Sunday, 4 July 2010

Wright or Wrong?

Yesterday, amongst other things I was doing at Lord's, I watched a bit of cricket. I saw Hussey and Marsh win the game for Australia. I saw Collingwood have a really good go at winning it for England. And I saw the wickets of Wright and Bresnan.

Both are useful bits-and-pieces batsmen. Both hung around with Collingwood in 50+ partnerships. But neither could be counted on to make a Collingwood / Pietersen or Morgan-esque winning contribution on their own. But for Yardy's inexplicable rise to number three, Wright is meant to be England's number 6. A position in the team who needs to make runs. Wright will not make runs. Sure, he'll hit a handy 20 or 30 while keeping someone company, but when the back's against the wall (like it was when he was batting yesterday) he needed to stand up and make an unbeaten 70 or 80. But he didn't.

Wright doesn't get to bowl much - he's only really used as a 'sixth' bowler. Wright isn't good enough to get into the team by virtue of either his batting or bowling. So at number 6, England are playing a specialist "we'll only bowl him if we have to, and he's not going to make many runs" all-rounder. Which begs the question what he's doing in the team. If he's there fulfilling the role as a batsman who can bowl, he's not good enough as a batsman when Collingwood or even Ravi Bopara could do the job much better.

Also at Lord's yesterday; hanging around and looking generally bored (which he has done for the past month) was Steve Finn. Presumably England will want to play him in ODIs at some point, which means he'll either come in like-for-like for a bowler, or for an "all-rounder". England will want to play their new strategy of two spinners (Swann and Yardy), so they're safe. And Broad and Anderson are fairly secure in the side. If Wright is replaced by a proper batsman, Bresnan's place is under fire.

England will be gearing up over the next 12 months for the World Cup next spring, and they'll want to get the balance of the team right. Patently at the moment, the balance is all over the place. England don't need six bowlers (seen in the World T20 when Australia got to the final with four and Watson), so Wright must go. Finn will play at some stage, and the tail of Swann and Broad is plenty strong without Tim Bresnan. So Bresnan must go as well. Wright and Bresnan were big parts of England winning the World T20, as we "got away" with playing only five proper batsmen. We also "got away" with it in the first three ODIs of the series (just). However, the imbalance was exposed by a Shaun Tait-inspired Australia for the final two games, and changes must be made. England are a handy ODI side, but against top quality bowling the batting line up is paper thin. Changes must be made if England are to make it two World Cups in a row.

My England World Cup team

Strauss (c)


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