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Ashes 2021/22 and other cricket through the winter of 2021 thread

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 14 Oct 2021, 9:46 am

First topic message reminder :

Thought I'd start a new thread for the winter cricket of 2021 that we (covid depending) have ahead of us. Obviously the World T20, but that has it's own thread...

The main event being the Ashes, with the dates below

Men's Ashes schedule
First Test: 8-12 December - Gabba, Brisbane (00:00 GMT)
Second Test: 16-20 December - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (d/n - 04:00 GMT)
Third Test: 26-30 December - MCG, Melbourne (23:30 GMT, 25 December)
Fourth Test: 5-9 January - SCG, Sydney (23:30 GMT, 4 January)
Fifth Test: 14-18 January - Optus Stadium, Perth (02:30 GMT) (subject to change)

Women's Ashes schedule
Test: 27-30 January - Manuka Oval, Canberra (23:00 GMT, 26 January)
First T20: 4 February - North Sydney Oval, Sydney (08:10 GMT)
Second T20: 6 February - North Sydney Oval, Sydney (08:10 GMT)
Third T20: 10 February - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (08:10 GMT)
First ODl: 13 February - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (23:05 GMT, 12 February)
Second ODl: 16 February - Junction Oval, Melbourne (23:05 GMT, 15 February)
Third ODI: 19 February - Junction Oval, Melbourne (23:05 GMT, 18 February)

India have a busy winter, with New Zealand touring in November/December and then India head to South Africa for the boxing day test/January.
There's an interesting test series between Bangladesh and Pakistan in Bangladesh in Nov/Dec, which should be an entertaining watch. Unfortunately I don't see much cricket on the schedule for Pakistan/Sri Lanka (unless I am missing something!)
A few others on the future tours programme, but not confirmed yet as far as I see...
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Post by Duty281 Mon 20 Dec 2021, 8:10 pm

KP_fan wrote:
Duty wrote:how he did in one test in Chennai is a pointless analysis, especially as he just battered some runs towards the end when the game was already over as a contest (he scored 6 in the first innings when making a score actually mattered).

1.The maligners were maligning him on every day of that test too when each day he was emerging Eng's best

2. The concept of Dead runs doesn't apply to Ollypope and many others I see...but only to M. Ali and now to Butler also I am beginning to see

Ollie Pope hasn't scored runs, dead or otherwise.

Look - Moeen took 8/226 in that Chennai test on a very spinning track. Four of those wickets were tailenders, two were Rahane (currently not much better than a tailender). He scored six in the first innings, then came to the crease at 116/7 with England chasing 482. He duly smashed some cheap runs because why not. It was a decent performance, but it's hardly worthy of great accolade.

He then played terribly in the summer on less spin-friendly wickets.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 20 Dec 2021, 11:36 pm

Jesus. I thought Chappelli had lost it when he suggested picking Mason Crane as a bowling all-rounder then KP_f comes out with a Scott Borthwick suggestion.

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Post by alfie Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:09 am

Heavens ! I thought the Maligned Ali issue had been put to bed with his retirement from Tests...

I actually agree with the Moeen fan club that at his best he was clearly England's best spinner post-Swann. Also a very useful allrounder and well worth his spot. But even his supporters acknowledge his form fell away over recent years : batting regressed ; effective bowling performances became less common.
I do think he was at times poorly treated by the selectors. Because of the failings of the top order and some "odd" batting selections he got shuffled around more than was ideal. But at the end of the day I think the biggest issue was that he lost confidence , particularly against Australia ; and this meant he could no longer be relied upon to fill either the front line spinner or all rounder role.
The recall in India turned out to be a bit of bad timing. I agree with Duty his figures in that Chennai match flattered him : junk time wickets didn't compensate for lack of control in the important earlier stages ; but he wasn't total rubbish either and it was a pity his return to the UK had already been set in stone. (I also think picking him for what was known to be a one off match was just plain daft but that's another story !)
The home series , I think , showed both Moeen and the watchers that his time was just about up. He chose to make it official with the same dignity that marked his career as a whole. Better timing than the management usually achieves...

Can we not leave it there ? And wish him success with the white ball where he has chosen to concentrate his efforts.

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Post by dummy_half Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:51 am

The discussions of the team changes just show how bare the cupboard is - when the squad was named, how many players other than Foakes could feel hard done by through being left out? OK, injuries have undermined the pace bowling group, as Archer and Stone would have been int he squad and given more genuine pace options, but top order batsmen and spin bowlers of Test quality are just in short supply.

I would be tempted to pick Bess for the next test, as:
1 - We need a spinner, and Leach struggled in the first test
2 - Woakes really doesn't achieve anything as a bowler in Australian conditions (would still be about 4th name on the team sheet for a home test though), and we need a bowler who can bat a bit at 8.

Stokes, Robinson, Wood and one of Broad or Jimmy depending on conditions make up the seam bowling.

I reckon we won't have a change of opening bat - Hameed has looked in OK touch during his time at the crease, but has been out to a couple of good balls, a leg side strangle and a weird clip to mid on - the impression is that a score may not be that far away for him. Burns looks very shaky though, but probably saved his place for now with his second innings the other day (and given the problem of who you replace him with).

Pope is the other almost certain change. Very good CC batsman, but really hasn't made the step up, and his dismissal yesterday was quite ugly, especially in the context of batting to save the test.

Buttler will get another chance, but he really needs to sharpen up his keeping basics - has taken a couple of blinders but dropped 3 or 4 much easier chances.

Oh, and generally we just need to do everything a bit better - fielding and catching has been below par. Difficult enough to win in Australia with a side as weak as we have, but moreso if you are effectively giving them 14 or 15 wickets each innings.

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Post by Afro Tue 21 Dec 2021, 11:00 am

One left field option would be George Garton.

He is already out there so wouldn't need to isolate, and would bring a bit of variety instead of repeated right arm fast-medium
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Post by msp83 Tue 21 Dec 2021, 11:08 am

Duty281 wrote:
msp83 wrote:
Duty281 wrote:
KP_fan wrote:
Duty281 wrote:
KP_fan wrote:
Duty wrote: I enjoy reading KP_fan's lunatic ideas - I still remember with great fondness the time he said Cook should be recalled for the 2019 ODI World Cup - but Livingstone is never, ever the answer. And neither is Moeen.

KPF's ideas worry some people, cause often times Eng team managements and selectors with greater wisdom replicate those ideas Ashes 2021/22 and other cricket through the winter of 2021 thread - Page 20 1f608


That's true, like your idea for Moeen's selection v India in the summer was replicated by the England management, and the selection turned out to be the disaster most of us thought it would be.

Ali is maligned even in retirement
I see though the reason though.....he is a ghost who refuses  to die & there is a 10% chance (fear) he might be recalled out of retirement in the interest of English cricket Smile

Pointing out that Moeen averaged 50 with the ball* and 17 with the bat in three tests v India isn't maligning them, it's just a fair criticism. No chance that Moeen returns to the test setup.

*I suppose that's better than the 115 he averaged with the ball during the last series he played in Australia, mind.

Moeen's not coming back to test cricket, he's done in this format. But Leach and Bess, seemingly the best available spinners for England currently, are on a continuous mission to prove how good a bowler Moeen was... And he really was miles better than the 2.
At this point, think England's best spin option is Joe Root. But how long can he sustain the kind of bowling load that he took on in this test? With him being the only world class batter in the side, with him now into his 30s, can Root now turn himself into a batting all-rounder delivering 15-20 overs per innings on a regular basis? They have to get Lawrence in, He, Pope, Bairstow, there is not much difference in them as batters, they all would be capable of playing a fine test innings now and then with a lot of inconsistency in between, but Lawrence can at least bowl some parttime spin. Only with the point of saving Root, they have to play Lawrence, or Livingston later on...
Any chance Adil Rashid can be talked into yet another  test return?
Scott Borthwick is still playing First Class cricket isn't he?

No, Leach and Bess are better spinners than Moeen, by quite a bit. Bess is still improving and the best days are yet to come, Leach had a decent return in the sub-continent last winter but has been hindered by the selectors as to future development.

I like Moeen, but his test ability has been vastly inflated by some. He had a few good series with the ball in his career (notably v South Africa in 2017), but he ended up with a test bowling average of near 37 for a reason.
If he's unselectable in most conditions and un-bowlable in first innings of test matches, Leach's average would remain pretty decent so long as he wuld be most employed as a sub-continent/Right-handers/Second innings specialist. Moeen surely has a proven record of a more rounded contribution, nd the package he offered made him selectable unlike Leach.
Would Dom Bess make it to any of the other 11 test sides even as a 2nd spinner at this stage of his career? Sure even Ireland and Zimbabwe will debate hard before picking him if they do that is.
But as I said, Moeen's gone, he was one of England's better spinners in the modern era. Not in the Swann league, but way better than he's often given credit for.
The question now is, would Parkinson be a better call? Anyone else in the mix? Any decent enough batting all-rounders who can average 30 with the bat and bowl 15-20 overs per innings on a regular basis even if he wouldn't be running through sides? Or do they give Leach a proper, good run across conditions, back him fully, as he does seem the better of the 2 spinners, with the ball. Or can Bess, who it was mentioned, had started batting up the order for his county, can turn himself into a decent lower order bat who can average 25 at 7?

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Post by dummy_half Tue 21 Dec 2021, 12:39 pm

msp

I don't think many here really play down what a good cricketer Moeen was for England for a few years around 2015. He was a more than handy wicket taking spinner and capable batsman (actually more talented with the bat, but rarely fulfilled his potential there) - as a bowler the issue was that he didn't offer the control / economy that a real top class spinner (Swann, Lyon, Ashwin) does when conditions aren't helping. His form did drop away, and almost everyone acknowledges that the England selectors messed him around. Would I take prime Moeen over either Leach or Bess? Absolutely. Have we seen prime Moeen for the last 2 or 3 years? Not more than in occasional flashes.

As for Leach v Bess, I'd say Leach is currently marginally the better bowler, Bess the better all round cricketer, and that Bess may be better suited as a bowler to playing against this Australian batting line-up with a number of left handers. Also, Bess is still reasonably young (24) and so should still have scope for improvement, while Leach is 30 and so should be pretty much in his prime. Not saying either is really good enough to be England's first choice spinner in Test cricket, but it's not as though there are obviously better alternatives in the County game - Moeen's retired, Rashid has a chronic shoulder issue that limits him to limited overs games, Simon Harmer is too South African, and the likes of Matt Parkinson have potential but are not proven (and England's record with wrist spinners in the Test team is far from good).

The only think that counts against Bess is that Root is a reasonable off spin bowler himself, so both spin options would be similar.

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Post by JDizzle Tue 21 Dec 2021, 1:15 pm

I’ve seen both Will MacPherson and Vitu E report that it is likely to be Crawley and Bairstow in for Hameed and Pope. Bowling seems like it is more up the air, but we will see Leach and Wood.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 21 Dec 2021, 1:26 pm

Some good posts (and not so good posts) to catch up on...

I tend to agree with your post earlier Dummy_Half, I think they stand put with Hameed/Burns for one more test, if only mainly because I'm not sure there is really much to choose between dropping either at the moment, so maybe one more test will help decide who to chop Laugh

Pope clearly needs to be taken out of the firing line. His brain is scrambled, he's all over the shop at the crease and Lyon has him on the ropes.
Think it would be best for the team this series, and Pope himself (and any future prospects) for a little break away from the spotlight...maybe look to return in the West Indies series later in the winter.
Lawrence I think should come in...he's hardly pulled up any trees in his short test career so far, but he has shown some flashes that he has test level potential. Good debut in Sri Lanka, good final test (in context) in India, and a solid 81* against New Zealand in the summer. I'd much rather see what he has for the final three test matches than Bairstow personally (note I think they would go Bairstow > Lawrence)
Also if you did want to go with an all seam attack again, he could supplement Root with some occasional spin.

I know he's scored a few handy runs at 8 so far, but I don't think we can have Woakes as part of the bowling attack for the next game. He's 5th choice of the seamers in the current squad, and for me his batting just doesn't make up for how ineffective he is with the ball in these conditions.
Yes leaves us with a less than ideal tail...but if the top 7 doesn't make runs, the odd 30/40 from number 8 isn't making much difference.

Think I would assess conditions (better than they have done so far!) on the call re: to play a spinner. If they do play a spinner, I think it has to be Leach.
I see some calls for Bess, but I note Dummy's point re: Root and Bess being similar - to be honest, I would argue Root is the better spin bowler at the moment! Bess was going at over 4 runs per over in the Lions game...not sure he would offer much to the side beyond a bit of batting at 8 and good fielding.

I would also keep an eye on Robinson's fitness...he's bowled well this tour, but even before his off spin exploits he was seriously flagging in the heat and was reaching Collingwood levels of pace and pulled up with cramp in the 1st test too. I wonder if he's not 100%
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Tue 21 Dec 2021, 2:02 pm

JDizzle wrote:I’ve seen both Will MacPherson and Vitu E report that it is likely to be Crawley and Bairstow in for Hameed and Pope. Bowling seems like it is more up the air, but we will see Leach and Wood.

Makes sense. Burns has been far better than Hameed and Bairstow has been banging the door down for years now with his red ball form.

