing standpoint to the squad. Archers one thing, but a guy who was already getting capped and moved solely for a more stable income and has zero real ties to the UK as a Kolpak and turned down a central contract with his home board...hmm.
Its nearly as bad as someone leaving Yorkshire to captain Lancashire.

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Post by Jetty on Fri 22 Mar 2019, 3:20 am

Gooseberry wrote:It could be a case of Broad or Wood with the new ball in mind.
England have made no secret that they wanted to give others the opportunity with the new ball, and Wood was one of those bowlers. Broad has found himself the odd man for most of the winter and there had been talk of him not gong at all. Although hes had some good spells I just dont see that hes done enough to guarantee himself of a starting spot for the whole of the Ashes even if he generally has performed better at home. He was only Englands 4th best seamer last summer despite largely getting the new ball and his last really great home season was 2015 ...OK he did win England the Ashes then but I guess my point is England have been trying to look beyond him and Anderson and certainly havent been afraid to drop Broad even a medicore bowler like Curran.

It would be mad not to consider dropping him IMO. Ive been a long term Broad fan and defender, but i do see that hes nearing the end of the line despite still having the hunger. Its not like Im desperately sold on Wood ( or Curran or Archer or a tin of custard) but to close the door on other options would seem more foolish to me than blindly backing an old horse regardless of how hard Warner flogs him. Although it would be absolutely typical of Englands stop start muddle headed approach to selection and development.

Broad loves bowling to Australia. 15 Tests in England (61 wickets 26.01 econ 3.28 s/r 47.5 5/1) I would say he is our best bowler against Australia.
If we need a 2nd spinner we should use Root v Aus in England 7 wickets at 24.14 econ 3.79 s/r 38.1.

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 22 Mar 2019, 8:19 am

Jetty wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:It could be a case of Broad or Wood with the new ball in mind.
England have made no secret that they wanted to give others the opportunity with the new ball, and Wood was one of those bowlers. Broad has found himself the odd man for most of the winter and there had been talk of him not gong at all. Although hes had some good spells I just dont see that hes done enough to guarantee himself of a starting spot for the whole of the Ashes even if he generally has performed better at home. He was only Englands 4th best seamer last summer despite largely getting the new ball and his last really great home season was 2015 ...OK he did win England the Ashes then but I guess my point is England have been trying to look beyond him and Anderson and certainly havent been afraid to drop Broad even a medicore bowler like Curran.

It would be mad not to consider dropping him IMO. Ive been a long term Broad fan and defender, but i do see that hes nearing the end of the line despite still having the hunger. Its not like Im desperately sold on Wood ( or Curran or Archer or a tin of custard) but to close the door on other options would seem more foolish to me than blindly backing an old horse regardless of how hard Warner flogs him. Although it would be absolutely typical of Englands stop start muddle headed approach to selection and development.

Broad loves bowling to Australia. 15 Tests in England (61 wickets 26.01 econ 3.28 s/r 47.5 5/1) I would say he is our best bowler against Australia.
If we need a 2nd spinner we should use  Root v Aus in England 7 wickets at 24.14 econ 3.79 s/r 38.1.


Kinda hard to make a fair comparison when Woakes and Curran have played one game at home vs Aus between them, but an average of 26 at home is good but not spectacularly so. I had acknowledged though that he put in an individual match winning performance in the last Ashes, and looking back has reminded me he also did that in the previous home series. He certainly has had a knack of doing that, and not just against Aus...there was the famous complete turn around of the India series in the last innings a few years ago as another example. When hes on Broad is absolutely devastating, I wouldnt argue that ...but he hasnt bought that often enough or consistency in recent times to absolutely demand selection anymore. Theres plenty of evidence that the younger bowlers could do this at home too, especially if given the new ball as Broad has done in most of the home Ashes games hes played. Itll be 4 years since he last played at home to Aus, so how relevant are those figures compared to the last couple of summers where Woakes has ruined everyones lives? And not just with the ball but the bat too.
Stokes delivered a Broadesque innings performance to turn a match and arguably save his England career in 2015 too, hes another who seems to have a habit of punctuating inefectiveness with match winning performances.
I dont doubt thought that hes one name that the Aus batsmen would be glad to see not on the teamsheet, and as above Im far from a position of demanding hes dropped. I just dont think hes undropable, and England have other bowlers capable of doing what he does at home.

Its also worth noting that if we take home Ashes figures as the main selection criteria then Andersons place would be under question. He was awful in 2015. I dont think anyone would make that argument though and hes the one name who'd be on everyones teamsheet. England have made it clear they are willing to drop Broad though, by err dropping him. It will be on the table for this summer, doesnt mean it will happene but it could.

I do agree that for regular games Root is a good option as a control spinner and arguably has been underutilised by England, but the very stats you quote regarding his effectiveness do kinda suggest that small samples can be very misleading regarding a bowlers true value and ability. Hes never going to be a 15+ over bowler, and England wouldn't want that pressure on him. If they do get a real spinner pitch then Leech or Rashid should be in the team, and Broad would be amongst those considered for replacement partly because of the effect it would have on the batting depth. I wouldnt want to see the dogmatic "must have two spinners" that led to Dawson being in the team , especially whilst Moeens batting remains that of a 10/11 but ruling it out under any circumstances and expecting Root to bail out Moeen if he flakes again is equally unwise.


In other news I spotted the "Cook still hasnt ruled out playing for England again if they ask" story resurfacing. Seems a strecth, and Sky are likely t offer him more cash than England could. he has enough humility and pride not to do it if he didnt feel he could play to his old standards, but bearing in mind Collingwood got an MBE for riding a bus if he did come back and do well it might be the to become Lord Alistair.

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Post by VTR on Sat 23 Mar 2019, 12:48 pm

I'm never into the argument that such and such has a good record vs a country. Things move on in sport quickly. I remember India wheeling out RP Singh vs England in 2011 as he'd done well in 2007. He looked like he'd spent four years on an all inclusive holiday. I think Broad starts The Ashes just about due to form not anything else, but is vulnerable to being dropped

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Post by guildfordbat on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 8:18 am

A score of 251 for Ollie Pope in Surrey's match against a MCC side led by Stuart Broad in Dubai. That should keep the selectors interested.

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