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Cook for the chop?

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Ben Dirs | 16:39 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

BBC Sport at The Oval

When it comes to Alastair Cook, the England selectors only need to ask themselves one question: would the Australians like to see him walking out to bat on the first morning of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on 25 November? Of course they would - they'd love it.

Which is why England must drop the Essex opener for the fourth and final Test against Pakistan at Lord's next week, certainly if he fails again in his second innings at The Oval.

With 106 runs in eight innings this summer, 25-year-old Cook has been less a walking wicket at the top of the England innings than a shuffling, shambling, groping one - groping at good deliveries, groping at bad deliveries, groping for answers.

"We are all confident he will come good," his Essex mentor Graham Gooch told the BBC before this match began, "he is just one score away from getting back to form and the selectors have done exactly the right thing by showing faith."

But while the accepted wisdom seems to be that Cook is simply out of nick, some who have followed his Test career to date will be asking whether he's not merely susceptible against top-class seam bowling.

Cook's average in 10 Tests against Australia, home and away, is 26.21, with one century. And while he averages significantly higher against South Africa, exactly 44, he has just one ton in eight matches against the Proteas and was given a real going over by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel on a bouncy deck in Johannesburg in January.

Against Mohammads Asif and Amir, arguably the most exacting new ball partnership in world cricket at the moment, Cook has been almost shot-less.

It should also not be forgotten that Cook went into his two previous series against Australia apparently in pretty good touch - he scored two tons and an eighty-odd against the touring Pakistanis before the last tour down under and two tons and three fifties against the West Indies before last year's home series - but that didn't prevent him having a pretty lean time of it against the Aussie attacks.

One of the buzz phrases in cricket is that of "a settled team" and the current England selectors should be commended for standing by players who in the past would have been discarded after a few low scores (Mark Ramprakash springs to mind).

But even the great Australian sides of recent past could be brutal when need be, with both Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer spending extended periods out of the side before returning better players.

Alastair Cook is dismissed at The Oval
Alastair Cook's poor run of form continues at The Oval

And how settled would England's top order be if Cook is retained for Lord's and fails again? Surely better to take the decision that even a settled side can be improved and cast their eyes over the alternatives now, rather than in the heat of an Ashes battle.

"Everyone in the England team knows he is a good player and will come good at some stage," added Gooch. Unfortunately for Cook, "at some stage" is far too vague a timeframe.

One option would be to recall Hampshire's Michael Carberry, scorer of five centuries in 10 County Championship matches this season. England selector James Whitaker witnessed the 29-year-old score 71 against Somerset last week, and Carberry's selection would send a message that county cricketers aren't toiling in vain, below and beyond an England vacuum.

Carberry apparently thinks his Test career is over after one match (he made 30 and 34 against Bangladesh in Chittagong), opining last week that "that ship has sailed".

The chances are he's right, with England far more likely to move Jonathan Trott up the order and slot Ian Bell, currently recovering from a broken foot, back in at number three if a change is made for the Ashes.

It wouldn't be the perfect fit - the presence in the England line-up of Bell, or 'The Sherminator' as he is known to the Aussie players, and not in a nice way, would be unlikely to give Ricky Ponting and Co sleepless nights.

But at the moment you'd have to fancy him to be more productive than Cook, whose lack of mobility at the crease and fragile state of mind would make him particularly vulnerable against a side which has 'mental disintegration' down to an artform.

On a separate point, I was asked the question "Where are all the Pakistani fans?" by a ticket tout as I came through Oval station this morning. "I haven't seen one all day," he added. The plan was to grab a couple of Pakistan fans and ask them, but the ticket tout wasn't exaggerating.

As the BBC's sports editor David Bond has explained on this website, the first day of an Oval Test match was not a sell-out for the first time since 1986.

In years gone by grounds could count on local ethnic communities - whether England be playing Pakistan, India or West Indies - to boost the numbers, but Test cricket appears to be losing its grip.

So I'm interested to know, if there are any Pakistan fans living in England reading this, why is this the case. Is it because this Pakistan side isn't much cop? Is it the lack of marquee stars (no Imrans, no Shoaibs, no Inzamams)? Is it all about Twenty20 nowadays? Have young Brits of Pakistani descent simply fallen out of love with cricket? Or, at between £46-£85 for a day's play, is it just too damn expensive? Let me know.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bendirs1

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Quandary.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's Ramadan, maybe pakistanis (who are mainly muslims) don't feel it would appropriate or convenient to attend?

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Also £46-85!?!?
    I knows its a whole day, so if worked out per hour or compared to a football match its cheaper, but still!
    Test match cricket tends not to be explosive or consistently entertaining throughout the day - so it really doesn't warrant the price.
    I don't know many people who will cough up the money.

  • Comment number 5.

    GONE!

    Cook is finished, at least for now, if not for good.

    Failing against a weak team in home conditions. It doesn't get any easier than this.

    Perhaps England need to call on Trescothic again? Perhaps another South African?

    The selectors need to act now, for the 4th test. During the Ashes is too late.

  • Comment number 6.

    This has to be the end of Cook now, Carberry has been putting in consistent high scores in the domestic format of test cricket, yes the bowlers aren't of international standard but he should at least be given a chance to prove himself. He can be considered unlucky to have been dropped after Bangladesh because he got 2 decent scores that got the team going, whereas Alastair "3 overs" Cook gets in and out quickly.

  • Comment number 7.

    Carberry must be feeling pretty good right now as well as sitting by the phone. I feel the call for him will be coming. Cook is a fantastic batter but lets face it, he is woefully out of form. His footwork has deserted him totally. All this coupled with the fact that he has never looked comfortable against the Aussies may end up in him being dropped.

  • Comment number 8.

    Adam Lyth is in fact the highest placed English opener in the averages, but please don't let England pick him yet. They have done their best to ruin three young Yorkshire players already this year, so I don't want them to get their hands on another. We already have three Saffers in the side, so since I understand that Hildreth is now qualified I suggest that he should be picked to add a bit of Aussie blood.

  • Comment number 9.

    A couple factors have prevented me from coming

    1. The price is one factor
    2. It is the month of Ramadahn and fasting for 17 hours (no food and water) does make it difficult to attend
    3. THe past 2 tests have not really inspired a huge amount of confidence in the team

    I do feel that the ODIs and 20/20s will be a different matter, just like it was with Australia


    But have been following it on tv, what a good day of cricket

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm tempted to say that if Cook was a Yorkshireman, he'd be out on his ear already, as southerners look after their own. But I won't. He needs time to regroup, take himself back to county cricket and get himself in shape. He's a class act out of form, so let's accept that and help him out. We need him in form in Australia and it's not helping him getting knocked over like a skittle by Pakistan every other day. Begs the question, have we got a strategic approach to these issues or is that a daft question?