Silverwood should be PM once he's done reclaiming the Ashes.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by dummy_half Tue 21 Dec 2021, 2:34 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
JDizzle wrote:I’ve seen both Will MacPherson and Vitu E report that it is likely to be Crawley and Bairstow in for Hameed and Pope. Bowling seems like it is more up the air, but we will see Leach and Wood.

Makes sense. Burns has been far better than Hameed and Bairstow has been banging the door down for years now with his red ball form.

Silverwood should be PM once he's done reclaiming the Ashes.

Took me a moment to realise that you were perhaps not being entirely serious...

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Post by Afro Tue 21 Dec 2021, 2:35 pm

Roll forward 12 months and Pope will be knocking the door down to replace an underperforming Bairstow.

Pick your man, stick with him, work with him, coach him and try and develop him, rather than dropping him in and out of the side so he can't build any useful form of experience
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Tue 21 Dec 2021, 2:42 pm

Afro wrote:Roll forward 12 months and Pope will be knocking the door down to replace an underperforming Bairstow.

Pick your man, stick with him, work with him, coach him and try and develop him, rather than dropping him in and out of the side so he can't build any useful form of experience

And if you really think he needs to be taken out, replace him with Lawrence rather than going back to Bairstow who has been exposed over and over again in recent years. One of England's finest ever white ball players but has shown nothing to deserve another recall. If Pope is out, then bring Lawrence in. He can't do much worse than JB and arguably has a higher ceiling. Bairstow is a retrograde step but sadly symbolic of the muddled thinking in recent years. The framework for creating good red ball players for England isn't there at the moment but don't compound it by repeating failed experiments over and over again. At least try to evolve the team.

Lawrence isn't exactly the next Ricky Ponting but Bairstow is not the answer.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by JuliusHMarx Tue 21 Dec 2021, 3:36 pm

Dropping Pope would be a cardinal sin.

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Post by Afro Tue 21 Dec 2021, 3:57 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:Dropping Pope would be a cardinal sin.
drumroll
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Post by dummy_half Tue 21 Dec 2021, 4:11 pm

Bairstow is one of the best white ball players in the world, but in the last 3 or 4 years his red ball technique has been found out, with a flaw against balls that are pitched up and move back in to him. Oddly, with the white ball he'd just hit these deliveries over mid wicket, but in Tests he tries to play properly and misses them to be bowled through the gate or LBW. This is not going to change in the next month. No point bringing him back in for Pope (a slightly different argument if the choice is between Bairstow and Buttler for keeper/batsman).

Similar arguments apply to not going back to James Vince (in Aus playing BBL)- has had several opportunities and there's a reason his Test average is just under 25 (that he gets that many and nicks one to 2nd slip...). Now, whether Lawrence will do any better than Pope is an unknown, but at the moment Pope just looks shot - there may still be time for him to come back and establish himself as the excellent Test batsman we hope he can be, but currently he looks like the new version of Ramprakash - a fine player at County level but who struggles with the step up in quality to Tests.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 21 Dec 2021, 6:17 pm



The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that fast bowler Jofra Archer underwent a second operation on his injured right elbow on Saturday 11 December in London. The procedure addressed the long-standing stress fracture of his right elbow.

A return to cricket will be determined in time, but Jofra will will not be available for any of England's remaining Winter series.


Wasn’t the point of the first surgery to address the elbow injury?
What a shambles the management of this injury has been by the ECB medical team
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Post by GSC Tue 21 Dec 2021, 6:30 pm

Beginning to think Jofra might not be playing many more tests
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Post by JDizzle Tue 21 Dec 2021, 6:54 pm

Just pick the best team to win you the next Test. Lawrence averages 28 in Test cricket and 38 in FC cricket, albeit there is a Chelmsford tax. Hardly numbers that press for inclusion.

Bairstow averages 49.99 for comparison - just in County Cricket, so another one who has never turned that dominance into consistent red ball results.

End of the day, it doesn't really matter. We will lose anyway! I think Bairstow would probably score more runs in the last three games than Lawrence so I would pick him. Do I think it would be a long term thing? Not at this point, no, but just try picking your best team for one game this series England - and see how it goes!

Australia isn't a really place to think about developing players either. How many guys have we done that too over the past few years and it has broken them? Both younger players and experienced players have been finished off in Australia. Throw Lawrence in when he isn't ready and you might break him completely.

The one plus to Lawrence is he did make a hundred vs Australia A when the Lions were out there in 19/20. Although so did Dom Sibley, so great planning for the next Ashes tour lads - the two lads who tonned up aren't playing in the Test team. Interestingly James Bracey made 65 in that game to go with his hundred on this tour, and he also sunning it up in Costa del Gloucester currently. Great joined up thinking from the ECB.

