Time for a new captain, openers, middle order…

It just gets worse doesn’t it: England have now lost four wickets, of which only one has actually been got out – Strauss.

It really is time to dump these wasters. As I said in my last piece, the thinking is completely muddled. To think purely in positive terms ia a sign of mental weakness, not strength. True mental strength is the ability to adapt to the situation: to know when to attack and when to defend. Two top-edged hooks by players when two men are already back on the shot is simply not good enough.

So, for the Oval, I suggest wholesale changes, because this group of players has clearly shown that however good they can be to watch (usually for about four overs), they do not have the mental discipline to represent England.

Strauss, Vaughan, and Collingwood have not had a meaningful innings between them in this series while Cook has a horrible technical deficiency on the front foot and an inability to turn his reasonable scores into big ones. Bell is the most frustrating of the lot, desperately pleasing to watch, but having put in one big score for the series, continues to fall apart when reasonably set.

So, in a just world, the only member of the top six to survive to take up arms at the Oval, in a game that will no longer matter in the series, is Kevin Pietersen.

But who do we bring in?

Someone with a bit of hunger. Michael Carberry was knocking on the door early in the season, but hasn’t had a great campaign. Maybe promotion will focus his mind. This after all is a man who has shown his determination to make it as a professional cricketer, much in the same way as Ian Ward, turning rejection into a positive thing.

Ravi Bopara deserves to be given a run, along with Owais Shah; maybe we should get Dawid Malan in to open. Bring Stuart Broad in as a specialist batsman and make KP captain.

The team then I would pick:

1 Carberry

2 Malan

3 Shah

4 Pietersen (capt)

5 Bopara

6 Broad

7 Flintoff

8 Foster/Read (wkt)

9 Sidebottom

10 Panesar

11 Anderson


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6 responses to “Time for a new captain, openers, middle order…

  1. John McNamara

    Malan’s hardly got a run since that 2020 game – he was pushed up to open for Middlesex and lost his form – I think an England call might be a bit early. Surely a more logical choice is Robert Key as opener and captain. And Broad at 6 – his first-class average is about 25 and highest score is 91, it’s madness to consider him as a batsman on the basis of a few good swipes down the order.

  2. John – My point is it’s time for a bit of selectorial madness. The series has gone, so time to look to the future and bed in those players we think have a good one before the Ashes.

    Malan is going to be a class act, while admittedly his recent form up top has not been good, but I agree that Key could be a good call ( a man who I forgot about because he’s been so far off the Test radar, undeservedly perhaps, for so long).

    I think Broad has had more than a few good swipes, and has shown a defensive technique to put some of our supposedly better players to shame. Of course, the additional pressure of being at No 6 and expected to get runs rather than getting runs as a bonus might sort him out, but he has displayed an admirable ability to deal with expectations in his short career to date.

    I think it’s time to go with those players who might not have shown incredible form at county level – after all did Gower, did Atherton once they’d had a taste of the big time or had been stuck on the county treadmill for too long – but may rise to the occasion.

    Personally, I’d have Carberry in simply for his fielding. I haven’t seen anyone to match his speed around the field, his catching ability and his arm for years.

  3. Malan made 132* on his championship debut at the end of June batting at No 5 or 6 (can’t remember which). Middlesex then pushed him up to open and he did sod all for five innings. He then was dropped to 5 again and made a fifty. So… England are bound to select him as an opener. The nice thing about him is that he says he wants to play Tests rather than just Twenty20 – and he was coached by Gary Kirsten, one of the great grinders.

    Key or Denly would be worth a look. And Broad is a No 7 at best. And of course Colly has spoilt it all by having a good knock. He’ll be in for the next three years now.

  4. Pingback: Where now for England? «

  5. Well you’ve done it now Nigel. Vaughan read your blog and has decided to go.

  6. Pingback: New captain, same old England «

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