Anorak News | Strange Selection

Strange Selection

by | 20th, August 2003

‘IT is hard to fathom England’s selection policy at the moment with Martin Bicknell’s inclusion in the squad for tomorrow’s Fourth test coming as a surprise to the man himself.

All bowled out

It is ten years since the Surrey bowler won the second of his two England caps and, by his own admission, he is probably a bit past his prime now.

There is little doubt that Bicknell’s inclusion is motivated by England’s long list of bowling injuries to which Steve Harmison is just the latest addition.

And so perhaps we should read nothing into it other than England needed a stop-gap with the ability and experience to jump straight into Test cricket.

Like Ed Smith, Bicknell has been picked on his performance in county cricket, although the older man has produced the goods over many years and can consider himself unlucky only to have got two caps.

That is a good thing as it will encourage other county players to believe that they can force their way into the selectors’ thoughts by weight of runs or number of wickets.

However, it is hard to discern a strategy in England’s selections over the past few seasons, particularly in the bowling department.

Players are frequently picked and discarded without even being given a chance to show what they can do.

It was only the retirement of Darren Gough and various injuries that allowed James Kirtley to shine at Trent Bridge.

In fact, there is a feeling that there is something temporary about selection throughout the summer from the moment Darren Gough was picked to play in the first two Tests.

Alec Stewart’s knock in the first innings in Nottingham may have been crucial, but the fact that we know he is on his way at the end of the summer undermines his position in the side.

Nasser Hussain is in transition from captain back to top order batsman, but it will take some time before that is complete.

And then there is the problem of what to do about Graham Thorpe, England’s most talented batsman.

We are not good enough to continue to leave him out, but bringing him back makes the middle order start to have veteran status.

Key to the future, however, is surely Andrew Flintoff, who has developed into an excellent first-change bowler but needs to convince us all that he can bat at No.6.

Headingley would be as good a place as any to start.’

Posted: 20th, August 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink