Saturday, 22 July 2006


The Second Test starts on Thursday with Andrew Flintoff being an injury doubt again. We seem to have had a whole swathe of injuries that get treated and improve, only to reappear in even more dangerous form. I wonder what causes these relapses?

This also leaves us with a problem. Assuming for the moment that Fred does not play, what can we do? It isn't fair to drop either Cook, Collingwood or Bell, but we do need an extra bowler. We could drop Trescothick, who has not passed 50 since the first innings of the summer, but that is very unlikely. The bowlers we have simply lack guile, force, and accuracy unless the pitch helps them. Simply replacing Plunkett for Mahmood won't do, it just leaves us more or less where we are now. And Jones is becoming a serious issue in the lower middle order. Here was a keeper originally selected because of his batting (and, I think, because TeamEngland -yuk- don't like Chris Read much) who cannot now bat, it seems. The fielding is also in decline; Panesar, Cook and Plunkett are no use in the field even if it helps having Bell back.


For me, Panesar makes way as a useful bowler but not yet a matchwinner, and too much of a liability elsewhere. Pietersen has shown he can bowl spin so I'd treat him as the fifth bowler.
It's not perfect but it might be sharper than the previous team, if only very slightly.

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