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Dropping Prior is harsh, but fair

Jonathan Agnew | 13:06 UK time, Friday, 4 January 2008

Harsh, but fair I believe is the honest reaction to the selectors' decision to banish wicket-keeper Matt Prior from both the Test and one-day squads for England's tour to New Zealand.

For all the runs he has scored in his 10 Tests - including a century in his first - Prior dropped too many important catches behind the stumps and that, ultimately, is his principal role.

Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman at the Oval last summer - Mahela Jayawardene twice on the way to his 213 at Galle - and there were others.

prior.jpg

Not only has Prior's confidence been hit, but so, crucially, has that of the bowlers in him. Poor Ryan Sidebottom suffered more than most, and while I felt that his reaction to another missed chance in Colombo was out of order, Sidebottom's frustration was nevertheless understandable.

So Phil Mustard, the Colonel, finds himself in the wonderful position of being able to stake first claim. He will keep wicket in the one-day internationals which precede the Tests and if he does a good job – and scores runs – he will surely be given first crack in the Test series. It was, I understand, a very close call between Tim Ambrose and James Foster for the second spot.

Andrew Strauss needed a break, and has now had one. People are sure to point to the fact that he hasn’t played much cricket since being dropped, but he has been working hard in the nets as well as taking the chance to clear his head after such a dismal year.

Where he will bat will be interesting. Michael Vaughan thoroughly enjoyed his return to the top of the order and won't be keen to move, so it will have to be Ian Bell who is juggled around again.

There is some sense in Strauss batting at three, in that it keeps the right/left hand complication alive so the odds are that Bell will have to return to number six.

Strauss will certainly be a more than welcome addition to the slips cordon because England's fielding was dreadful in Sri Lanka.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:43 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Jonno wrote:

Bell averages 35 with no hundreds at No 3, and 58 with 4 hundreds at No 6. If Strauss really is rejuventated, bringing him back as opener or first down may thus help Bell too.

  • 2.
  • At 01:48 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • martin wrote:

Prior had to go, simply not good enough. I was never sure why he was picked in the first place, other than sharing a county with the new coach.
Paul Nixon was one of the few to emerge from the world cup with any credit, and I believe deserved a chance at test level.
Age is against him, but why not pick the best keeper

  • 3.
  • At 01:49 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Andy wrote:


I disagree with Jonathan, bringing Strauss back now just because he needed a break and has worked hard in training is not a reason. There can only be one reason...current form.

If Strauss had bothered to spend some time in the middle playing state cricket in either South Africa or Australia during November/December then that would be a fair chance to assess him, but he hasn't.

Its the wrong decision, basically if your name fits your in....hope you enjoyed the rest Mr Strauss, glad to have you back.

  • 4.
  • At 01:50 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Big Tommy P wrote:

Condolences to Matty P but congrats to the Colonel! The icing was on the cake when Collingwood (FEC - Future England Captain) publicly gave Mustard his support. Lets blood the youngsters.

Everyone taking digs at Ravi Bops - but how does his first outing compare to Ian, the Sherminator, Bell? Bell was criticised as a youngster and is now, arguably, our greatest asset.

On that note why drop Bell down the order?!

  • 5.
  • At 01:55 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Patrick wrote:

Prior should be retained as a batsman. It worked for Sangakarra!

  • 6.
  • At 01:56 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Ben wrote:

I find it difficult to see that Mustard is going to be England's keeper when Ambrose has been outstanding at Warwickshire this season just gone in what was a turbulent season for them.

  • 7.
  • At 01:57 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Julian Rozario wrote:

I'm not surprised that Prior has been dropped, he's just not consistent enough behind the stumps. The selectors need to take a long hard look at themselves though. How can Ramprakash be ignored again? Forget this looking to the future stuff, we've been doing it for years and it doesn't work. Pick your best team now and therefore that means pick the best batsman by a country mile. But they've bottled it again. Ramps is like a fine wine and has got so much better over the past few years that the failures of the past are way behind him. I reckon that he's fitter than most of the current team and can do a Brian Close and play well into his forties. What more does the man have to do, average 200 per innings? Fortunately we're playing a weak side so I'm sure those that failed so dismally in Sri Lanka will succeed and think what great players they are

  • 8.
  • At 01:59 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

The decision is fair. Why is it harsh?A keeper's job is ,primarily, to take catches.

  • 9.
  • At 01:59 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Stevenson wrote:

The NZ Cricket Parties Article text states that Bopara is dropped for the test series yet his name appears in the Test squad list at the the end of the article! Are there any other errors?

  • 10.
  • At 02:01 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

What passes for thought in the selectorial minds when it comes to wicket-keepers continues to baffle. A few years ago we had a world-class keeper who never let England down behind the stumps, but his batting was deemed to be not good enough so he was discarded in favour of a succession of goalkeeping batsmen (Jones, Nixon, Prior), all of whom have let England down badly behind the stumps. Especially given Chris Read's batting last summer - an average of 54 is exceptionally good for a keeper - we should be welcoming him back with open arms. Instead the selectors are desperately picking goalkeeping batsmen more or less at random, a new one every couple of months or so. Hopeless. Bring Rodney Marsh back into the fold - he at least knew a good keeper when he saw one.

Too right,
Prior's game is to keep stumps, and get those catches, and he wasnt doing it sufficiently.
His batting was alright, he provided some decent knocks when it was needed of him, but if the top order were to get those big 3 figures, then Prior's positive of decent batting is gone.
Personally I would like to see Tim Ambrose given a shot, he's very good with the gloves, and has been proving himself over the years with the bat also, but has been shunned out by Mr Moores and his Sussex associations.

  • 12.
  • At 02:04 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Tony Mugarza wrote:

What happened to Sajid Mahmood, (other than filming), not even in the Lions squad?

  • 13.
  • At 02:04 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Cricketing Legend wrote:

1.Cook
2.Strauss
3.Vaughan
4.Pietersen
5.Colly
6.Bell
7.Mustrd
8.Bopara
9.Sidebottom
10.Hoggard/Harmisson
11.Panesar

  • 14.
  • At 02:05 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Calvey wrote:

Well done to the selectors on taking Prior out of the squad. His glove work has been standard at best over the past year. Tim Ambrose deserves a chance after his impressive season with Warwickshire.

  • 15.
  • At 02:05 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • martin henry wrote:

Aggers - not harsh - his wicket keeping isn't up to scratch.

  • 16.
  • At 02:05 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

well aggers! i would drop everyone down one. oepn with Strauss who in my opinion is still a quality opener with Vaughan at 3, Bell at 4 and Peiterson at 5 where his average is best if i am not mistaken. Collingwood at 6 as he a fighter and can resolve any situation!

  • 17.
  • At 02:05 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Neil Morgan wrote:

Harsh but fair in the case of Prior, I think not ??
Well what about the prolific Ravi Bopara , why is he touring again and seeing as he has played no cricket of late why is Strauss recalled ?
Its unfair the Prior is the fally guy for England all round poor performance in Sri Lanka. I think you can forgive a few dropped catches if your wicket keeper is making runs.

  • 18.
  • At 02:07 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • tj wrote:

Aggers, Panesar has been selected to play in India in the Duleep trophy games. Do you think that the selectors will get him to go and get some advice and help from the likes of Bishen Bedi as you mentioned in your post Sri Lanka series or is it just to bowl himself into some form and rhythm.

  • 19.
  • At 02:07 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Calvey wrote:

Well done to the selectors on taking Prior out of the squad. His glove work has been standard at best over the past year. Tim Ambrose deserves a chance after his impressive season with Warwickshire.

well Aggers!

i would open with strauss and cook with evryone dropping down one place. Vaughan at 3 and Bell at 4. Peiterson needs to bat at 5 as this is where he has the best avarge at 5! Collingwood at 6 as he can resolve any situation and can score and bat with tailenders if needs be!

The wicketkeeper is a number 7 batsmen with the bowlers! if your top 7 batsmen can not do it then there si somethign wrong!

over and out aggers!

  • 21.
  • At 02:13 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Cynic wrote:

I despise gloating, boastful and mouthy players like Prior so 'harsh but fair' without the 'harsh but' is the very best you'll hear from me on the subject and good riddance is as polite as I can manage.

  • 22.
  • At 02:13 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Calvey wrote:

Well done to the selectors on taking Prior out of the squad. His glove work has been standard at best over the past year. Tim Ambrose deserves a chance after his impressive season with Warwickshire.

  • 23.
  • At 02:15 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • tj wrote:

Aggers, Panesar has been selected to play in India in the Duleep trophy games. Do you think that the selectors will get him to go and get some advice and help from the likes of Bishen Bedi as you mentioned in your post Sri Lanka series or is it just to bowl himself into some form and rhythm.

  • 24.
  • At 02:15 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Jonny wrote:

I can't believe that Ian Bell is being moved down the order to make way for Andrew Strauss. Bell has been arguably our best, and most consistent, for the last 12 months now and moving him down the order could have some bearing on the way he bats in NZ.

I think that the England order should me structured around our form player (Bell) rather than our most expansive player (and as it happens most out of form player)(Pietersen)

Only time will tell if juggling the order (again) will be a good move, or another David Graveney howler

  • 25.
  • At 02:16 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Thompson wrote:

I disagree. Whilst Matt Prior did look increasingly wayward as the Sri Lanka tour progressed, he was not the only one. Your article closes with the statement that England's fielding was 'dreadful' so it wasn't just Prior.

