tapped the keyboard and brought forth:
>So who captains the side? If Flintoff's not ready for T1 vs Pakistan
>then do you persist with Strauss? Or do you give it to Trescothick?
>Or, if worst case shows in the next week that he'll have to have
>surgery (which would then sideline him for the Pakistan series) do you
>make a left turn and consider one of the county captains who is a
>batsman legitimately in the mix on the periphery of the test squad
>(i.e. Vikram Solanki [Worcs] or Robert Keys [Kent, England A])?
I'd prefer it if they made up their minds to appoint Strauss. He did a
pretty reasonable job as captain of Middx before being called up for
>I guess for now Geraint Jones keeps his WK spot (though his batting
>has dropped off enough that Read or Prior should get serious
>consideration IMO), leaving two positions.
>There has to be a third strike seamer (making Collingwood the tie-down
>an end medium pacer change bowler), who is probably Plunkett based on
>the SL test series, but I'd be open to other suggestions beyond
>Mahmood (who has pace but not much else yet in his favour).
>So the last slot is that of an all-rounder or another specialist
>batsman? If it's a specialist batsman then I think it's Bell based on
>his solid showing in the ODI games vs Ireland and SL. He can also
>deliver some useful stock-bowler medium pace in a pinch for a few
>overs while the quicks are resting. What if Key or Shah strikes an
>impressive ton for England A vs Pakistan? Should that push them ahead
>of Bell in the selector's depth chart?
Shah, possibly; Key, let's hope not. Even so, I'd agree that Bell is
the next cab on the rank.
>What about this Dalrymple chap? He delivered some very solid
>performances in the ODIs vs Ireland and SL, and is more than just a
>guy that bats and bowls decently from what I've read about him. He's
>very promising, and seems a pretty cool customer, but is he test match
>quality? Maybe one of you that has seen him play a few times can offer
I don't think you can know whether a bloke is Test class until he's
played some Tests. Some players who don't look all that special in
county cricket blossom in a Test side, whereas others who are ***
in county cricket can play Tests and struggle.
That said, I doubt that Dalrymple is a Test class player. Maybe in a
few years time when his spin bowling has improved a lot (or he bats so
well that he starts batting in the top four for Middx on a regular
basis), but I don't think he's ready now.
>My guess right now is this lineup for T1 vs Pakistan, with the
>captaincy staying with Strauss for now for continuity:
>2) Strauss *
>7) G. Jones +
>Which is probably going to be the core eleven around which the Ashes
>touring party will be built (plus a fit Flintoff of course). What I
>don't like about it is that it only has 4 recognized specialist
>bowlers, seems a bit thin in the proper strike bowler area without
>Freddie (which the ODIs have shown up). Which is why I keep thinking
>about Dalrymple, especially if the wicket looked like there might be
>potential for some turn. In which case does England drop the 3rd
>strike bowler (Plunkett), inserting Dalrymple at #7, dropping Jones
>down to #8, which gives much greater batting depth but puts a huge
>weight on Harminson and Hoggard. Or more likely displace Bell with
>Pietersen and Collingwood moving up to #4 and #5 with Dalrymple in at #6?
>I haven't even got as far as contemplating another quick bowling
>all-rounder to fill-in for Flintoff. Someone like Bresnan, for
>example, who should be in the mix for Pakistan and the Ashes tour,
>especially if Freddie's ankle has to be operated on. Huge shoes to
>fill. Who else might be a seriously viable candidate?
I have been banging on about Bresnan for a few years now, but he
wasn't really on my list of likelies for this season. I thought of him
as being more in the frame for about 2008.
There was a theory that Rikki Clarke could become a Fred-alike, but
his bowling hasn't improved enough over the last couple of years to
make that at all likely.
Your XI looks a pretty likely one, as Collingwood, Tresco and KP can
all at least turn their arms over, and I suspect that we will have to
muddle through with them as the fill-in bowlers.