Instead we've got a situation where we've recalled Hameed too early and are now going to drop him again. It beggars belief.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 21 Dec 2021, 7:05 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:


The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that fast bowler Jofra Archer underwent a second operation on his injured right elbow on Saturday 11 December in London. The procedure addressed the long-standing stress fracture of his right elbow.

A return to cricket will be determined in time, but Jofra will will not be available for any of England's remaining Winter series.


Wasn’t the point of the first surgery to address the elbow injury?
What a shambles the management of this injury has been by the ECB medical team

And his dog died while he was back in England having said surgery - poor bloke can’t catch a break Sad
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Tue 21 Dec 2021, 8:30 pm

JDizzle wrote:
End of the day, it doesn't really matter. We will lose anyway! I think Bairstow would probably score more runs in the last three games than Lawrence so I would pick him. Do I think it would be a long term thing? Not at this point, no, but just try picking your best team for one game this series England - and see how it goes

FC averages are almost a waste of time as a reference point. Someone the other day (Duty maybe?) put out a brilliant post about the lack of decent averages in English cricket over the last couple of generations. Pope was averaging well in CC but is struggling internationally.

If we going to lose anyway, which I would agree with, why an earth bother with Bairstow again. It doesn't work. He doesn't work in test match cricket. It has been shown relentlessly over how many recalls.

Just makes little sense to me to keep trying the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

Maybe it will break Lawrence if he gets some low scores, but just maybe it won't. Maybe he will do a Stokes at Perth, score some runs and it's the start of a fine career.

If Jonny Bairstow is the answer, then the question most be a shocker.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by Pal Joey Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:11 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:
Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:


The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that fast bowler Jofra Archer underwent a second operation on his injured right elbow on Saturday 11 December in London. The procedure addressed the long-standing stress fracture of his right elbow.

A return to cricket will be determined in time, but Jofra will will not be available for any of England's remaining Winter series.


Wasn’t the point of the first surgery to address the elbow injury?
What a shambles the management of this injury has been by the ECB medical team

And his dog died while he was back in England having said surgery - poor bloke can’t catch a break Sad

Sad news for Jofra but pretty sure that wouldn't have been the answer for England.

What did his dog average with the ball in FC cricket? Park figures don't really count.
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Post by Duty281 Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:23 pm

Dropping Hameed would be an atrocious call and it could destroy his fledgling career. His career hit such a low at one point that it looked as though he would fall out of professional cricket altogether - or worse, be signed by Leicestershire. But he built himself back up, scored runs, forced his way back into England selection, and got two half-centuries v India. But he's facing the axe. Why on earth? He needs time, trust and care to fulfil his potential, not be thrown onto the scrapheap again just because he's had a rough start in Australia. It's amazing - Buttler and Bairstow get more chances than a game of Monopoly, despite the fact they're both hopeless, but someone who has a little promise is facing swift exile. Makes even less sense when it's Crawley coming in.

If any opener has to go it's Burns, who has never looked remotely like a test player and is actually regressing rather than improving.

I do understand Pope being dropped, even if I do remain optimistic of his overall potential. Pope's confidence looks completely shot, like Crawley before he was dropped, and he's a walking wicket at the moment, especially v Lyon. But why bring Bairstow in? Relentless short-termism is an endemic pollution which haunts this England team. Lawrence may have a bit of a future, I'm less optimistic on that score, which Bairstow certainly doesn't, and Lawrence has scored three test fifties to Bairstow's one in 2021. But, of course, Bairstow is Root's mate.

Wood and Leach coming in is fair game and expected. Leach must be backed as England's spinner and played constantly. If England keep hiding him he'll never improve. Give him a chance.

Very unfortunate news about Jofra. I've given up hope on him ever returning to tests. I wonder what state he'll be in after this second surgery. A real shame for one of the nicest cricketers around.

I see Australia have called up Boland to their squad. Don't know much about him, he's played a handful of ODIs and has very impressive Sheffield Shield statistics over the past two seasons (15 wickets @ 10 this season), though he didn't do much damage to the Lions recently. Starc is apparently nursing an injury and Neser is unlikely to retain his place.

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Post by JDizzle Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:39 pm

FC averages aren't the be all and end all for sure. But there is a certain logic that if a bloke only averages 38 in FC cricket, why would we expect him to average mid 40s in Test cricket where the bowling is better? Obviously there are caveats to these things - playing on poor pitches in your FC career, a young player on an upward trajectory etc. of which some of them do apply to Lawrence.