  • Comment number 11.

    I will be stunned if the selectors realistically think that to solve Cookie's lack of run scoring, can be solved by using Trott as a makeshift opener for the Ashes.

    So we really want to go to the Ashes with a makeshift opener, and a no 3 batsmen who only performs when he is not playing there?! Are we forgetting that Bell has yet to get to 3 figures from the no 3 slot?

    The answer has to be Michael Carberry. He has been excellent throughout the season, and although he didn't set the world on fire in Bangladesh, he hardly disgraced himself. He's got sound technique and has definitely got the temperament. Unless Cookie scores a face saving knock in the second innings at The Oval, Carberry will have to be given the chance - which with some luck he will grasp with both hands and flay the Pakistani bowling.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    It is a big shame that Trescothick has the off-field problems he has; still in form and vastly experienced at opening innings at the highest level. On Cricketing factors alone, he'd be a massive asset for England still.

    But after his latest 'setback' last year when Somerset travelled to Asia for World 20/20 there is zero chance of him going down to Australia this winter even if he were asked.

  • Comment number 14.

    As a Pakistani myself a few reasons

    Price is minor factor but a still factor. The major reason is the current state of Pakistani test cricket. I dont want to pay to watch a poor performance.

    I would gladly pay to watch a day of them bowling as we have a young and very talented bowling line up in Asif, Amir and possibly Riaz. The problem comes in batting which has always been bailed out by our bowlers.
    At this time we have very few players with the patience for test cricket like we used to. Our success in T20 for therfore is likely to get more tickets. Many agree with me in that we can bowl just not bat.

  • Comment number 15.

    i totally agree about Cook. I'm an Essex boy and even i think he should be dropped.
    I'd have Carberry in and let Cook find some form with Essex. The aussies dropped Michael Clarke who will be their next captain and it did him the world of good. i'd do the same to Cook.
    I'd like to see James Hildreth given a go, he's certainly fulfilling his potential this season but it's a pretty good middle order at the moment. and he's from Milton Keynes, which is in England, not Australia

  • Comment number 16.

    pahaa ridiculous to suggest the absence of the inzamans' is the reason ! one word = RAMADHAN
    you try no food nor drink for 17/18 hours and lets see where you are aha :) bad match making by the ECB dare i say ....

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm sure many on this thread want love a fully fit Trescothick to return to the top of the order. When you look at their stats against Australia in Australia, Cook has the slightly higher average and has something Tresco never got: an Ashes century.

    I said on another thread that England dug themselves into a hole over the winter by appointing Cook as captain. Everyone knew he had some technical issues last summer. Instead of a winter spent focusing on these and ironing them out in readiness for the new season and the winter Ashes, he was instead focusing on the demands of being captain. To then go and drop a guy who you backed as captain five Tests ago would be going against the consistency theme. I wonder if there's simply too much that's gone on with him internally and the best thing to do is to let him go for the final Test, even if he scores runs in the final innings here, and go and play for Essex for the rest of the summer. Instead of worrying about England and the winter and all the rest, just let him go out and hit some balls for his county.

    I'd be quite happy with either Carberry or Lyth opening at Lords but they wouldn't be my first choice. The left-field option would be to go for Steven Davies as a batsman only, something I'd totally approve of as I think it's important to give him time with England as he is the number two wicketkeeper in my eyes. Kieswetter isn't ready for Test cricket with the bat or gloves. Who knows, you might find in Davies that we find both a suitable replacement opener and a good back-up wicketkeeper to Prior. I'm positive Davies will go to Australia but it'd be nice to see what he can do for England beforehand.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mea culpa - I don't know why I had it firmly in my head that Hildreth was an Aussie. Since he is above even Lyth in the averages (though of course with the advantage of his home ground being Taunton), he would be an even more natural replacement for Cook. Pity he's not opening for Somerset though.

  • Comment number 19.

    i'm English, but tickets are far, far too expensive

  • Comment number 20.

    Davies is an interesting one, and can't be far away from selection. he's not far of, as are a couple of others but i'd go for Carberry

  • Comment number 21.

    Cook is a quality player who is out of touch - something that cannot be regained by constantly being skittled for little or no runs against Pakistan. He should return to Essex to get back into nick. In the meantime whilst I agree that Carberry would be a viable option, let us not forget his in-form Hampshire team mate Jimmy Adams. Whilst not a household name, Adams is enjoying yet another profitable season at county level, averaging a shade under 40 in both the County Championship and the Clydesdale Bank 40. Meanwhile, in twenty20 he was the highest positioned batsman in the PCA rankings in this season's competition and scored more runs than anyone else in the competition (582 at and average of 41.57) - on this form I believe he should be given consideration at least in the shorter forms of the game.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm afraid, it's the end of A.N. Cook, barring a salvaging second-inning effort!

  • Comment number 23.

    I feel quite sorry for Alistair Cook. He's being constantly vilified in the press and the media. That said, however, it's fairly obvious that he is no longer out of form, so much as totally out of technique. Almost his whole approach to batting is wrong. I think he would do himself a huge favour if he were to resign from the England team on a temporary basis and go home and concentrate on County cricket, while working out his technique. Nasser Hussain made an interesting comment today, that even in his forward defensive shots, he doesn't bend his right knee. This is absolutely a prime part of that particular stroke because it allows the batsman to play the ball close to his body. It's simple things like that which he needs to work on without being under the constant pressure of international cricket and press criticism.

  • Comment number 24.

    Great article Ben. I certainly concur with the sentiments regarding Cook's lack of form. I thought he was a cheap wicket for the Aussies last summer and his pushing for the ball outside off stump will certainly have Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Davies salivating with relish.

    He has one last chance and then I would recall Michael Carberry. He is a good player who has performed really well for Hampshire this season. If county cricketers are not offered an opportunity to get into the Test team when they playing well then what is the point of the current amount of county cricket.

  • Comment number 25.

    Cook's technique has never been great, it's his mental powers that get him runs. his footwork is poor at the moment, and i think some time at Essex would do him the world of good. at the end of last season he played for us and was amazing, scoring hundred after hundred in all forms of the game. this season he's played for us a couple of times and i feel a good innings is all he needs to get going again, but i'd prefer he spent proper time in the middle, say 5/10 games for Essex before pulling on an England shirt again

  • Comment number 26.

