Anorak News | A Chance Missed

A Chance Missed

by | 14th, August 2003

‘IF England’s selection of three non-capped players for the third Test which starts at Trent Bridge this morning was supposed to galvanise their supporters, it has failed.

England resort to desperate measures

With Graham Thorpe ruled out by injury (but unlikely to have been selected anyway), Ed Smith deserves a chance in the middle order as the form batsman in county cricket.

But a fast bowling line-up of James Anderson, Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff and either James Kirtley or Glenn Chapple is unlikely to have Graeme Smith trembling in his pads.

In fairness, the selectors did not have a huge amount of options given the injuries to Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones, Richard Johnson and James Ormond.

But it is hard to see how Chapple can be the right option, given his lack of wickets for Lancashire this season.

As for the rest of the team, the selectors have really missed a trick in keeping both former captains Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain in the fold.

With Thorpe unavailable, Hussain’s place was probably saved by the need for experience in the batting line-up.

But Andrew Flintoff’s improved form with the bat this season which culminated in his excellent ton at Lord’s made it the perfect time to say goodbye to Stewart.

Stewart has been a fine servant to England over the past two decades and has been the side’s premier all-rounder for a number of years.

But the appointment of Michael Vaughan as Test captain should be occasion to usher in a new era in English cricket – and it is an era to which Stewart does not belong.

Chris Read, who played so well in the one-day matches, deserves his chance this summer.

He may not be as accomplished a batsman as Stewart, but he is a useful No.7 and has done little wrong behind the stumps for England.

By retaining Stewart, England are only prolonging the inevitable but doing so at a cost.

The selectors talk about consistency of selection, which is an admirable trait at the right time.

With a new captain at the helm, having come off a successful one-day series and a disastrous start to the Test series, this unfortunately is not the right time.

Posted: 14th, August 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink