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

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed 22 Dec 2021, 3:47 pm

JDizzle wrote: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!


Fair. Had forgotten about him actually and he was thrown a suicide pass in the summer against the best test team in the world. He probably does deserve another shot in the near future.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed 22 Dec 2021, 3:52 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:

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?

Both valid points. On the first one, that is surely down to the amount of white ball stuff and the cash that brings in? The T20 and Hundred. No one in the corridors of power wants those played in April and September for obvious reasons.

Same with playing abroad I assume? I don't know whether the pay is worth missing out on white ball tournaments? If the ECB was serious about test match cricket then they could subsidise the potential loss of earnings and incentivise those test players to play abroad. It isn't going to happen though. They'd rather cram in a 50 ball tournament instead.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 22 Dec 2021, 4:00 pm

White ball cricket has and always will be a problem unfortunately but Sibley, Burns and Pope barely play it so no excuse to not go abroad. Next year will come around, Pope will average 100 at the oval racking up big scores, he'll be recalled but none of his flaws will have been worked on.

I'd also look to separate the three international sides a bit, no player should play all three formats, it just leads to burnout. Buttler is a case in point there, his test and fifty over form has been rough since the World Cup.

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Post by Afro Wed 22 Dec 2021, 4:07 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.

I was talking specifically Burns v Hameed, who is dropped for Crawley? Both have struggled, so if you are picking between the two, then age definitely does come into it, and Hameed must be more in the long term thinking than Burns
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Post by Afro Wed 22 Dec 2021, 4:14 pm

Soul Requiem wrote: Next year will come around, Pope will average 100 at the oval racking up big scores, he'll be recalled but none of his flaws will have been worked on.


I agree with this completely Soul. The short term thinking is they aren't playing well, drop them, who can we select instead and its becoming a Merry go round of the same players.

Longer term thinking is, make a decision on who are the best options - doesn't have to be just 11 or 12, but a squad of players - and then work on their skills and try to iron out their weaknesses.

I am not saying Hameed is the long term option. I'm just saying they need to decide who they want to back and do their best to get that player to maximise their potential, not drop them when things don't go to plan

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Post by JDizzle Wed 22 Dec 2021, 4:20 pm

Afro wrote:
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.

I was talking specifically Burns v Hameed, who is dropped for Crawley? Both have struggled, so if you are picking between the two, then age definitely does come into it, and Hameed must be more in the long term thinking than Burns

Burns is only 31! If he is better just keep him. Batters should peak in their early 30s. I just think England have enough problems finding batters to be this picky. If you think Hameed is better I wouldn’t protest too much as Burns hasn’t done enough but age shouldn’t come into it when Burns is only 31.

I do agree with Soul that there are certain players (Buttler, Bairstow - probably Wood) who would at this point be best left as white ball specialists. I think they would have picked Root if they thought he was better than Malan at T20s for the WC (I would have had Root at 3 in my side) but it is probably a blessing in disguise that they didn’t.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 22 Dec 2021, 5:30 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
JDizzle wrote: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!


Fair. Had forgotten about him actually and he was thrown a suicide pass in the summer against the best test team in the world. He probably does deserve another shot in the near future.
Of all the debatable selections recently Bracey angered me the most by far. He's a talented top 3 player, ideally an opener, but only an acceptable keeper at county level and a batsman in no way suited to coming in down the order. So we pick him as a Test match keeper and bat him at 7. Painful.

A lot of the selections that have angered people this year I have defended somewhat as I think the combination of a ludicrous schedule, covid, injuries to key players (or key players prone to injury which makes planning a nightmare) and simply a poor pool of players are massive extenuating circumstances.

The Bracey fuster cluck seriously p***ed me off though. If they wanted a stop gap specialist keeper for 2 Tests who can hold a bat then Ben Brown was a good option. If they wanted a younger specialist keeper then Kent's Ollie Robinson is really good with the gloves albeit far below what you want from a Test number 7 these days.

Even someone such as Adam Wheater would be a better option as short term Test keeper. Wheater sometimes gets forgotten as an accomplished gloveman I feel as he started at Essex behind Foster and latterly Foakes. Then moved to Hants to usurp Michael Bates. Before returning to Essex to replace Foster. He's somehow spent his entire career in direct competition with 3 of the best 4 England glovemen of recent times - Read completes that quartet with Foster, Foakes and Bates in my opinion. Wheater would've been a more justifiable pick with the gloves and batting seven than Bracey.

I'd probably have preferred Pope just keep for a couple of Tests in fact. That selection was farce.