    Jimbrant:

    Hildreth might play at Somerset but Taunton isn't the road it was last season. Hildreth stands out in the Somerset averages with 6 centuries. Those figures come into perspective when you consider Trescothick has been in good form and still only has two tons, and the rest of the side have three between them. For Hildreth to score more tons than the entire side combined means there's some real form there.

    Another indicator of how Taunton plays now would come by looking at the bowling stats:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/counties/somerset/averages/default.stm

    Those stats tell you it isn't a batting friendly placid wicket.

    Hildreth scored runs today at Colchester on a wicket clearly doing plenty for the bowlers. To score 84 on a day where 16 wickets fall and nobody else gets above 36 suggests a player in some form.

  • Comment number 27.

    In other tests his low scores haven't mattered too much (as the Top order have covered it), but today was different and started the collapse to 94-7. In Australia this would be fatal.

    I remember Collingwood being 1 innings from the chop, and it feels exactly the same here.

  • Comment number 28.

    The Australians would undoubtedly be delighted to see a makeshift opener coming out for England in November. In the past I have seen players such as Chris Tavare, Derek Randall, and even Mike Gatting become England openers in Tests, against all logic in some cases. When Michael Carberry opened in Bangladesh I must admit that I was one of the sceptics, particularly after two "what if..." innings where he got a start without ever threatening to go on, but maybe it's time to give him another chance on the back of some really solid First Division County Championship form. Unless there is another candidate in Division 1 crying out for selection (and none occurs to me), he is going to be our reserve opener anyway, so we might as well find out whether or not he is up to it now. If Carbery plays in the 4th Test and fails too... well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

  • Comment number 29.

    23. At 8:50pm on 18 Aug 2010, arkancharlie wrote:

    " ... Nasser Hussain made an interesting comment today, that even in his forward defensive shots, he doesn't bend his right knee."

    That comment was accompanied by video showing Cook in the nets before play, where he was shown practising with his right knee bent properly. Nasser went on to say that, practising in the nets is one thing, but with pressure on in an innings is a totally different thing. That, coupled with your comment

    " .. This is absolutely a prime part of that particular stroke because it allows the batsman to play the ball close to his body. It's simple things like that which he needs to work on without being under the constant pressure of international cricket and press criticism."

    suggests that he needs to go back to his county where he can work on these problems.

  • Comment number 30.

    AndyPlowright
    "Taunton isn't the road it was last season"

    Maybe not, but it's a pretty good track. Average first innings score so far this year (in the CC) is 322, if my maths is right. There were two consecutive games where the scores were very depressed (average under 200) - without those the average would be about 385.

  • Comment number 31.

    it's strange really, that England's two openers are both primarily back foot players who don't move their feet well, especially when going forward. Cook looks stuck in concrete at the moment, but neither are front foot players, so they end up getting done in English conditions. they are both actually more suited to playing in Aus with the hard wickets and the bounce.

  • Comment number 32.

    It seems we have short memories. Move Trott to open and bring in Bell? Remember our perennial No 3 problem? Trott's put an end to that.

    We need two specialist openers in test cricket. Go to Australia with a makeshift and it's goodbye Ashes.

  • Comment number 33.

    An interesting selection would be Adam Lyth: 1275 runs this season in CC1 at 55.4, with three centuries and 8x50.

    Michael Carberry has 1055 runs in 2 games fewer, at the almost identical average of 55.5, with 5 centuries and only 3x50.

    Their strike rates are also almost identical (58.6, Lyth; 55.3, Carberry).

    Lyth has passed 50 eleven times in 23 innings, Carberry has done it 8 times in 19 innings.

    Similar records. Carberry is more likely to go on to a big score if he gets in, Lyth is more consistent in accumulating.

    I suspect that Lyth will be a certain pick for the shadow squad, with Carberry the more likely to go with the main squad but, if you want a young batsman in good form, Lyth has made a pretty decent case.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have been to every series Pakistan have played here since 1982 but will not attend to support this team - Why ? Easy - because:
    1) i do not know if i am supporting a genuine Pakistani team working hard for their supporters or a bunch of match fixers ?
    2) Team is not selected on merit but nepotism and favouritism - what has Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Imran Farhat (thank god for getting rid of that Danish Keneira - prob the worst bowler ever to take 250 tickets) ever done for Pak Team except cost us matches ?

    Ps- England shouldn't get carried away with their success - if Pakistanis have held even half the catches England will never have passed 200 in a single innings.

  • Comment number 35.

    I suppose you've not even considered Norman Tebbit. Test cricket has lost its grip but to suggest it's related to the country that is touring's diaspora is fairly crass. Could also it be that £45 for a day of cricket, when a whole months subscription via TV - cheers, Giles - costs as much with coverage of all sports, especially amidst the country being gripped by its worse recession in decades.

  • Comment number 36.

    #35, a former minister who has been out of office for 25 years is the reason why this summer grounds have not filled????

    Abusive prices. Unattractive matches. And a lack of cricket on Free to Air television and, increasingly, in the written press are more likely reasons. Despite everything that you hear to the contrary, crowds are growing at County Championship matches, so people are obviously still interested in the game.

  • Comment number 37.

    Its obvious that the lad's in a bad run of form, the numbers don't lie.
    It seems to be generally accepted that his footwork is currently the biggest problem. So where is the criticism of the coaching staff?
    It's their resposibility to identify and help resolve these issues.
    Boycott calls it every time on TMS and, love him or loathe him, he does know what he's talking about,
    Unfortuately Cook cannot hear TMS when he's out at the crease.
    I'm sympathetic to the idea of giving him the rest of the season to rack up a few county runs and re-develop some technique ahead of a guaranteed Australasian adventure - with some committed and specific coaching.
    Anyway, as a back-foot opener isn't he is likely to prosper better down-under given the nature of the wickets.
    It's a dilemma, for sure.

  • Comment number 38.

    The second innings has to be his last chance. I'm pro-consistency in selection, and haven't been calling for him (or Pietersen) to be dropped unlike many others. However, giving him another go after the summer he has had sends out a bad message to county crickets.

    The England team is not a closed shop by any means (Carberry, Tredwell, Finn, Shahzad, Morgan, Kieswetter and Lumb have all made debuts this year), but a show of confidence can go on too long.

    What happens if Cook fails in the fourth innings and starts the Ashes as he has played this summer? Who do we bring in? Trott is not an opener. Carberry has one played one match against Bangladesh. I know Carberry playing two games instead of one is hardly much of a difference, but it would give him experience against a high quality pace attack (which Pakistan have). Against Bangladesh, he struggled with the spinners (Bangladesh are a very spin-orientated team), but pace is the focus of both Pakistan and Australia.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hmmm... don't really enjoy a hatchet job but Cooks's has really been coming a while.