My fear is that this constant replacement of wicket keepers has become a habit and this is preventing any of the candidates for the position from getting settled. The NZ tour would have been ideal for Prior to increase his international and Test experience. Now England are practically back to square one with keepers.

It's good to see Strauss back though. I will always feel that his captaincy should have been maintained and giving it to that buffoon Flintoff was one of England's greatest mistakes in recent years.

  • 26.
  • At 02:17 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • ian williams wrote:

If Bell gets moved down to 6 again he'll hopefully get back to scoring hundreds like he has done in that position before - the constant comments from some who comment on 606 to drop him are ludicrous as along with Vaughan he's England's most natural batsman. good to see ambrose in the squad, he had a terrific season for warks and is worth a look

  • 27.
  • At 02:28 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Samantha wrote:

I don't understand why James Foster hasn't been given a second chance. Graveney even admitted in the press conference that he was "unlucky", but surely they need a so called "specialist gloveman" in case the gamble of taking two relatively inexperienced 'keeps doesn't pay off?

If Foster was good enough in 2001, why not today when both his batting, but especially his keeping, have improved so much?

  • 28.
  • At 02:30 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Jim Gallagher wrote:

A bit confused. Which squad is Bopara in (the ODI or the Test)? Also a little surprised Tremlett is not in the test squad for NZ. And as a Notts member, such un-tried selections for the wicket-keeper position leave me to conclude that we will be seeing lots of Read next summer....shame for him, though

Poor Ian Bell ... why does our most orthodox batsmen, our most obvious number 3, someone who - along with Cook - carries the torch for the younger generation of English batsmen ... WHY is he always shuffled around? Surely we could have Collingwood at 6, Strauss at 4 and keep Bell at 3?

  • 30.
  • At 03:07 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • ian williams wrote:

Re Jonno - my sentiments exactly. ideally i'd like to think bell's long term future is at 3 as his natural ability suggests he should be batting in the top order. however, stats rarely lie and for the moment he should definitely be batting 6. it'll be an interesting series in NZ; neither team is in any particular form of note, i think a lot will depend on the pitches that are rolled out

  • 31.
  • At 03:20 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Why When all the the top Nations Have their Best batsman at 3 are we talking out about Strauss or Bell?? Surely KP at 3, MV opens with either Strauss or Cook and then Bell comes in at 4. KP and Bell are our 2 best Bats...The rest should bat around them..

  • 32.
  • At 03:21 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Caspar wrote:

I wonder if we will be debating after the New Zealand series if Ambrose/Mustard or Foster should be dropped. Maybe we should have given Prior the benefit of the doubt as once again his replacement comes in under massive pressure. Yes, he dropped some important catches but at least he has the ability to make the runs. Didn't we win an ashes with a keeper who couldn't keep but his batting compensated in the end?

  • 33.
  • At 03:24 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Steve Boston wrote:

As a Notts fan I am delighted that we still have arguably the best wicket keeper playing week in week out - Englands loss and our gain - sorry Chris

  • 34.
  • At 03:31 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Alan Cooper wrote:

Prior should have been kept as a batsman. Had the third best average with the bat coming in at 7. Nearly saved the first test with Bell and did save the third facing 100 balls and still there at the end. Only Cook and Bell performed better with the bat and they weren't under intense pressure like Prior.

  • 35.
  • At 03:42 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • anon wrote:

Who's the muppet aka the 'Cricketing Legend' that can't spell Harmison's name correctly and advocates an XI in NZ (a seam bowlers paradise) with only two full time fast bowlers....?

  • 36.
  • At 03:49 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Neil Morgan wrote:

Ok so how come Bopara is getting a chance, he was by far more of a turkey than Prior on the SL tour and Strauss has been working hard in the nets ?? awwww thats nice!!
Prior has been made a scapegoat for the SL tour and its very harsh. Yes he missed chances behind the stumps but from what I have seen Chris Read and Geraint Jones cant bat, Mustard was far from it in the SL one dayers averaging 17. Maybe see how Ambrose does but the fact is wicket keepers are not great in our country but if they can bat, like Prior can then keep them in.

  • 37.
  • At 03:51 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • reverse swingger wrote:

I have lost all confidence in the english cricket side.

Their attitude stinks, their skill levels are substandard, they appear to be there for the ride/holiday and the money.

They talk in footballesque cliches, and are quite frankly cocky, arrogant and very boring.

So aggers, good luck on your jaunt, I will be watching paint dry.

