Friday, 11 March 2011

Scared Selections

England's selectors are notoriously conservative. They just don't like to make brave calls. Obviously I don't want them to make high risk selection decisions every week, but a calculated gamble would be nice every now and again.

I'm not just talking about the current World Cup. England just don't make big, surprise decisions. The lack of any young, exciting batsmen who've played well at county level in this England ODI side (perhaps excluding Morgan) who've played in the last few years is testament to the fact that they don't like to mess around with the status quo. Prime example - Steve Davies; a player who could be a fantastic attacking wicket-keeper but was unproven, was dropped to make way for Matt Prior, a man who wouldn't be such a gamble, but wouldn't pay off spectacularly as much as Davies could.

If we look at this game (v Bangladesh), England had some big decisions to make. England needed a new opener and a new fast bowler, and could mix the spin-bowling options about. I touted Swann to open - a school of thought that was gathering pace. Opening with Swann would be a gamble, but it could pay off spectacularly. South Africa and a few other nations have had success with three spinners, and there were rumours that England could go that way. However, instead of bringing in Tredwell, England bizarrely brought in Collingwood, a man who is horribly out of form with the bat but is part of the establishment, and as such, is worth playing as he can be "relied upon".

England's scared selections annoyed me. This was a genuine chance to do something bold and exciting, yet the team that was put out was a cowardly choice. Prior, who has failed many times as an opener, was promoted, just because it was the least risky thing for the selectors to do. And Collingwood coming in (and batting at number eight) suggests that they knew Yardy needed to go, but were too scared to pick the mercurial James Tredwell. It seems that the selectors would prefer England to fail miserably (as they have done many times) with a stable eleven, than to roll the dice and risk being attacked for making bad decisions.

Well here's my message to the selectors. Don't be scared. Don't be scared to open with Swann, play Tredwell, or finally put Collingwood out of his misery. Don't be scared to call up Adil Rashid, Jimmy Adams, James Hildreth or even Samit Patel. England may win this game v Bangladesh with Collingwood at 8 and Prior opening, but it's a formula that has been proven to not work against the bigger teams. England will not win this World Cup with this team. Albert Einstein said that the "definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". So selectors. Do something different. Roll the dice. We'll thank you for it when we win the World Cup.

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