    After a clasy start to his international career, in the last couple of years he has hidden behind the iffy form of Bell, Colly, Shah and the rest. I'm suprised its taken the hacks (not you Mr Dirs) so long o come round to him.

    The question for me is, why has he been inked in as the next England captain for so long? Surely that decoration needs to be earned?

  • Comment number 40.

    Jimbrant:

    Yes, it's a good wicket. It's a good wicket for bowlers and batsmen. It's not a bowler-friendly place like Edgbaston or Trent Bridge nor is it a flat deck.

    Hildreth's centuries:

    Tons at home: Hampshire, Notts, Yorkshire, Warwickshire.
    Tons away: Kent, Hampshire.

    Also add in 99 against Lancs at Old Trafford. Doesn't back up the idea that Hildreth only scores runs at home.

    If Taunton was as easy as some make out, why haven't others cashed in? If Hildreth's tons were matched by the rest of the team, then you could make the case that Taunton was easy but scoring more centuries than the rest of your team put together is impressive, and even more so when you consider the batting available to Somerset, particularly Kieswetter and Trescothick. By comparison, Carberry has 5 tons with the rest of the Hampshire CC team contributing 5, and Lyth has 3 centuries with the rest of the side contributing 8 more centuries.

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree, Cook is a world class batsman, but is desperately out of form. His footwork is all over the place. If I was Australian, I'd love to see him in the middle this winter, Pietersen also. I'm sure it will only take on big score to get his confidence back, but how long will that take?

    Let him get some form with Essex, and give a young talent a chance on the big stage. I dont really have high hopes of England regaining the ashes with our woeful batting, but give someone who has a bright future a chance an opportunity to gain experience.

  • Comment number 42.

    Don't think there is much point dropping Cook now, I seriously doubt that the Aus will fancy bowling against Carberry less than Cook, the same goes with Bell.

    Personally I think it's too late, too late to giver Garberry more than another lone test to prove himself, and too late to give Cook enough County innings to get back into form. It's a disservice to both players, and even if Carberry does well that doesn't mean he's capable of opening against the Aus.

    It amuses me how you mention Cooks record against the Saffers, and the "working over" he got, yet he was one of our best batsmen in that series! It is a dis-service to him and honesty to look at his stats in isolation of those of his team-mates. Also Cooks only away test average agains the Aus doesn't look great, but again compared to his team-mates from the time it really doesn't mark him out for special critism.

    If Cook is dropped then KP and Strauss should be too, they are all in equally bad form, KP was simply very lucky last match, and Strauss has been all series with the Pakistani's dropping him, had they been Aus fielders he'd have a lower average than Cook. The fact that he's Captain should make no difference, he's not performing with the bat, and for my money he's not even a good enough captain to retain his place on his captaincy skill alone (unlike Vaughan)

    Also a bit of perspective regarding the Aus is in order, what was that imposing total they got against the Pakistanis in the 2nd test? 800? or 80!

  • Comment number 43.

    Prices are frankly ridiculous! The prices for 1 day would be more acceptable for a full game rather than just 1 day.

    Its a shame that 20-20 seems to be becoming more popular than test cricket (in my opinion the only 'true' form of cricket). 20-20 has done nothing but practically ruin the beautiful game. However, money talks.

    As for Cook--get him out of the firing line and call up Carberry--he's deserved it and being discarded after just one test was unfair to say the least. Let Cook get some runs in the championship for Essex--admittedly not the same as a test match but I know from experience that scoring runs is a massive confidence boost. Will he be in the team for the Ashes--at this moment in time it looks unlikely, although I would bet a month's wages that he will be in the Ashes squad.

    Finally, well played Pakistan--top effort.

  • Comment number 44.

    Hildreth? Hales?

  • Comment number 45.

    On the subject of Ramadan, surely this must be affecting the Pakistani players? I presume some, if not all, are Muslim? Are they observing Ramadan, and if so, how is it possible to perform as an athlete under those restrictions; particularly if they can't even drink water? I'd have thought it would be positively dangerous to play sport under those circumstances.

  • Comment number 46.

    I too think it may be time for Carberry. As for the crowds, maybe they are worried about relatives. Seems fair to me!

  • Comment number 47.

    Hildreth's time will come I'm sure, but we need a proper opener. If we stick Bell in at 3 all we're doing is moving the problem as we know he is not a number 3. We can't keep bringning in middle order batsmen and expecting them to play up the order. Carberry is in form and is an experienced opener so lets give him a go.

  • Comment number 48.

    It has to be Carberry! Trott is a banker at 3 at the minute. Bell's had his chance at 3 and hasn't succeeded so why put him back there? Eoin Morgan is only keeping Belly's seat warm for him right now and will surely go to Oz as a back up. He hit a brilliant ton earlier in the series, but I don't think he's ready to kick Bell off number 6 permanently. Trott has to be kept at 3 and Carberry needs to come in. If Morgan wants an Ashes spot then he should be looking more at KP's spot than Bell's, taking KP out to Oz on his current form is more of a risk!

  • Comment number 49.

    Trott at three is a given. I like Belly but he has no cricket and has done well lower down. KP has no cricket, no team and no form. Suggestions?

  • Comment number 50.

    Cook could well get a ton in the next inns then we will all say how he has found form again, who knows.

    Personally im delighted with the state of play which sounds strange as an englishman but given the lack of challenge in the past two tests we finally get to see england with thier backs against the wall, hopefully overcast tomorrow morning and anderson and co can start going through the pakistan order, although i would actually like to see them get a first inns lead so england have to play a bit in 2nd inns with pressure.

  • Comment number 51.

    " dullcomments wrote:

    On the subject of Ramadan, surely this must be affecting the Pakistani players? I presume some, if not all, are Muslim? Are they observing Ramadan, and if so, how is it possible to perform as an athlete under those restrictions; particularly if they can't even drink water? I'd have thought it would be positively dangerous to play sport under those circumstances."

    My guess is they are not fasting. We can make up the fast at a later date or pay a form of charity which i wont explain on here

  • Comment number 52.