Trescothick and Vaughan are the two shining examples that get held up of players being picked on potential. But after the first 15 Tests of their career, Tres averaged 37 with 2 hundreds and Vaughan 31 with 1 hundred. So they didn't come in and immediately set the world on fire - they basically performed to their FC record. By picking Lawrence now that's probably about the absolute best you could expect over the next 12 months or so.

Playing Test cricket early helped their later career, which is the argument for Lawrence now. But it is a trade off between that, thinking DL could genuinely turn into a guy who averages 40+ in Tests, and trying to win the series and picking who will perform best in these three Tests.

My only other justification for Bairstow would be that Malan and Root have actually given Stokes and Pope a couple of decent platforms to come in on, but both Stokes and Pope have gotten bogged down against Lyon. Bairstow is a good player of spin, so wouldn't let that happen.

It's very easy for me, as some random bloke on the internet, to just say they'll lose and it doesn't matter who they pick. But I would hope these guys as professional athletes still believe they can win and are trying 100% to make that happen and not mailing it in already.

Duty's post is accurate - there is not a long list of English batters who average 45+ in FC cricket, but that is an indictment on the pitches they play on and also the youth coaching. Which is a long term fix. It doesn't just mean if we pick enough batters averaging 35 in county cricket eventually we will find a few who can average 45 in tests!

God I hate how England being so crap has made me sound like I am passionate about a bloke who averages 33 after 78 Tests getting another go. The optimist in me says pick Lawrence - a flair player whose wrists are to die for - but the pessimist says a bloke who has his record will just get blown away.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:43 pm

Unpopular opinion but despite Bairstow's weaknesses being exposed in recent years I still think he's a better player than Lawrence. That's depressing in and of its self given Bairstow's recent record.

Had Bairstow been left at 7 with the gloves I do wonder if he'd have offered more. When he was scoring runs at 6 and 7 all the talk was about him being wasted in the lower middle order and needing to get him higher. Then he failed at 5 as he wasn't suited there with how he plays. He's never going to be Bell averaging 60 batting at 6 but if he can get back to averaging mid-thirties there that would be a big improvement for this side and more than I think Lawrence could do.

Crawley being tall and liking the ball bouncing above his waist means that he's somewhat suited to these wickets hence being looked at. If recalled I can see Australia just bowling very full woble seam balls though and accept that they might be driven a few times but trusting they will get the nick when one moves away. Crawley is prone to planting that front leg to full seam bowling. Personally I don't see it coming off against this Aussie attack. He has ability but needs time in F-C cricket.

I think Pope has a lot of talent but his inability to develop any game against spin is glaring at this stage. I was hoping that after the experience against Sri Lanka and India he'd have developed some sort of tactical change for this tour. His plan seems to be either dancing down the track with awkward footwork to a bowler that gets lots of over spin and hence lots of dip - not great. Or going right back and trying to cut balls against a bowler who's success is in no small part down to giving very little width - again not great. Similar to Crawley I'm not sure technical issues that significant are ones you want to be ironing out in Ashes Tests.

It's an England team with lots of problems and few solutions.

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Post by Pal Joey Tue 21 Dec 2021, 9:54 pm

Think I heard Kerry O'Keeffe tentatively suggest that Scott Boland has performed better than both Neser and Richardson in Sheffield Shield matches at the MCG this year. Apparently his height allows him to extract that little extra bounce out of the pitch there. He hits the deck quite hard.

I'd ignore the warm up match against the Lions in Brisbane played under considerably different conditions. He loves bowling at the MCG and has been quite successful there. 15 wickets at 10.80 this year as Duty points out.

Alfie may know more about the current pitch at the MCG but it definitely doesn't look like the flat road of 2017. There have been some low scores there for visiting opposition teams (NSW) and no large totals.

If Starc is unavailable due to his lower back niggle (some say it's nothing to worry about and it didn't affect his bowling; others say rest him for Sydney just in case) then we could see a bowling line up of Cummins, Richardson, Neser/Boland, Green and Lyon... if Hazlewood is still unavailable.
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Post by king_carlos Tue 21 Dec 2021, 10:07 pm

Given how knackered the Aussie pacers looked by T4 against India I'd be very surprised if they didn't look to rotate them in this series.

If Starc has a niggle then it may well be a good time to rest him anyway after back to back Test and with at least Cummins coming back.

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Post by alfie Wed 22 Dec 2021, 12:46 am

Hi PJ

MCG pitch is indeed reputed to have a bit more life this year. Haven't actually had a chance to bat on it lately myself so can't give any more detailed info Smile

Hazlewood seems a doubtful starter - why take any risk ? And Boland has a good record here so if Starc were to be rested he would quite likely come in for Neser. Cummins being back - which addresses any tail end batting concerns - and Richardson doing well on the last day in Adelaide means they look to have all areas covered.

The weakness of the England batting makes it hard to judge with any certainty just how good these "back up" bowlers are ; but they have already knocked down my pre-series questions as to whether Australia might be at a disadvantage if injuries forced them into pace bowling rotations !

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Post by alfie Wed 22 Dec 2021, 1:13 am

As to the England batting : I agree there are probably no "good" solutions to their current problems ; but I am siding with JD and KC in preferring Bairstow as the middle order replacement for Pope.

He has (despite recent lack of big runs) still the best Test average in the squad after Root and Stokes.
He does have one century in Australia : among his six altogether - equal by the way to the combined total hundreds of Malan Pope Crawley Hameed and Burns Smile
He is the best fielder among all the prospects - and given the team's recent woes that is an important issue. Might at least see Burns moved out of slips...

I will concede his recent efforts , while still basically on a par at least with the rest of the squad , have not been outstanding (just one fifty and rather a lot of scores around thirty in the eight games since his recall ). But at least he has tended to stick in (apart from those two horror matches in India !) Three century partnerships with Joe Root among several other significant stands suggest he might add a bit of solidity to the horribly fragile batting that has been on display.

We aren't worrying (or shouldn't be) at this time about plans for the next five years. It is all about trying to win the next match. If there is little to choose between options I reckon there is more chance of success with someone who has a lot of experience of the opponent and the conditions than throwing in another young hopeful and praying he will do better than the one just discarded.

Expecting strong disagreements from many so I won't throw in my even more outlandish suggestion for rejigging the line-up - at least until the dust clears Smile


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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 22 Dec 2021, 9:07 am

I'd rather stick with Pope than bring Bairstow in. There is something to be said of sticking with players for a whole series especially in new conditions, can Pope learn to adapt, we won't find that out if he's in and out of the team.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 22 Dec 2021, 11:24 am

England's players had a "brutally honest chat" with coach Chris Silverwood after defeat by Australia in the second Ashes Test, says seamer Mark Wood.

That's good. I hope they told him that he hasn't got a bloody clue.

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Post by Pal Joey Wed 22 Dec 2021, 12:07 pm

I head that Chris Silverwood interview today or parts of it at least.

Must say I completely disagree with every throw-away statement he made. Just doesn't stick I'm afraid. Who's he trying to kid? He sounds so totally unconvincing and it's so obvious to most that if he actually believes what he is saying... then the England team are in even bigger trouble right now.

He needs to either pull his head out of the sand (he won't though because he's far too conceited and is being paid too well by the ECB) or for someone to firmly tap him on the shoulder and show him the door if thinks winning one of the last 11 tests is a measure of good performance.

Honestly, he's having everyone on and getting away with it right before our eyes... and ears. A complete disaster in progress is a good way to describe his coaching performance.
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 22 Dec 2021, 1:28 pm

https://twitter.com/willis_macp/status/1473625158527033349?s=21

Certainly seems as if Crawley is coming in - no hint as to who drops out yet.

Saw the Silverwood interview too…I appreciate he can’t chew the players out completely but a little dose of reality wouldn’t go amiss Chris! Even Root in his post game stuff was pretty scathing saying they can’t keep making the same mistakes, people need to step up etc…

Saying you wouldn’t change anything you did for the first two tests when you got resoundingly thumped in both, is just accelerating that P45 coming your way
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed 22 Dec 2021, 1:31 pm

When the ECB do their inevitable review of English cricket after another wasted effort down under, do they just find the last one and change the date at the top?

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Post by Afro Wed 22 Dec 2021, 1:50 pm

I would be disappointed if it was Hameed dropped, rather than Burns. Whilst both have struggled, Hameed at 24 has to be more in the long term thinking. Would stink of short termism again.

I know some people's sentiment is you pick the best team for the match ahead, but team's aren't built like that. It takes time and failures to learn and improve. Bit cliche, but when training kids teams in the past, I've always said to try things and learn from it when they don't work.
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Post by GSC Wed 22 Dec 2021, 2:02 pm

Hameed at least looks more likely to blunt the new ball even if he's not cashing in. Burns looks like he's waiting for his dismissal
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed 22 Dec 2021, 2:06 pm

Afro wrote:I would be disappointed if it was Hameed dropped, rather than Burns. Whilst both have struggled, Hameed at 24 has to be more in the long term thinking. Would stink of short termism again.

