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    February 26, 2006

    England's captaincy crisis

    Marcus Trescothick is back in England and the team management is non-commital on whether he will be back in time for the Nagpur test. Michael Vaughan's dodgy knee has not yet healed and we will only know in a couple of days whether one of the reinforcements will play the test.

    If Trescothick and Vaughan do miss the game, it leaves England with a choice between two Andrews, Andrew Flintoff and Andrew Strauss, to name as captain. Atherton had, a few months ago, indicated that he preferred Strauss. But David Graveney, chairman of selectors, was emphatic that Flintoff would be the choice.

    Meanwhile, Simon Wilde, either in desperation or with tongue firmly in cheek, recommends a knighthood to the OBEs, MBEs and other award winners, in case England do manage to win the series.

    Now, all of a sudden, Vaughan's excuse about a young side doesn't seem so thin.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:23 PM |
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    5 sledge(s):

    Indeed. If we take the likely team (now that Simon Jones is doubtful) to be Strauss, Cook, Bell, Collingwood, Pietersen, Flintoff, Jones, Blackwell, Hoggard, Harmison, Panesar, then we have:
    - 211 Tests played between them.
    - Only Andrew Flintoff has played more than 50 Tests.
    - Hoggard is the only other player to have played more than 40 Tests.
    - Eight players have played less than 25 Tests, five have played less than 10, and three would be making their debut.
    - The average age is 26. No one in that XI is older than 29.
    - If we expand to international experience in general, then only Flintoff has played more than 100 internationals. Five players have played less than 50.

    I'm still optimistic, though. At least Andrew Flintoff won't (hopefully) over-bowl himself or Harmison.

    By Anonymous Geoff (27-Feb-2006, 6:43:00 PM)  

    I was hoping that England plays its full team! Now, if (veru likely they will!) they lose the series they will have tons of excuses!

    Talking abt England, read somewhere, that Darren Gough considers himself to be one of the best death overs bowler! What a joke!

    By Anonymous Anonymous (27-Feb-2006, 10:12:00 PM)  

    geoff: Correct, England will be really short on experience. But the Indian side will also look a little odd. Although I thought we'd pick Chawla, I reckon it'd expose us to not having any seam bowling backup after 15 overs with the new ball. So while I now think we should go in with 3 quicks and 2 spinners, India will, in all likelihood, go in with 2+2. Now look at the experience: Dravid, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Laxman, Kumble and Harbhajan contribute nearly 500 tests. But the other five in the team contribute 42 among themselves. I'm not saying that the Indian team is inexperienced, but certainly there's a major part of the side which is, given the churn that is happening in the quick bowling (omitting Zaheer, Agarkar, Nehra and bringing Sreesanth, Vikram Rajvir and Munaf into the picture) and the middle order (omitting Ganguly and bringing in Yuvraj, Kaif & Raina in).

    anonymous: Never underestimate the opposition. There've been several instances of replacement players doing quite well, and underdog teams being successful.

    By Blogger Jagadish (28-Feb-2006, 10:44:00 AM)  

    That's part of my optimism - it's worth noting that England still have three out of their first-choice four quick bowlers, and that these three are the most experienced players in the side. If the spinners can avoid getting hit out of the attack (either by emulating Giles or by taking wickets), then England's bowling should still be capable of putting pressure on India.

    I was looking forward to seeing some of the new Indian pace bowlers, but with the pitch as it is and England's depleted batting line-up, I'm not sure how much we'll learn about them now. I do hope England get to work on Dhoni as effectively as they did Gilchrist.

    Realistically, as India were favourites before the injuries, they are still favourites now. England will, I would imagine, look to make a good fist of it in the first two Tests, perhaps sneaking the Mohali match, and go for the draw in Mumbai. It's not impossible, just difficult.

    By Anonymous Geoff (28-Feb-2006, 1:13:00 PM)  

    geoff: If the maxim of 'bowlers win you test matches' is true, (as if bowlers can win you tests when the batsmen have given you 100 runs in each innings!) then England aren't doing all that badly, like you say. England's plan will be to hang in there, and then do an ambush, like they did to Pakistan in 2001.

    By Blogger Jagadish (28-Feb-2006, 8:49:00 PM)  


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