Breathe. Breathe.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 22 Dec 2021, 6:30 pm

Bracey I'd too stodgy a player to bat anywhere outside the top three and his keeping is not good enough. The constant chopping and changing of players and where they bat does not help at all. Hameed was recalled at three for christ sake, the guy is an out and out opener.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 22 Dec 2021, 7:11 pm

Hameed at 3 was just backup opener stuff. Just trying to provide as much padding as possible before our one good batsman so that Root isn't coming in at 30-odd for 2. I think the average score when he comes to the crease this year is 36-2. It makes his scoring even more remarkable.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/59761497

That article is really good stuff as usual from Zaltzman for those interested in some more obscure stats.

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Post by JDizzle Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:07 am

England have named a 16 man squad for their Caribbean T20 tour:

England Squad:

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex – captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Tom Banton (Somerset), Sam Billings (Kent), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), George Garton (Sussex), Chris Jordan (Surrey), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Tymal Mills (Sussex), David Payne (Gloucestershire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Reece Topley (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire)

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Post by JDizzle Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:10 am

Roy, Salt, Moeen, Billings, Livingstone, Morgan, Garton, Dawson, Rashid, Saqib, Tymal.

Banton, Jordan, Payne, Topley, Vince.

Jordan probably plays admittedly.

Tasty side. I hope Payne gets a game at some point! Was a great story when he made the Covid ODI squad this summer. Would like to see him get a cap.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:24 am

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/dec/22/england-batsmen-forced-to-rewatch-wickets-in-post-adelaide-ashes-debrief

Isn't analysing and reviewing dismissals the usual practice? Perhaps not if the tone of this article is anything to go by.

Starc will be fit to play for Australia and Harris, at his home ground, will retain his place. Got a feeling that Harris is going to put it all together and notch a ton. Hazlewood out, but Cummins will return, so it'll be Starc + Cummins + Richardson/Boland.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:26 am

JDizzle wrote:Roy, Salt, Moeen, Billings, Livingstone, Morgan, Garton, Dawson, Rashid, Saqib, Tymal.

Banton, Jordan, Payne, Topley, Vince.

Jordan probably plays admittedly.

Tasty side. I hope Payne gets a game at some point! Was a great story when he made the Covid ODI squad this summer. Would like to see him get a cap.

Plenty of names motivated to try and get in the squad for the T20 World Cup. Hope Banton gets a run of games after his issues.

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:39 am

I really don't see the big deal with Tom Banton, sure he can hit a long ball but he rarely plays a match defining innings.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:40 am

JDizzle wrote:England have named a 16 man squad for their Caribbean T20 tour:

England Squad:

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex – captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Tom Banton (Somerset), Sam Billings (Kent), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), George Garton (Sussex), Chris Jordan (Surrey), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Tymal Mills (Sussex), David Payne (Gloucestershire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Reece Topley (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire)

If he isn’t injured, it is absolutely insane that Matt Parkinson isn’t in this squad
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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:45 am

There are already ample spin options in the squad with Ali, Rashid, Dawson and Livingstone.

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Post by VTR Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:45 am

Good to see there's some games we might actually win coming up. T20 series vs Windies is way more important than The Ashes these days

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Post by Pal Joey Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:50 am

Nice one VTR.  Wink

I just heard Crawley, Bairstow, Wood and Leach are definitely in for the Melbourne Test.
So one of Burns/Hameed... and Pope, Woakes and presumably Broad to miss out? Can anyone verify?
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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:53 am

The rumour mill suggests Hameed rather than Burns, can only assume they want to keep a left right opening combo (Malan and Root). I'd stick with Pope personally, every time there's a sign of weakness he's dropped, the series is lost let him learn on the job.

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Post by NickisBHAFC Thu 23 Dec 2021, 3:34 pm

Who cares? We are doomed.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 23 Dec 2021, 4:47 pm

I mentioned that Steve Smith was due for a properly big score in the next test, given how he's averaging just 37 so far. Well I've delved into the stats and discovered that Smith averages a whopping 91.6 in tests at the MCG with four centuries in 14 innings. By batting average it's Smith's preferred stadium in Australia.

On a positive note, the MCG is not a fortress by Australian standards, and England pick up wins here every 12 years or so - 1986, 1998, 2010...2021?

Apparently it'll be a green, seamer-friendly pitch at the MCG, so I'm expecting England to pick Leach and Bess.

Perhaps because it's a foregone conclusion there hasn't been much mention of it - but if Australia avoid defeat they'll retain the Ashes, and it would mark their longest hold on the urn since England won them back in 2005.

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 23 Dec 2021, 7:43 pm

VTR wrote:Good to see there's some games we might actually win coming up. T20 series vs Windies is way more important than The Ashes these days

Yeah, but don't bank on Topley. He'll probably rick his back going up the airplane steps!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 23 Dec 2021, 8:08 pm

Dobell reporting it’s likely Crawley comes in for Burns
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Post by guildfordbat Thu 23 Dec 2021, 8:45 pm

Duty281 wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/dec/22/england-batsmen-forced-to-rewatch-wickets-in-post-adelaide-ashes-debrief

Isn't analysing and reviewing dismissals the usual practice? Perhaps not if the tone of this article is anything to go by.

Starc will be fit to play for Australia
and Harris, at his home ground, will retain his place. Got a feeling that Harris is going to put it all together and notch a ton. Hazlewood out, but Cummins will return, so it'll be Starc + Cummins + Richardson/Boland.

Thanks, Duty. Clearly good for Australia to have Starc playing in the Boxing Day Test. Gives me an excuse to belatedly comment about the MotM award for the last Test.

As regulars will know I'm a Starc man but, even with trying to put my usual bias aside, he would have been my MotM at Adelaide. A fourfer in our first dig. It's always said that first innings runs are so important - that's understandable as it's right but it somewhat overlooks the value of first innings wickets. England were never coming back from Starc's 4/37 which did so much to get the hosts a 230+ lead. Then a couple of wickets second time round including Root at the very end of day four to virtually confirm our loss. Add to that, almost 60 match runs for once out at a run a ball. The award actually went to Labuschagne. I'm not for a moment going to rubbish his contributions of 103 and 51 - just felt Marnus had a lot of the luck going and that Starc's wickets tally didn't do full justice to how well he spearheaded the attack and the damage he caused.

As long as Richardson is fine, I would expect him to get the nod over Boland. He bowled well for much of the first innings without reward and then came to the party with a fivefer. Although I hear good things about Boland, I don't see Richardson being left out for him now.

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Post by Pal Joey Thu 23 Dec 2021, 11:39 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
Duty281 wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/dec/22/england-batsmen-forced-to-rewatch-wickets-in-post-adelaide-ashes-debrief

Isn't analysing and reviewing dismissals the usual practice? Perhaps not if the tone of this article is anything to go by.

Starc will be fit to play for Australia
and Harris, at his home ground, will retain his place. Got a feeling that Harris is going to put it all together and notch a ton. Hazlewood out, but Cummins will return, so it'll be Starc + Cummins + Richardson/Boland.

Thanks, Duty. Clearly good for Australia to have Starc playing in the Boxing Day Test. Gives me an excuse to belatedly comment about the MotM award for the last Test.

As regulars will know I'm a Starc man but, even with trying to put my usual bias aside, he would have been my MotM at Adelaide. A fourfer in our first dig. It's always said that first innings runs are so important - that's understandable as it's right but it somewhat overlooks the value of first innings wickets. England were never coming back from Starc's 4/37 which did so much to get the hosts a 230+ lead. Then a couple of wickets second time round including Root at the very end of day four to virtually confirm our loss. Add to that, almost 60 match runs for once out at a run a ball. The award actually went to Labuschagne. I'm not for a moment going to rubbish his contributions of 103 and 51 -  just felt Marnus had a lot of the luck going and that Starc's wickets tally didn't do full justice to how well he spearheaded the attack and the damage he caused.

As long as Richardson is fine, I would expect him to get the nod over Boland. He bowled well for much of the first innings without reward and then came to the party with a fivefer. Although I hear good things about Boland, I don't see Richardson being left out for him now.

So I'll put you down for Starc and Cummins as usual... and who else was it again, Guildford? Jamie Smith and Marcus North? Smile
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Post by guildfordbat Fri 24 Dec 2021, 12:14 am

king_carlos wrote:
alfie wrote:Almost glad I had to miss those last few overs . Saw Burns go - not too surprised I'm afraid.

Sounds as if Hameed rather gave his away ?

Poor Joe Root. He might as well open ...

Olly could have saved everyone watching today Smile   That prediction (except the Green bit) just too accurate !  Maybe predict double hundreds for Root and Malan while you're hot , eh ?
The bloke must be exhausted. I don't think he's a good captain but Benaud's 90% luck line comes to mind. The group of players available over his captaincy have ranged from average to downright abysmal depending on injuries and conditions.

Captaining teams like this is lose-lose. If you plug away with traditional bowling plans that don't work because the attack is pish then pundits want to see something funky. If you try something funky and it doesn't work because your options are pish then pundits ask why you're reinventing the wheel. If you give pointless soundbite answers in interviews you're ridiculed for chatting generic garbage. If you come out and talk honestly about no one else in the team being able to bat and the bowling options being near futile in these conditions you'd get eviscerated.

When Silverwood was appointed I hoped England would throw everything they could offer at Gillespie. When Silverwood is replaced I hope England throw everything they can offer at Gillespie. Groundhog day.

The changes need to start at county level to produce Test quality players though. Fewer first-class status counties and fewer first-class games with a much higher average standard being played on better wickets has been required for years. I also think that the county game should think hard about using a ball that swings less. The Dukes in recent years that swing conventionally for 60 overs offer no balance.

Hi Carlos - a few random thoughts by way of a late response to your final para.

* A key thing that needs to be addressed is the scheduling of County Championship matches. About half of all such matches in the last few seasons have been played in April and September. Until 4 day cricket is played more in the height of summer, we are going to continue to put ourselves at a massive disadvantage in developing spin bowlers. Why give a spinner the ball or even select him when an ordinary dibbly dobbly medium pacer is likely to be more effective on a cold overcast day?

* I don't underestimate the difficulties of balancing the domestic schedule (CC matches, RL 50, t20 and The Hundred) and the commercial considerations involved but a better balance needs to be found and we shouldn't ignore that or pretend otherwise.

* Pitch inspectors (or whatever they are currently called) need to take a sensible and balanced approach in deciding whether a track is acceptable or not. In the past, the odd county has pushed things too far to give their spinners an advantage and been rightly reprimanded for it. However, it shouldn't automatically be assumed that a track taking some spin on day one is ''poor'' or that spinners having success early on in a match have been unfairly helped. In line with my point above, a spinner's development needs to be encouraged and it will continue to be the Test side that suffers if that doesn't happen.

* Pitch inspectors should come down hard on absolute roads in CC matches. It needs to be recognised that they are bad for the game and unacceptable. As mentioned recently when discussing Ollie Pope, Surrey's final match of the 2021 season at the Oval produced almost 1,400 runs for the loss of just 10 wickets. That was an absolute joke and an affront to the paying spectators with the prepared track providing a totally unfair contest between bat and ball. To his credit, Pope maintained his concentration and filled his boots with a double century but it was still all too easy and in no way helpful for a forthcoming Ashes tour. Just to add, no action was taken against Surrey for that pitch.

* I may be in a minority of one here but I wouldn't want there to be less CC matches. I quite regularly attend them and in the main enjoy them. That may be selfish - and at least to some extent, it is - but I pay my money to travel and attend and so at least deserve a view imo. I do agree though that the standard there needs to be raised.

* Following on from my last point, the benefits of central contracts and how they operate needs to be reviewed. I am not suggesting we go back to the days of Fred Truman bowling 10,000 overs in a week for Yorkshire and then driving through the night to the other end of the country for a Test match starting the next morning, as he might have said. However, if we had less Tests - and I would suggest we need to if the quality of England players is to improve - then our Test players would be able to play more for their counties. That ultimately would be for the benefit of so many. To take one example - Broad playing a few more county games would benefit the Notts bowlers and team mates playing alongside him and ultimately the opposition batsmen facing him as they would need to learn how to up their game. It would also have a knock on positive effect on interest in and attendance at CC matches.

* The ECB seem to jealously treasure their centrally contracted players and are overly reluctant to release them to their own counties. More willingness needs to be displayed. One example. Burns, the Surrey captain, was due to to play in the final test of the 2021 season. As we know, that was called off at the last minute. Surrey then sought the ECB's permission for him to play in their final CC game. Although the ECB had Burns lined up to play a 5 day Test, they refused and ordered he rest rather than play in a 4 day county game. Burns didn't play another competitive game until this Ashes tour!

* I don't know enough about the modern types of cricket balls and what they do but it seems to me that they should be the same in England for CC and Test matches. You don't want a bowler ripping up trees with one type in the Championship, being selected for England as a result and then finding on day one of a Test that he can't do it so well - or at all! - with a different ball!

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Post by alfie Fri 24 Dec 2021, 3:35 am

Very thoughtful and considered post , guildford.  I think discussions along those lines will take up a lot of space on here in the gap between Test series next year.