    Move on, talk cricket

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree with Ben Dirs, if Cook fails again in the 2nd innings the selectors need to show county cricketers that superb batting and world class fielding that players like Carberry can offer is just what England needs to retain the Ashes. Ian Bell is a dependable middle order player should we need another batsman there. Trott is settling in better than I would have guessed against these superb Pakistan bowlers who are at least as skilful perhaps even better than the current Australian first choice attack.Make no mistakes,these Pakistan bowlers are superb and if only they had world class fielders to give them the catches they deserve England´s batsmen would not be having such an easy ride.
    Australia´s test team would love to see Cook playing in Brisbane and I would bet £100 that if he is ,he wont score more than 25 runs in either innings.I would like to see Carberry getting the chance he deserves as the best available specialist opener, and his fielding will only strengthen England.Ravi Bopara offers excellent bowling options if England correctly stick with a 4 man specialist bowling unit ahead of Ian Bell (who bats as well as Bopara but doesnt bowl as well -not sure about relative fielding talents!).
    Carberry in for Cook with Bopara or Trott as 12th man is my dream England otherwise unchanged squad to start the Ashes in Brisbane

  • Comment number 54.

    @52
    Congratulations to Pakistan on a great days cricket. Comming back from two pretty dreadful performances and, on the basis of today's performance, giving us all a TEST match to watch. Well done.
    Looking forward to a strong bowling performance from England tommorow to bring the match back into balance.
    That would produce a broadly equal outcome to the first innings and all to play for. Like the look of Riaz. A great action with little complication - could be around for a very long time.
    Bring it on.
    The best game in the universe.

  • Comment number 55.

    Agreed with some one earlier about Hildreth. If Carberry warrants a place then so does Hildreth.

    We have seen (ala Ramprakash) that Bell just can't quite hack the big stage that is the ashes. Why risk it again? I can see the live text again mention how he failed to go on to make a score having reached 20-40 runs. Give Hildreth a shot. Even if i means dropping ego first.

    As for Pakistani representation, I would proffer that a minimum £46 per ticket is the main reason. Quite frankly it is exorbitant given the current economic situation. Just another sad example of sport living in another dimension.

  • Comment number 56.

    @55duffy01duffy
    Completely agree with you about cost.
    £46 for a ticket plus cost of getting there and then returning home. Pay for lunch and tea and you must be near to £100 per head, even if you are living near the ground.
    For one days sporting entertainment - crackers.
    Compared to the cost of the entertainment available on TMS it's a "no brainer".
    Keep the radio batteries charged up

  • Comment number 57.

    I think debutant Pakistani bowler Wahab Riaz had better stopped lipping off the batsmen or he could quickly find himself in violation of ICC Codes of Conduct.

  • Comment number 58.

    HI Ben long time reader first time commenter.

    I think that besides the fact that it is the holy month of ramadan most pakistani supporters including me and my family feel disheartend by supporting them in all forms of the game when they lose 5-0 in a test series or when they only make 77 in a test match innings or when they make simple fielding mistakes which you dont even see amature cricketers doing. Also i think that high prices are also a factor

  • Comment number 59.

    Cricket simply cannot afford to price itself out of the market! The powers that be must exercise common sense.

    At the last WC in the West Indies, tickets were priced at $100.00 US each. Then they wondered why the stands were half empty!

    Have they not learned?

  • Comment number 60.

    The reality is that the entire England batting line up should be under question. Runs made against bangladesh bowlers by some have been covering up the truth about the situation.
    Now the batsman are actually facing a decent test attack they are all floundering, with those who have made a score being dropped so often that the runs they made against Pakistan are flattering.
    The bowlers have bowled well and kept the team winning, and even then when they came up against a bangladesh youngster in form they struggled.
    The fielding of England has been consistent, that I have to give them credit for.
    Although I dont rate Cook, neither do I think Strauss, Pietersen, Bell, Trott, or Collingwood are all that special. I think Morgan is the only one in the current crop who looks in some sort of form, and Prior looks to be batting ok.
    The only thing we can do now is adopt the policy of sticking with this current team and taking Bell along as a back up to replace whoever performs the worst. If Cook fails in Australia, open with Trott and bat Bell down the order.
    Trott is an opener anyway, and has been coming in as an opener during Cooks lean spell, as soon as Cook is out he has been in quickly, virtually playing as an opener by default.

  • Comment number 61.

    #55
    "We have seen (ala Ramprakash) that Bell just can't quite hack the big stage that is the ashes."
    Mark Ramprakash averages 42.4 against Aus, and 49.3 in Aus. Not sure that counts as being unable to hack it, against bowlers like McGrath and Warne, particularly when you compare him with players from the same era such as Alec Stewart (30.7 v. Aus), Mike Atherton (29.7 v. Aus) and Trescothick (26.1 in Aus).

  • Comment number 62.

    The other perspective is that in Australia you wont see the wicked lateral movement that has been doing for batsmen of both sides like it has done in this Eng v Pak series. Pietersen, Cook, and Strauss all got unplayable balls that any batsman would have got out to.

    A couple of other English batsmen played at balls outside off stump that they should have simply left. Compared to everyone else though Cooks technique does look particularly poor, especially the way his front leg ends up so straight. Even in Australian conditions he could be exposed with that technique. I think Morgan would really thrive in Australian conditions and if he gets dropped it would be a big mistake.

  • Comment number 63.

    #36

    It was more a case of perhaps them having passed his informal 'test' . .

  • Comment number 64.

    In years gone by grounds could count on local ethnic communities - whether England be playing Pakistan, India or West Indies - to boost the numbers, but Test cricket appears to be losing its grip.

    So I'm interested to know, if there are any Pakistan fans living in England reading this, why is this the case.
    ------------

    Have you forgotten that Pakistan have been playing here all summer with pretty reasonable ex-pat support. Maybe two major series is too much.

  • Comment number 65.

    It's not about being harsh its about doing him a favor - Cook needs runs and confidence and he'll get both in county cricket where the pressure's off and the bowlers aren't so good. He's only 25, a year out of Tests to work on his technique (even go play some grade cricket in Australia perhaps) will only make him better. He's had a charmed run and runs against the likes of Bangladesh just aren't worth enough.

    In his place I'd love to see Tresco, who at 34 is still not past it and only a year older than the likes of Strauss and Colly and still younger than the new saviour of Pakistan, the mighty Mohammad Yousef. But, we all know he won't go. Therefore, I'd play Carberry in the last Test and take him as first choice opener (barring, say, a rabbit-in-the-headlights pair) and leave Trott at three. Carbs is old enough and good enough to handle the pressure. Lyth looks amazing but he needs a run at the start of a series, not a one-off game before being dumped into the middle of an Ashes cauldron. I'd send him off somewhere for the winter and then look at him come next summer.

    IF the selectors do go with Trott as an opener (which I hope they don't), his replacement should come from either Bopara (if he gets runs before the last test), Hildreth (who's playing great this year), or (dare I say it) Ramprakash, who is in great form as usual, older, wiser and has a good record in Australia. But we all know he won't get picked. Most likely we'll have a top six of Strauss, Cook, Trott, KP, Colly, Bell/Morgan, regardless of form. I just hope Prior keeps firing, because he's the best bat in the side at the moment and with that lot above him, on current form, he's going to need a lot of runs, as will Broad and Swann below him.

