>He's taken 6 wickets all Summer. Atherton hasn't bowled him as much as he
>could have (but then again this is awkward when you've got four non-spinners
>at the other end.
I think you can put that down to the fact that England is preparing
non-turning wickets to combat Shane Warne. However in doing so they
are also negating Croft, who is even less of a turner of the ball as
>Few would argue about Croft being the best spinner in England.
You'll get no argument from me.
>was so good a few years back (91-92) that he looked set for stardom. But
>possibly due to his antics off the field he lost form and favour and is now
>nothing like as big a spinner of the ball as he was then. Good though Croft
>is, it has to be wondered if this is the best spinner we've got - do we need
Not if you're going to prepare dead wickets which don't turn, better
to have an all-rounder/medium pacer. Unfortunately England lacks a
part-time spinner, what with Athers' sore back and all, otherwise the
selectors might be more keen to go in without a slow bowler.
>Also the Australians have worked out how to dismiss him with consumate ease.
>He's McGrath's bunny. He hasn't played a good shot all Summer and looks as
>though he'll go every ball. McGrath gives him two softeners and then that's
I don't want to be too critical of Croft, because it's hard coping
with a stream of short balls from someone as quick as McGrath - but if
he wants to hold down number eight, he'll need to deal with them. At
the moment he is not, even though he is reportedly a quite handy bat.
>6 wickets in 4 tests and virtually no runs, his place has to be on the line.
>I hope he is dropped and comes back stronger because I don't want him to
>become another Emburey. Again the Australians have spotted a weakness and
>played on it. England rarely do so. If the series was not so desperately
>poised, I'd keep him because he does look like the genuine article, but it
>is so I wouldn't.
The thing that impresses me about Croft is that he is not an Emburey
or Peter Such clone, who lobs in and spears the ball in flat and fast.
He is quite prepared to give it air and lure the batsmen out of the
crease, which is great and should be encouraged...
However he has not been helped, either by the wickets or Atherton's
field placements, which seem to relegate him to a containing bowler
rather than a front-line spinner. He is also, like most off-spinners,
a markedly better bowler to left-handers than right-handers. Australia
has only two leftys in this current XI, those being Taylor (who is out
before Croft even scratches his ***s in the field) and Elliott,
who is generally 40 or 50 before Croft gets a look-in, which makes him
all the more difficult to dismiss. Add to this players such as the
Waughs and Ponting are fine players of spin, particularly off-spin,
and don't have any conceivable problems with Croft on a flat track.