Difficult for me being so far away and so less able to assess local issues ; but it does perplex me that the English authorities cannot come up with a better balance between commercial and cricketing - and white and red ball - interests.
I do understand you are not blessed with the lengthy period of warm and (generally) dry weather to arrange a schedule that helps Australia to manage a good deal of both (though there have in fact been arguments even here that the shorter term games get too much attention to the detriment of the long game : possibly the fact that the Test team currently possesses a number of very good players developed prior to the most recent calendar has meant no real harm has yet occurred - but may still be around the corner ? We will see in a year or two perhaps).

Anyway the question I have is : would it not be possible to spread the CC over the entire length of the English summer (as I seem to recall it once was!) and simply fit the white ball stuff in amongst it ? I get you can't just have Surrey v Glamorgan white ball Friday night followed by a Sat-Tues fixture for the same sides because they will be in different groups etc ; but could they not look at doing the draws for various competitions with an eye to geography so players could do both types of cricket in a week without driving from John o' Groats to Lands End ?  And obviously a lot of players would generally play more one format than another ; but it need not be a complete either-or situation.

As for The Hundred : well - presuming it lasts - there will have to be a bit of a "window" in which a lot of first choice players just won't be available for their counties. Which is a pity ; and I think it would be better if that part of the season featured a somewhat thinner spread of the four day games , without shutting down the competition altogether.

A juggling act , of course : and no perfect solution. But I can't help but think the current system could be drastically improved with just a little give and take.

But maybe I am dreaming...

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Post by alfie Fri 24 Dec 2021, 3:53 am

Pal Joey wrote:Nice one VTR.  Wink

I just heard Crawley, Bairstow, Wood and Leach are definitely in for the Melbourne Test.
So one of Burns/Hameed... and Pope, Woakes and presumably Broad to miss out? Can anyone verify?

Doesn't sound too unreasonable : though that's a long tail. Still since they've lost 8/80 or so twice already one might say the tail has started at five anyway Smile

Wonder though if having Robinson up for a third match in a row is really such a good idea ? He has already shown signs of tiredness I think , in Adelaide second innings ;  and it might be better to freshen him up for Sydney (when Anderson will presumably be up for a rest) and retain Broad.

Which of course makes the tail look even weaker ... But if they really do not trust Bess I can't see any way to fix that problem so better hope batting position changes (whatever they decide on) produce results...

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Post by guildfordbat Fri 24 Dec 2021, 10:38 am

alfie wrote:Very thoughtful and considered post , guildford.  I think discussions along those lines will take up a lot of space on here in the gap between Test series next year.

Difficult for me being so far away and so less able to assess local issues ; but it does perplex me that the English authorities cannot come up with a better balance between commercial and cricketing - and white and red ball - interests.
I do understand you are not blessed with the lengthy period of warm and (generally) dry weather to arrange a schedule that helps Australia to manage a good deal of both (though there have in fact been arguments even here that the shorter term games get too much attention to the detriment of the long game : possibly the fact that the Test team currently possesses a number of very good players developed prior to the most recent calendar has meant no real harm has yet occurred - but may still be around the corner ? We will see in a year or two perhaps).

Anyway the question I have is : would it not be possible to spread the CC over the entire length of the English summer (as I seem to recall it once was!) and simply fit the white ball stuff in amongst it ? I get you can't just have Surrey v Glamorgan white ball Friday night followed by a Sat-Tues fixture for the same sides because they will be in different groups etc ; but could they not look at doing the draws for various competitions with an eye to geography so players could do both types of cricket in a week without driving from John o' Groats to Lands End ?  And obviously a lot of players would generally play more one format than another ; but it need not be a complete either-or situation.

As for The Hundred : well - presuming it lasts - there will have to be a bit of a "window" in which a lot of first choice players just won't be available for their counties. Which is a pity ; and I think it would be better if that part of the season featured a somewhat thinner spread of the four day games , without shutting down the competition altogether.

A juggling act , of course : and no perfect solution. But I can't help but think the current system could be drastically improved with just a little give and take.

But maybe I am dreaming...

Thanks, Alfie. You may be dreaming but you recognise the problems. Those in authority need to at least show similar recognition before anything can be solved.

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Post by guildfordbat Fri 24 Dec 2021, 10:47 am

alfie wrote:
Pal Joey wrote:Nice one VTR.  Wink

I just heard Crawley, Bairstow, Wood and Leach are definitely in for the Melbourne Test.
So one of Burns/Hameed... and Pope, Woakes and presumably Broad to miss out? Can anyone verify?

Doesn't sound too unreasonable : though that's a long tail. Still since they've lost 8/80 or so twice already one might say the tail has started at five anyway Smile

Wonder though if having Robinson up for a third match in a row is really such a good idea ? He has already shown signs of tiredness I think , in Adelaide second innings ;  and it might be better to freshen him up for Sydney (when Anderson will presumably be up for a rest) and retain Broad.