  • Comment number 66.

    I'm not sure what, or who, the Australians would like to see in the next Ashes series. How many other English batsmen scored a century in the last oh-so-successful Ashes tests in Australia?

    What I do feel confident about is that the BBC vultures are circling.
    If Fabio Capello reads the Cricket pages he probably thinks it must be his birthday. Or Christmas.

  • Comment number 67.

    I've nothing against Carberry at all, but i must pile onto the argument for bringing Hildreth into the reckoning....

    Hildreth has been making runs under pressure for Somerset all season (often following failures above him in the top order). For him not to even be in the mix for a place now is ridiculous. If we're talking about potentially moving Trott into the opening berth, surely he slots into the middle order nicely.

    I also agree that Lyth should be knocking on the door.

  • Comment number 68.

    Agree with a previous poster about Lyth, after the way that Rashid, Bresnan and Shahzad have been handled, England can go and b0ll0ck5 if they're thinking about picking him right now.

  • Comment number 69.

    Cook's batting technique problem that is compounding his lack of confidence is the same as Pietersen's; his stance at the crease is far too wide. This type of stance severely restricts a batsman's ability to move his feet freely to get in line with the ball. Narrow the width to about 9" to 12" and he will have a lot more mobility and get his front leg easily bent over the ball. I agree the comment about the coaching staff and Gooch in particular. I understood they were helping Cook sort out his batting technique during last Winter. If they have then I cannot see any change from last Summer.

  • Comment number 70.

    What about someone like Chris Nash at Sussex? Although he had a slow start to the season, he's really finding some form now, and was superb last year (averaged 57). Plus his spin bowling ability gives us additional variety which may be needed.

  • Comment number 71.

    Its a sad state of affairs; there is no consistent plan to the cricketing summer any more. I remember it used to be 3 Texaco games then the 5 match test series, or in a split summer it was two 3 test match series'. Now We have a jumbled order, exemplified by a 7 match ODI series AFTER the Ashes last year. Pitiful.

    A Pakistani-English work friend went to the Saturday of Edgbaston and said he was shocked at how few Pakistan fans were there, I think the central reasons for this are; 1. Pakistan stand a much better chance in short form cricket than tests, 2. The cost of tickets is prohibitive for a day out with no end result, 3. Pakistan are 'in transition' and as you say have no marquee names at present. They booted out their two best batsman after the Australia tour! 4. Nobody really cares who wins this series, it has no relevance beyond itself and the media Ashes hype machine have underpinned this belief by harping on about the Ashes to the detriment of the actual summer.

  • Comment number 72.

    oh, in addition to my comment above - i didnt even now the test was starting yesterday until i looked on cricinfo to see what the news was. whats with the wednesday start?!

  • Comment number 73.

    With regard to the Pakistani supporters, I suspect it's not as simple as just the price of the tickets. If you were an Englishman living in Australia with the Ashes coming up and some catastrophe of biblical proportions happened somewhere in Britain just before Christmas, would you want to spend the equivalent of £100 per day for you and your wife to watch cricket or would you rather spend that money on helping people back home? And, to continue the analogy, if England were playing worse than they had for years whilst the Aussies were the best Aussie team you'd seen in decades, wouldn't that make your mind up for you? Being surrounded by half-drunk natives whilst you weren't allowed to touch a drop probably wouldn't help either.

    Having said all that, I could be entirely wrong. It could just be that the Pakistanis are rubbish at the moment.

    As far as the Cook argument goes, I would like to have seen Carberry given a chance in this Test with the guarantee of a place at Lords as well. That would have given Cook a little longer with his county and Carberry a little more leeway to produce an innings. Just giving him the Lords Test (assuming he even gets that) isn't enough.

    I think we have to find another opener rather than just shunting everybody up the order because Strauss has as good as said that Bell isn't going to get another chance at 3 and I don't think he'd want it if it was offered. If Carberry can come in at 2 and perform then I really think all we would need is for Bell to come in at 6 (with Morgan replacing KP as necessary) and Broad to get his batting back and we will have, I believe, the best batting line-up I've seen in my lifetime (and I can remember when Boycott did more than mouth off about his mother's cricketing prowess).

  • Comment number 74.

    As as West Australian, nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing Cook walking out at the 'Gabba, never mind the "back-to-its-bouncy-best WACA". That should be enough to force Cook's return to county cricket.

    Mind you, Carberry and Hildreth don't hold much fears either. I still can't believe that with 18 months planning, England are pinning their opening hopes on 1 (or 3 max) innings from Cook - shades of the disastrous soccer World Cup.

    Re: previous post of "Team of Pakistani Match Fixers". NO need to fix this one! CentreBet are quoting England 2.15, Pakistan 2.25 Draw 6.00. Take EVERY penny you have, split it and put 50% on England, 50% on Pakistan for a minimum return of 15%, maximum of 25%. There is NO chance of a draw in this match! In this current climate, 25% return for 3 days investment is the deal of the year!

    Take your return and buy a return ticket to Brisbane in November, and enjoy a 5-0 thrashing!

  • Comment number 75.

    I think if cook fails here, he will be 'rested'. He will be on the tour down under, nou doubt, but it is a big moment for Mr Cook, if he does fail and a replacement does well, he could be struggling to get back in.

    However, lets not forget KP, yes he got 80 in the last match. I mean carlsberg dont do lucky cricket innings but if they did, KP had the worlds luckiest in the last test. He was dropped 4 times and nearly LBW every other ball, so he still needs to deliver.

    As far as a replacement goes, i think i would like to see Lyth at yorkshire given a chance.

    I no one gentlemen earlier posted it would not help him, but its nearing the end of the season and a well earned test call up would be find rewards for scoring the most runs this year.

  • Comment number 76.

    Why over here are tickets so much to go and watch cricket?
    I have got Ashes tickets for the first test in Brisbane and paid 114 Dollars for all 5 days...... That works out to be about 66 quid for a 5 day pass! £46-£85 for a day is just silly!!!
    Sort your pricing out and you will get more people along...
    Anyway bring on the Ashes its going to be a great couple of months!!

  • Comment number 77.

    "But while the accepted wisdom seems to be that Cook is simply out of nick, some who have followed his Test career to date will be asking whether he's not merely susceptible against top-class seam bowling.

    Cook's average in 10 Tests against Australia, home and away, is 26.21, with one century. And while he averages significantly higher against South Africa, exactly 44, he has just one ton in eight matches against the Proteas and was given a real going over by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel on a bouncy deck in Johannesburg in January."