I know some people's sentiment is you pick the best team for the match ahead, but team's aren't built like that. It takes time and failures to learn and improve. Bit cliche, but when training kids teams in the past, I've always said to try things and learn from it when they don't work.

Completely agree. If this was a nip and tuck series that we had been hugely competitive in then I get the "pick your best team view" but we have been royally thrashed and in all likelihood will get rolled over in the next 3 games as well. We've "won" a couple of sessions essentially.

Hameed has to play over Burns.

That's why Lawrence would be my pick over Bairstow. I doubt they are going to bring JB in for 1 game only and I can't see anyone else getting dropped from the top 7 (potentially Buttler but unlikely) so Bairstow plays the next 3 games and we are no further forward in trying to evolve the team. Maybe he scores a few runs it is hailed as his 2nd 3rd 4th 5th coming but his old failings will inevitably resurface, history tells us that, and we'll be no closer to knowing if Lawrence was capable of dealing with the pressure of an away Ashes series when the next one rolls around.

Maybe it will be a stroke of genius and JB will win us the next test and keep us in the series. I'll be first to stand in the corner with a dunces hat on but can't see it happening.

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Post by JDizzle Wed 22 Dec 2021, 3:16 pm

Why does Hameed have to be in the long term thinking though? On what basis? It can’t be his average of 22 since he came back in the side or his FC record of 32. Does he have a particularly outstanding technique - certainly not for Australia with his low hands. The ECB seem to have been desperate to pick him on the back of looking good in India 5 years ago.

Just don’t think selecting someone just because they are young will ever work as a strategy if they don’t have the ability.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed 22 Dec 2021, 3:25 pm

JDizzle wrote:Why does Hameed have to be in the long term thinking though? On what basis? It can’t be his average of 22 since he came back in the side or his FC record of 32. Does he have a particularly outstanding technique - certainly not for Australia with his low hands. The ECB seem to have been desperate to pick him on the back of looking good in India 5 years ago.

Just don’t think selecting someone just because they are young will ever work as a strategy if they don’t have the ability.

Of course, and I get your point, but there also has to be a line in the sand somewhere? Is there anyone better waiting to come in? Sibley has been discarded already.

I don't want to go over old ground re averages as Duty has already summed that up better than I ever could but where else do we go? By definition, the next cab on the rank is going to be young and untested unless we go back to Lyth or Robson or someone else already discarded for technique issues.

There has to come a point where we say - ok HH looked decent first time round, he scored 80 odd as a baby in India. That takes at least a base level of talent. He then struggled badly and almost fell off the planet but worked his way back into test match contention, albeit not with many people to force his way past. That takes a base level of mental toughness and fortitude. Those are enough characteristics for me to believe we stick with him unless some young opener starts to tear up CC or Lyth (for example) scores 1000's of runs and demands a recall in a Malan fashion.


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Post by JDizzle Wed 22 Dec 2021, 3:41 pm

James Bracey? Admittedly looked painfully bad vs NZ in the summer, but if we are wanting to give guys a chance then he shouldn’t be forgotten about so quickly. Especially as he was batting out of position. Better FC record than Hameed and made a half century for the Lions in Aus in 2020 and a ton this time. But he was flown home because English scoring runs just isn’t on!

I do think Sibley is likely to come again. He just needs to figure out how not to get stuck and put pressure on not just his partner but himself.

I said it at the time that Hameed was recalled too early and they’ve backed themselves into a corner with him. He’d just started to find some County form after years and got a nice ton vs India in a warm up game. And they might have undone it all by picking him too early as he does have a bit of bottle and fight. It’s so, so frustrating. Drop him and you risk damaging his fragile self belief but so does keeping picking him if he is out of his depth at the moment!

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 22 Dec 2021, 3:41 pm

Youth is the deciding factor when you're choosing between two players of relatively similar ability. I wouldn't be bringing Crawley back into the side as I actually think Burns is a better player but I'd be dropping him rather than Hameed.

There are three issues that need addressing but won't. Firstly the amount of international cricket, players with technical issues are not being afforded opportunities to iron them out in county cricket. Secondly the county format, it needs streamlining and it needs to be played in the summer as much as possible.

Something that rarely gets mentioned is the reluctance of players to play abroad, why are the ECB not pushing for them to play in Australia or India. What better preparation for series than playing in host countries for a time. Pope for instance would benefit massively from playing in India outside of test cricket. Marnus Labuschagne anyone?

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