Which of course makes the tail look even weaker ... But if they really do not trust Bess I can't see any way to fix that problem so better hope batting position changes (whatever they decide on) produce results...

Assuming what Joey has heard is right and it seems very likely, I think it would be Burns, Pope, Woakes and then Broad or Anderson missing out. Olly pointed yesterday to Burns (rather than Hameed) making way for Crawley as per Dobell's article and he is usually on the money.

In line with Alfie's post, they really do not seem to trust Bess. That then rather begs the question - what's he doing on the tour?

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 24 Dec 2021, 2:03 pm

I know Burns has technical difficulties and is short of Test class but dropping him - as appears the case - seems daft.

I think they don't want to drop Hameed and as they want one opener to remain they are jettisoning Burns.

Burns got a 100 in the last Ashes series and I was at Lord's to see him getting a fighting 100 against NZ last summer. In a stronger batting line-up there's no way he would be in the team. But this ain't a strong batting line-up.

Bringing Hameed back last summer was, IMHO, a mistake. Yes, he was back in form and yes, the batting needed changing. But it was a no-win situation for him. If he failed against India it would have dented his confidence. If he did well enough to go to Australia - which he did - he was going to be up against it Down Under.

The selector(s), thinking poorly, found themselves backed into a corner. They want to show confidence in a young player and in doing so they have had to drop a guy who should still be in the team.

If Crawley plays I do hope he does well. To me he is a class player who has had a bad run, rather than a guy who is not good enough.

Having said all this, who would be a selector for this England team, eh? Choosing from a poor pool to start, and with no cricket in between Tests, it's a mug's game.

Looking forward to the midnight UK time start for Melbourne. I can wake up around 7-7.30pm and get all the bad news out of the way in one go.

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Post by KP_fan Fri 24 Dec 2021, 4:21 pm

Boxing day tests will be special.....drinks, good food and a lot of eat, atleast 3 days holiday on a stretch.....early morning cricket from Aus and when that ends the game starts in SA..16 hours of cricket.

While Ind is likely to lose ( for reasons explained in other thread)....Eng might surprise many by sneaking out a draw or a narrow win....especially if they win the toss
( did not have courage to pick Eng in tipping competition but will put a few bucks on them in bet365.com) after the toss though

That Eng will bring in Bess and Bairstow is a no brainer......going out will be Robinson for sure...and perhaps Anderson and if so Wood will come in for him


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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 24 Dec 2021, 5:13 pm

Seems very unlikely that England would drop Robinson rather than Woakes for Bess.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 24 Dec 2021, 5:53 pm

Don't rate Bess at all. At least one four-ball every over. Another heavy defeat for England, I fear.

At least England are getting beaten in Australia while fielding a poor side. Depressing thing on previous tours, particularly 06-07 and 2013/14, was that England were fairly strong (they won the Ashes at home in the Ashes series that followed) yet were thumped.


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Post by JDizzle Fri 24 Dec 2021, 10:11 pm

Sounds like Scott Boland will make his Test debut - alongside Starc and Cummins. Seems harsh on Richardson unless he is feeling the effects of his Adelaide exerts. Can’t say I’ve seen much of Boland, so hope their is finally a drop off in the Aussies seam bowling quality to give England a chance!

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Post by Duty281 Fri 24 Dec 2021, 10:48 pm

Yes, has now been confirmed. Called a shock by some media outlets but I'm not sure it is - he's in good form over the past couple of seasons and this is his home ground.

Australia XI: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

I get the sense that, despite having a very good series so far, Robinson isn't rated highly by KP_Fan! I haven't heard any news of Bess coming in or Robinson definitely being rested.

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Post by alfie Sat 25 Dec 2021, 12:06 am

Understand Richardson has a minor niggle and with Starc apparently ready to go again (I am sure the Aussies want to wrap up the series here and value his penetration powers) and Boland handy , they are happy to give the local man his chance.

Think people are still guessing re the England line up.  Haven't seen anything to suggest Bess is being considered (except for KP_fan's slightly peculiar confidence) :  although I confess I would be up for trying him here , as I doubt either England spinner would be much more than a means to rest the pace men , but he might add a little more batting depth.

Robinson I do rate and think he might do well in Melbourne ; but I am concerned he dropped off in pace in Adelaide and may find three in a row a bit too much. And there might be something to be said for letting Broad and Anderson go again here as I'd imagine they will both be better for the run out last week.