    Most batsmen are susceptible to top class seam bowling, that is why it is top class seam bowling, rather than, say, mediocre seam bowling.

    That 'going over' was during a series where he was one of our stars with the bat.

    I'm not sure how the idea that his problems are endemic explain his poor form starting against the definitely-not-top-class seam bowling of Bangladesh.

    Cooks form is clearly a problem, and we desperately need him to regain form or replace him, but can we not try to draw too many conclusions from what boils down to 4 poor matches so far. It just gets a bit dull the constant roundabout of batsmen that the media decide deserve a kicking. Whose turn is it next?

  • Comment number 78.

    Like some others that have commented here - I never understand why Michael Carberrys name is the only one ever banded about when additional batsmen are required. I like Carberry in the sense he seems to be a much more confident person and has a presence about him at the crease, I'd much prefer to see him in the team than Ian Bell, who while being a gifted player, seems to falable when facing an intimidating opposition.
    There are some prolific players in the County championship this year, and some that are in rich veins of form right now. Why are names like Worcestershires Daryl Mitchell never mentioned? He's got a good few years of county experience, was involved in the England youth set up and has just scored 3 centuries in his last 4 innings on pretty nasty wickets when his team crumbled around him. Same applies to Hildreth, he's in prolific form and he's been knocking on the door for some time?
    I'd like to ask Ben (and the forum too) - If Cook is dropped and Ian Bell brought back into the team, then who do you think should be taken as the extra batsman in the 15/16 man squad for Australia? I expect the obvious answer is Ravi Bopara, but who else do you think should be considered?
    On that same subject, who (if anyone) should be taken as the back up wicket keeper for Australia? Do you think Kieswetter will get the nod, or should it be a more consistent player like Steve Davis?

  • Comment number 79.

    quoting emperor_o

    "My guess is they are not fasting. We can make up the fast at a later date or pay a form of charity which i wont explain on here"

    Thanks for the info, I was genuinely curious. I guess I should do some googling if I want to know more.

    Back on the subject of cricket, although I'm nominally an England fan, it's actually good to a competitive match - only the most rabid fan can enjoy one sided encounters. I hope we go on to win, but if it's done by, say, Cook making a big score in the second innings it won't really clarify selection for the ashes; one ton does not a recovery make.

  • Comment number 80.

    Cook has always been hopeless and he is certainly a thoroughly inadequate replacement for Trescothick. The only decent performance I have seen in put in was a meaningless century in Australia where you guys went down to us 5-0. I think Ricky is right. 5-0 again.

  • Comment number 81.

    Cook should have been dropped for this test and sent back to Essex to get some runs.

    That said, it would have left him at the mercy of 'wiggy' Gooch, remember how he 'improved' Bopara's batting a while ago?

    Cook and Pietersen out, Trott to open, Bopara and Bell in (and I never thought I'd type that!!)

  • Comment number 82.

    I think Cook has had it - he really needs to go back to school on his batting and learn to use his feet again. There is no point saying "he is one score away" - whilst we have been waiting for that score he has been destroying the stability of the top order.

    My personal opinion is that since being the new wonderboy a few years ago Cook hasn't done anything to genuinely steel his place in the team. New players like Trott, Finn and to an extent Broad are already considered vital assets and you can scarcely imagine a strong england side without at least one of them. Swann as well has continued to make a name for himself and hasn't given up on working to be the best. Cook however - maybe I'm giving him a raw deal but he could fade into the woodwork and I can't say I would notice his departure from the team.

    I am rooting for Carberry to be honest - I think he played really well - all he needs is a couple of matches and he would at least be a viable placeholder at 2.

    Keiswetter has a very nice play style, he just needs to work on some little technical faults. He however could perhaps be a useful no. 3 if Trott were to open... interesting ponderation.

    Unfortunately we are coming to these conclusions a scarce few months before...

    One thing is for certain: Ian Bell at number 3 IS NOT THE ANSWER! Keep him at 6 where he loves to be and let him score 50s all day long.

  • Comment number 83.

    Cook failed, but then so did everyone accept for Prior who appears to be in form. Credit should also be given to Pakistan's bowling attack which for the most part has been consistantly very good. They have made the most of the conditions and duke ball which other than England, when they get it right, there probably isn't a better attack that gets swing and movement. Other than the odd innings here and there none of the England batsman have looked consistantly confident against them, accept possibly Prior.

    If Cook fails in the second innings he will lose his place for the final Test and the selectors will probably hope that he finds form back in the county game. I have some sympathy for whoever takes his place, Carberry or whoever, as the Pakistan bowling attack is far better than anything they will come up against in County cricket right now. Does anyone know how good Carberry (or anyone)is against the swinging ball or late movement in either direction? That is the question the selectors will have to ask and it is why when picking someone for Test cricket they need to see something special about a player over and above just piling up runs in county cricket. Is there a batsman out there who has a flawless technique who can make the step up in class to Test cricket, or are most people here simply going by the amount of runs someone has scored at county level? Most of those commenting will have probably never seen Carberry bat so won't have a clue of what he is capable of or not.

  • Comment number 84.

    ArthursAshes:

    I agree that names get thrown in without the bigger picture being looked at. The Rose Bowl isn't a wicket that's a flat batting strip, it does nip around a bit, so presumably Carberry can play the swinging and seaming ball quite well going by the number of runs he has.

    I don't think there is anyone out there with a flawless technique who could make the step up, quite simply because nobody makes the step up to Test cricket with a complete technique. Not even the like of Lara and Tendulkar did it. They still had to learn the mental aspects of Test cricket and to adapt against the very best bowlers. Current selection policies go on a mixture of runs scored and potential to succeed at the top level. Carberry got a brief chance, Lyth is certainly an exciting talent, and Hildreth has long been someone thought to be good enough to go to the next level if he could show consistency. Now he's done that both home and away from Taunton, I'd say he's the next in line for the middle order with Carberry the lead candidate at the top.

  • Comment number 85.

    I'm a big fan of Cook but in his current form he has to go the Aussies will rip him to shreds. I would definently have another look at Michael Carberry I've watched him in all forms of domestic cricket this season and he's been hugely impressive, he's strong, has a good variety of shots and most important he looks confident. Every time he comes to the crease you expect him to score big. Alternatively Adam Lyth is statiscally the best opener in the championship this season and thinking of the long term may be a better option.
    I also agree with some of the other comments above that others need to be looked at as well. KP is playing rubbish, pure and simple. When he's on top of his game he's a joy to watch but right now watching him is like pulling teeth, ie torture. It might be worth taking a look at James Hildreth or Adil Rashid.

