Ashes Party Selection Time

21 09 2010

With the news that the Ashes party announcement has been brought forward to this Thursday slowly filtering through; we here at the Compulsive Hooker thought we would select our squad for the tour. In past years the squad announcement would have been a time of much speculation and worry for everyone involved – including the fans. With the advent of central contracts and the national side increasingly resembling an elite club there is actually not much mystery about who Andy Flower and company will pick (and therefore perhaps little point in this article!). In actual fact you would probably get very short odds from a bookmaker that tour party would be as follows:

Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Bell, Morgan, Prior, Davies, Broad, Finn, Anderson, Shahzad, Bresnan, Panesar, and Swann.

Where we believe this series is going to be won and lost will be in the bowling attacks and with this in mind we do have a couple of worries relating to the bowling selections. We have no problems with Finn, Anderson and Broad as our premier seam attack despite the old argument that, due to the Kookaburra ball and conditions in Australia being unsuited to English type bowlers (i.e. little swing available), England will struggle to take the required 20 wickets to win a game. The interesting thing when you look at this argument is that most people are of the opinion that Australia will pick Ben Hilfenhaus – a man whose primary weapon is swing! Couple this with the fact that Broad and Finn are typically un-English bowlers (i.e. hit the deck and move it off the pitch at pace) and suddenly the balance of the attack is almost identical to Australia’s.

It is when we consider the two reserve seam bowlers that we start having a few worries. Shahzad and Bresnan will likely be the selection by Flower and company, yet, as we have said before, the prospect of Bresnan running in at the WACA (or indeed any Australian wicket) gives us nightmares.

Bresnan is your quintessential hard working English swing bowler, a working mans Matthew Hoggard if you like, and toiler though he is, we have a horrible feeling that he will be destroyed in conditions where he will get no assistance. There are several seam bowlers who have had good seasons including Woakes from Warickshire, Harris from Glamorgan and England discard Tremlett, now of Surrey. With his height and bounce we would be inclined to have a look at the latter although we feel it is highly unlikely that the selectors would go down this route. Shahzad would definitely get the other slot as he showed enough fire and venom in his appearances this Summer to suggest he could potentially develop into a latter day Simon Jones.

Graeme Swann is of course an automatic pick for the front line spinners berth and is the one selection in which we are comfortably ahead of Australia. Hauritz, honest operator though he is, is no match for a bowler who is clearly the best spinner in the world at the moment. The reserve spot is again a tricky one and with Panesar having a 50 wicket season in Division 2 for Sussex, he would seem to be the obvious selection. Our pick however would be for Shahzad’s Yorkshire colleague, Adil Rashid, who has had an even better one finishing in the top 5 of the Division 1 wicket takers. There is always a worry that by exposing a young leg spinner to the might of the Australians it might set their development back, but in our view, he will definitely play at some stage and therefore why not now when his confidence is high after an excellent domestic season.

The seven batting spots pick themselves with Bell taking Morgan’s place in the top six although quite honestly we would almost be tempted to pick Morgan ahead of Collingwood at the moment. England have had a difficult time of it this Summer against an excellent swing attack, but we feel that with the Australian attack holding fewer demons than the Pakistani, they should have no problems scoring enough runs this Winter.

It is crucially important that KP returns to his best form as he is the one genuine star in the line up and despite his recent poor form we have few worries on this front. KP is a player who relishes a contest and raises his game when the stakes are highest and with that in mind we believe he will score plenty of runs.

If injuries occur the Lions will be in Australia and with the youthful riches of Adam Lyth of Yorkshire and James Hildreth of Somerset to name but two, as well as the better known quantities of Hampshire colleagues Adams and Carberry for example likely to be involved, we have confidence that the quality back up will be there if necessary.

Therefore the Compulsive Hooker’s squad would be:

Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matthew Prior, Steven Davies, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Jimmy Anderson, Ajmal Shahzad, Chris Tremlett, Adil Rashid and Graeme Swann.

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9 responses

21 09 2010
Will Buck

Agreed on Tremlett and Rashid and I hope we pick the compulsive hooker’s squad!!

21 09 2010
Bradders

Amazing – not even a word of dissent! Cheers for commenting.

21 09 2010
Chris Allen

Perfect selection,

Your views on 2 all in the present one day’ers with Pakistan, one game to go and Botham and others calling again for the competition to end now. Is it just loss of income that prevents doing just that? Or has this competition got any validitiy at all….

21 09 2010
Bradders

I’ll probably write something later on this Chris!

21 09 2010
James Parrett

Alec Stewart said yesterday he’d heard James Tredwell would be filling the 2nd spinner berth…

21 09 2010
Bradders

Hi Pol, well I hope not. Got nothing against Tredwell and think he’s developed into a very decent bowler but I would rather the second spinner do something different with the ball – i.e. turn it the other way which both Panesar and Rashid offer. I like Rashid though as he’s a wrist spinner and therefore may quite enjoy bowling on the bouncy pitches in Australia. Who do you want in?

21 09 2010
James Parrett

I almost agree with you mate! I don’t rate Tremlett as an int’l bowler, plus he’s too similar to Broad and Finn. I like Woakes but he’s too green for now. I like Shahzad a lot too.

Bres will get the nod i expect, he’s got serious potential with the bat and Flower loves a tail that wags. He’s not an amazing bowler but he’s such an honest cricketer and my admiration for him has definitely grown since last year.

I do like Rashid but the way he’s been handled and his own behaviour is just poor. I hope he does go to Oz but i’d be surprised if he does. Tredwell’s batting again puts him up there. I’d prefer Monty but Flower thinks he’s a clown.

21 09 2010
Jonathan

I think your comment on the exposure of Rashid is valid; it seems that the England set up have been ‘protecting’ him for a couple of years now. How much longer does this go on? If he never plays, we willnever know how good he can be; the time is now, throw him in! He has had a great start to his career with Yorkshire, and he can bat a bit too!

I read the same comment that Pol refered to, personally don’t think he has the variations needed for test cricket.

Agree with your selection, but disagree with your comments on Bresnan, look back at his play in Bangla earlier this year; woeful bowling pitches and non condusive conditions, the boy played his heart out got a few wickets but more importantly was the man to hold up an end and help the other bowlers out.

21 09 2010
Bradders

Cheers for your comment Jonathan – guess we’ll have to disagree on Bresnan then!

Rashid must go though, totally agree, as he is potentially a top class player. I think he can bat more than a ‘bit’ as well as his improving record shows. If we were India or Pakistan he would probably have played 50 ODI’s by now and a couple of tests and whereas it is true that can sometimes ruin a young player – as you say we’ll never know if he doesn’t play soon!

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