Obviously a tough assignment for England whatever they go in with. Still one must live in hope... Perhaps if they hold their chances for a change they might find some holes in the Australian batting.

(Incidentally I see an interesting stat re Marnus , which confirms my own feeling that his results are just a little better than they perhaps ought to be : in 20 Test Matches so far , he has been out caught just 12 times. However he has been dropped on no less than 14 occasions... Joe Root would kill for that kind of good fortune ! Not to say he isn't a very good player , of course. But you might think he's due for a bit of bad luck sooner or later.)

Think England will need a generous helping of luck as well as a hoped for improvement - but at least we can dream for another 24 hours...

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Post by Pal Joey Sat 25 Dec 2021, 12:13 am

Final XI much as predicted. It's all or nothing for Silverwood.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/wielding-the-axe-england-drop-broad-burns-pope-woakes-for-critical-third-test-20211225-p59k4r.html

England XI:
Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Jonathan Bairstow,
Jos Buttler (wk), Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson
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Post by alfie Sat 25 Dec 2021, 12:27 am

Oh ! Thanks PJ : wasn't expecting a definite announcement - England seemed to have some daft idea in the first two games that keeping their plans a dark secret might unsettle Australia : that worked brilliantly Smile

Burns dumped and Hameed kept ? Hmm. Suppose Crawley has shots so doesn't matter if Hameed just defends - provided both actually do so for more than the usual three or four overs...

And no Broad but a Leach again : Warner probably won't complain. And that tail wouldn't look out of place on a Diplodocus ...

Ah well. Guess that is how the darts hit the board so good luck to them all Smile

The weather is fine...

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Post by JDizzle Sat 25 Dec 2021, 12:30 am

Think that is probably England’s best (most balanced for sure) bowling attack. A lot of pressure on Leach though - if he can’t even hold up an end it could be a long few days for the seamers.

Long tail. Although maybe not as crucial in Australia where you need 400+ compared to England where 250 is a decent score. When it is that 400+ you need, the cameos of 20 are less crucial - the top riser needs to get the big runs.

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Post by Duty281 Sat 25 Dec 2021, 12:43 am

Change of tack from England to announce their team early. Maybe they think naming a side 24 hours in advance is the way to win tests, it has worked for Australia.

Can't get excited about Crawley's selection. I know his height and subsequent high hands are spoken of warmly, but this is a level too far for him at this stage. Bairstow ditto. Keep returning to the failures of the past. Bowling as expected. Broad will be disappointed to miss out as he has decent stats at the MCG (8 wickets @25), but Anderson's stats here are even better. It is a long tail but that's the least of my concerns!

Just hope England can be vaguely competitive. The past two games have been hammerings and rather dull to watch as a result. I remember in 2006 in the third test, England briefly threatened a series fightback by bowling out Australia on the first day for 250-odd, Harmison getting Ponting and Panesar with five. Nice to have something similar tomorrow

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Post by king_carlos Sat 25 Dec 2021, 7:40 am

alfie wrote:Oh !  Thanks PJ : wasn't expecting a definite announcement - England seemed to have some daft idea in the first two games that keeping their plans a dark secret might unsettle Australia : that worked brilliantly Smile

Burns dumped and Hameed kept ? Hmm. Suppose Crawley has shots so doesn't matter if Hameed just defends - provided both actually do so for more than the usual three or four overs...

And no Broad but a Leach again : Warner probably won't complain.  And that tail wouldn't look out of place on a Diplodocus ...

Ah well. Guess that is how the darts hit the board so good luck to them all Smile

The weather is fine...
That run out must have really stuck in Warner's mind then.  Wink

During the hoopla around Broad being left out in T1 my feeling was that Broad would struggle to have much impact with the Kookaburra, in these conditions and at this stage in his career. He was certainly better than Woakes in T2 but I don't think Broad at his most threatening in Adelaide offered more than Robinson has. Despite bowling defensive lengths in the first innings he didn't offer the control of Anderson or Robinson either.

He's a brilliant bowler and still lethal in the right conditions but at 35 Broad is no longer the horse for this course!

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Post by GSC Sat 25 Dec 2021, 8:22 am

Famous last words but not entirely sure what the point of bringing back Bairstow again is.
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Post by sirfredperry Sat 25 Dec 2021, 8:27 am

My views on the Hameed/Burns conundrum can be read in an earlier post.

In a stronger, winning side, Bairstow would not get a look in. But this is a weak, losing side and there's plenty of room for a guy who has scored more than 4,000 Test runs.