  • Comment number 86.

    So many people commenting about Cook's apparent lack of technique et al. I dont think it is easy to change one'e technique at a late stage. While subtle changes may help they may make it worse also as it seeds more doubt in the mind.

    Talking of mind, to me that IS the prima donna for a player - confidence! Look at Sehwag - he never moves his feet and most of the shots he plays are not in any coaching manual. Yet he is the # 1 player in tests today. How? Simply because he plays his natural game with confidence!

    Cook - stop listening to the likes of Nasser and see a mental conditioning coach if there's one, instead.

  • Comment number 87.

    So why have the cricketing authorities decided on having test matches with Pakistan during Ramadan? Presumably they would have known - or at any rate someone would ahve told them?

  • Comment number 88.

    I second every word that Nimmo27 posted, I would add that selectors might look at the England batsman who give early chances and have been getting away with a lucky inside edge onto the pad or being dropped behind the wicket. It is not only Cooke who's bat is looking more like a bundle of edges taped together than a solid and dependable block of willow.

    The Aussies will not give Straus and Co the chances they have been getting from the lesser test playing nations...

  • Comment number 89.

    Reg # 74

    'Re: previous post of "Team of Pakistani Match Fixers". NO need to fix this one! CentreBet are quoting England 2.15, Pakistan 2.25 Draw 6.00. Take EVERY penny you have, split it and put 50% on England, 50% on Pakistan for a minimum return of 15%, maximum of 25%. There is NO chance of a draw in this match! In this current climate, 25% return for 3 days investment is the deal of the year! '

    How can this yield a minimum of 15%? If you put a 1000 pounds each (i.e 2000 total), min return would be 2150 and max 2250. Thats a return of either 7.5% or 12.5% depending on who wins (Eng or Pak). Still not bad for 4 days! Thats an annual return of between 685% and 1140%. Ha ha....

  • Comment number 90.

    Please please dont put trott up and bell at 3 it would be disastrous, what about bell at 4 in place of kp with carberry as opener, lets face it they cant be worse than cook /kp

  • Comment number 91.

    £90 1st & 2nd days at Lords next week.

    AND probably at least £4 a pint !

    Bring back Bopara.

  • Comment number 92.

    Thanks Kris. I always get carried away when I see arbitrage!

    At least you agree with the 5-0 prediction! Ha Ha

  • Comment number 93.

    Completely agree re Cook, not least because the opportunity to at least try out alternative options before the Ashes is shrinking by the day. The problem is this "settled side" theory, which is fine if everyone is delivering, but hamstrings the development of new talent and the chance to quietly allow out-of-form players to work their way back out of the spotlight of Test cricket. What's needed is a settled Pool of talent (not team), where everyone knows (including media and general public) that you play for your team place, that someone else being chosen ahead of you is not the end of your career, and a broader base of Test experience is created. What we have at present is just to melodramatic to be productive, and that makes it difficult for the England selectors to drop the likes of Cook and KP for a period, even if they wanted to. Tt all creates too much pressure, as if Test cricket wasn't pressure enough. Cook needs a break now - even one good innings won't be evidence that he's found his form again. Bring in some new talent for the next Test, and then at least we can see what options might exist. Right now, sticking with the (settled my foot)team we have looks like blind obduracy.

  • Comment number 94.

    Although Trescothic in my opinion is still the best opener around in england there is no way he could play in australia. Even if he managed to get there he would inevitably crack at some point during the series and it's not fair on england and it's not fair on him to even attempt to put him through it. Now home series in my opinion could be a different matter but I can see the logic in not wanting to have to change the team for overseas series.

    As far as cook goes, he's got to be gone and should have gone before this match to allow the new guy to get in a bit more before the ashes

  • Comment number 95.

    A perfectly reasonable blog until the point where Mr Dirs could not resist his usual swipe at Bell. It is obvious that Bell must go to Australia. He is a more experienced bat than any alternative with a good test record and was in excellent form until his unfortunate injury. No doubt the Aussies will try the mind games but they are not the team of old - either in terms of ability or mental toughness. Bell can deal with them. A test average of 43 compares very well with Strauss (44). Trott as an opener is an interesting one. Not sure about his technique as an opener but, having watched him score a century at the Rose Bowl last year I can say he has one wonderful asset for an opener - temperament. No matter how many times he is beaten by the bowler he just gets on with it and does not look back.

  • Comment number 96.

    According to Keppler Wessels the last person to provide good guidance on footwork is Graham Gooch as he himself never had one.

    The malady is he is Cook's coach both at Essex and England. Wonderful.

  • Comment number 97.

    "5. At 6:35pm on 18 Aug 2010, billybolonski wrote:
    GONE!

    Cook is finished, at least for now, if not for good.

    Failing against a weak team in home conditions. It doesn't get any easier than this."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You mean failing against one of the best opening bowling attacks in Test cricket, in conditions perfectly suited to them?

    Cook is under massive pressure no doubt, and may well lose his place. If so he can have no complaints.

    The above is however utter tosh. This has been a bowler's series, and most batsmen have struggled against some top rate swing bowling.

  • Comment number 98.

    Just for the next test .................

    1. Trescothick
    2. Carberry
    3. Trott
    4. Strauss (c)
    5. Morgan
    6. Collingwood
    7. Prior (wkt & v/c)
    8. Swann
    9. Broad
    10. Anderson
    11. Finn

    Reasons? Let Cook go back to Essex to find that next big innings that he apparently has in him (according to Gooch) but if he can't find it then don't even bother taking him to Australia. Put Strauss down the order. He's an 'ok' captain and bat but he's lost it as an opener. Let KP go back to his county - oh sorry, I forgot; he hasn't got one! So he should go and play some club cricket (it's done Monty no harm) although KP's ego probably wouldn't allow him to. Obviously Tresco won't got to Oz but he'd be a damned good mentor for one test for Carberry who should go. Move Morgan up to 5 and Colly down to 6. Prior is in good 5-day form and has a great read of the game behind the sticks. Make him vice-captain and he'd do a good job if Strauss was injured. Certainly better than Cook. All just my opinion, of course!

  • Comment number 99.

    Re comment 98, Trescothick isn't going to play Test cricket again, get over it.

  • Comment number 100.

    I work in the City, and walk passed the Grange Hotel in the morning - which is where the England team stay when they play at Lords.

    I've figured out why Cook is still in the team!!!

    Cook was driving out in his nice, red Maserati this morning - with Strauss in the passenger seat.

    Clearly a case that Strauss does not want to give up this luxury of being driven in a fancy car to games...

 

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