What narks me most about this heavy defeat is it’s depressing inevitability, and the fact that even a two pence so called pundit like me could have called it this way.
The inertia within the batting line up resulting from a thumb sucking comfort zone mentality, results in the afflictions of the ‘Nineties being repeated here where a guy comes under pressure, produces a score and then phew, place secured for a few more games.
I exempt KP and Cook from this list, but Strauss and Bell are prime examples of people who only seem to do the business exceedingly sporadically.
The problems with the batting are exacerbated when Broad’s place seems to be determined by his ability to get runs at eight. This subconsciously releases a bit of pressure from the top and middle order who think that it is less important for them not to get out as there are guys below who will bale the side out.
I’m feeling miffed at the moment so my message to the selectors regarding the tail getting runs is this; bollocks. If you are relying on your number eight to get runs, you might as well pack up and go home.
Five batters, five bowlers and a wicket keeper. Capish?
If one of your bowlers, in this case Flintoff, and your keeper (Foster for me) can get big runs, then that’s a bonus. You should NOT be letting ability with the willow affect selection unless it’s too close to call between two candidates.
We have to take twenty wickets, that’s how it works in Test cricket so to heck with fiddling about, pick the best bowlers and keeper, batters in form and let’s see what happens…
We have the small matter of the Ashes this time next year so what I suggest must be taken with this in mind.
Michael Vaughan has been the best English Test skipper since Mike Brearley and the way he steered us to glory in 2005 ensures his place in cricket is secure, but there is no room for sentiment. If we are honest his batting has been horribly out of touch and he seems incapable of producing a big knock at a crucial time, and some of his dismissals have been frankly embarrassing, as if his eyes have failed to pick the line of the ball.
Therefore it time for him to go. His replacement should be Andrew Strauss who I feel would come alive again given the responsibility, which he coped with brilliantly in 2006 against Pakistan.
Starting Eleven v S. Africa Third Test.
Denley, Cook, Strauss©, Pietersen, Shah, Flintoff, Foster (WK), Sidebottom, Anderson, Tremlett, Panesar.
The urge to promote Adil Rashid MUST be resisted and whoever served the wine when Miller and Giles selected Pattinson should be traced and if need be, eliminated.