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Post by msp83 Sat 25 Dec 2021, 9:02 am

If Richardson has a bit of an injury, makes sense not to risk him. Don't know much about Boland, but he'll be playing in his home ground... But why have they dumped Neser after just the one game? Didn't do much wrong...
As for England, Mediocre Pope goes out for a slightly potentially better and more experienced Bairstow, but he's not really a long-term fix. But in the immediate, think that's a fair enough call. Pope isn't cut out for test cricket at this stage of his career...
Burns for Crawley, think the only thing they got right was that they didn't drop Hameed when they decided to drop an opener. Crawley is all too flash and less substance again at this stage. I'd have continued with Burns myself, but wouldn't mind really as he hasn't really made a case for himself, its more about Crawley not at all making a case for a recall, and Burns being the only other batter for England this year to put together a couple of decent test innings, other than Root.
Feel for Broad though, thought he was the best England seamer on show in the last test despite Robinson's wickets, and Anderson showing up very late in the innings. Would have Broad over Anderson for the 3rd test...

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sat 25 Dec 2021, 9:55 am

king_carlos wrote:
alfie wrote:Oh !  Thanks PJ : wasn't expecting a definite announcement - England seemed to have some daft idea in the first two games that keeping their plans a dark secret might unsettle Australia : that worked brilliantly Smile

Burns dumped and Hameed kept ? Hmm. Suppose Crawley has shots so doesn't matter if Hameed just defends - provided both actually do so for more than the usual three or four overs...

And no Broad but a Leach again : Warner probably won't complain.  And that tail wouldn't look out of place on a Diplodocus ...

Ah well. Guess that is how the darts hit the board so good luck to them all Smile

The weather is fine...
That run out must have really stuck in Warner's mind then.  Wink

During the hoopla around Broad being left out in T1 my feeling was that Broad would struggle to have much impact with the Kookaburra, in these conditions and at this stage in his career. He was certainly better than Woakes in T2 but I don't think Broad at his most threatening in Adelaide offered more than Robinson has. Despite bowling defensive lengths in the first innings he didn't offer the control of Anderson or Robinson either.

He's a brilliant bowler and still lethal in the right conditions but at 35 Broad is no longer the horse for this course!

Sorry KC but I totally disagree, I thought Broad was our most threatening bowling in T2 (figures do not reflect this), and his spell at the start of day four was probably the best by an England seamer so far this tour. Not sure he could’ve got in the XI over Robinson though, just for the perceived “batting” disadvantage but I certainly wouldn’t have moaned if he played and Jimmy sat on the sidelines.

Anyways, Merry Christmas to all and let’s hope Santa brings us a good game this time!
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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 25 Dec 2021, 10:30 am

Glad to see Jonny Bairstow back!

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Post by alfie Sat 25 Dec 2021, 6:13 pm

Agree with Olly about Broad - he had no luck in Adelaide .  But I think the attack selected for this one isn't bad - although I have my doubts about Leach which I really hope he will dispel...

Lord knows if the batting changes will help. Suppose they can hardly do worse ; and while it is true Crawley and Bairstow may be disadvantaged now by coming in "cold" , they'd be even colder if left to the next match...can't hurt to have a change or two while the series is still "alive".

Hoping desperately for a win against the flow to keep this ticking into the New Year. Melbourne is one of the better venues for England so maybe...crossed fingers...

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Post by Duty281 Sat 25 Dec 2021, 10:39 pm

Some light rain falling at the MCG. Possibly a delayed start. Probably a bowl-first morning, especially with all the grass on the wicket.

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Post by king_carlos Sat 25 Dec 2021, 11:09 pm

Duty281 wrote:Some light rain falling at the MCG. Possibly a delayed start. Probably a bowl-first morning, especially with all the grass on the wicket.
Green wickets in Australia are still good batting tracks I tend to think. It'll usually do a bit early with the Kookaburra then get much easier after 20-25 overs. If there's a bit of green it does a little bit more in that early period but no drastic difference. Usually I think the small benefit of bowling first with a bit more seam is offset by the disadvantage of having to bat in the 4th innings. If it's a close game that is!

That's where the talk of batting being a terrible decision at the Gabba annoyed me a bit. It swung very briefly, seamed around until the ball softened, then looked very nice for batting. All exactly what you expect from an Aussie pitch. England just batted direly in that 1st innings.

It's not like a green top in the Britain with the Dukes where it's going to go everywhere. If there's been rain in Aus you get that tinge of green on top but the wicket underneath is usually still rock hard.

As for overcast conditions that I've noticed a few pundits mention. I'd put absolutely nothing on overhead conditions with the Kookaburra!

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