Classic ECB. Only taking two openers? Mistake. Taking Ballance to face the team that found him out? Wrong. Taking a batsman that has a problem edging behind? Brainless. Taking a spinner that has barely played a first class match? Baffling.
The only decision that they've got right for my money is Foakes. But watch them screw that up by not playing him at all, when they could (should) play him at 7, thereby freeing Bairstow of the gloves and allowing him to do what he does best (scoring runs).
Taking Crane seems a reasonable shout but he won't play. No idea what Rashid or Hales have to do to get in the squad, Hales ability to open as well as play at 5 makes him a no-brainer in my mind. Ballance is obviously only there because he's Root's mate. Foakes won't play unless Bairstow picks up an injury. Surprised by Overton over the likes of Finn or Plunkett. Also, is Mark Wood injured?
Drumstick wrote:I don't think they have faith in Wood's body being able to hold up for the series.
Based on the squad they've chosen, I'd go with Cook, Stoneman, Vince, Root, Bairstow, Stokes, Foakes, Woakes, Broad, Anderson for the first test.
But they won't. They'll bat Vince at 3 and Ballance at 5.
I know the Aussies aren't as good as they used to be but I'd probably go with 11 players instead of 10 to maximise our chances.
I think they'll go with Cook, Stoneman, Ballance, Root, Stokes, Malan, Bairstow, Ali, Woakes, Broad, Anderson which I personally think leaves us short of bowlers. They may replace Malan with Crane if the pitch looks like it'll take spin (unlikely).
Not defending the situation (I haven't even seen the video footage yet as it won't play on my work computer) but the report says that one of the guys who ended up on the floor begins the video by swinging a bottle? There may be mitigating factors. Still incredibly bloody stupid to get involved in any way, shape or form and to go out on the piss during a series.
Word seems to be coming out that the altercation was due to the people he punched being homophobic and aggressive to two other people. This would tie in with the fact that one of them is swinging a bottle at the start of the video. Could just be their choice of defence but is plausible enough.
Time for some GR praise for a true cricketing hero. A one club man who in his last game, with his team 65-5 in response to the oppositions score of 565, comes in and scores 124, thus saving a draw and gaining his team promotion.
Chris Read, I salute you. And you got nowhere near the number of England caps you deserved.