  • 38.
  • At 04:05 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • reverse swingger wrote:

I have lost all confidence in the english cricket side.

Their attitude stinks, their skill levels are substandard, they appear to be there for the ride/holiday and the money.

They talk in footballesque cliches, and are quite frankly cocky, arrogant and very boring.

So aggers, good luck on your jaunt, I will be watching paint dry.

  • 39.
  • At 04:05 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Ray Smith wrote:

I did admire Priors fighting qualities but you can't drop as many catches as he did and expect to be retained so nothing harsh about it.

Ambrose will be the Test Keeper as coaches will always pick those perceived with a superior technique at Test level.

Feel very sorry for Shah though - he is going to miss out for Straus now! how he didn't play because he didn't bowl medium lobs is beyond me.

Moores is being found out with his favourites also - how it must have hurt bringing in Ambrose who he got rid off at Sussex for one Prior. Although the blow would have been softened by giving Yardy the captaincy of the Lions. Outrageous!

  • 40.
  • At 04:10 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • David Schofield wrote:

Doesn't the very fact that Strauss' rehabiliation for Test cricket consists of nothing more than some indoor nets speak volumes for the state of English cricket?

Indecision. Indecison.

And - for all his catching faults - I'd be surprsed if we produce a keeper who can average 30+ rather than Prior's 40+. And can they guarantee to catch that much better?

  • 41.
  • At 04:12 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Alan Cooper wrote:

Prior should have been kept as a batsman. Had the third best average with the bat coming in at 7. Nearly saved the first test with Bell and did save the third facing 100 balls and still there at the end. Only Cook and Bell performed better with the bat and they weren't under intense pressure like Prior.

  • 42.
  • At 04:13 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Alex T wrote:

Interesting, isn't it? When Geraint Jones was dropped, it was fully understood, as he was a very good 'keeper at the time, but people thought he needed to get more runs. Now we're understanding for the exact opposite reason. Why not get Geraint back then?

As for the order after Strauss returns:

1. Strauss
2. Vaughan
3. Cook (didn't he start there, originally?)
4. KP
5. Colly / Bell
6. Bell / Colly
7. 'keeper's slot
8. Hoggy
9. Sidebottom
10. Harmy
11. Monty

If we could get Strauss or Cook to keep wicket, then Flintoff comes back at no. 7, and that's not a bad side. Who do you drop if Tresco makes it back?

People don't seem to be too positive about a rotation system, but I reckon we're going to need it to accommodate them all! And I, for one, won't be complaining.


  • 43.
  • At 04:16 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • David Schofield wrote:

Doesn't the very fact that Strauss' rehabiliation for Test cricket consists of nothing more than some indoor nets speak volumes for the state of English cricket?

Indecision. Indecison.

And - for all his catching faults - I'd be surprsed if we produce a keeper who can average 30+ rather than Prior's 40+. And can they guarantee to catch that much better?

  • 44.
  • At 04:19 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Calvey wrote:

Congratulations to the selectors on finally dropping Prior. His glove work is standard at best. Good choice in giving Tim Ambrose a chance on the back of a very good season with Warwickshire.

  • 45.
  • At 04:27 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • jimothia_davey wrote:

If it is fair, how can it be harsh, too? Unless words now have no meaning whatsoever! On a batting note rather than a semantic one, Ramps should be in the team and as a knowledgeable and influential guy you should be lobbying fiercely for his selection. Ditch either Colly or Belly - they do nothing to inspire the kids of England to play the game.

  • 46.
  • At 04:35 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • jimothia_davey wrote:

If it is fair, how can it be harsh, too? Unless words now have no meaning whatsoever! On a batting note rather than a semantic one, Ramps should be in the team and as a knowledgeable and influential guy who has the interests of the game in this country at heart you should be lobbying fiercely for his selection. Ditch either Colly or Belly - they do nothing to inspire the kids of England to play the game.

  • 47.
  • At 04:40 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • BAIR wrote:

Prior got a test call up, got a column on the BBC and, from what we've been told, sledged players with genuine test pedigree. He then proved he was not up to the grade with the gloves, with a poor technique not moving his feet, resulting in dropped catches at crucial times that cost England dear. Get back to Sussex, keep your head down, stop talking so much and learn how to keep wicket. Suggest watching a tape of Gilchrist or Boucher.

  • 48.
  • At 04:51 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

David Graveney has already said on an interview with Skysports that if there was going to be a test tomorrow then Tim Ambrose would be the test wicket keeper.

Mustard is not yet upto test standard but is one for the one-dayers even though I think Ambrose should be the one-day keeper too.

Ambrose has been superb this season and will rightly be England's No 1.

  • 49.
  • At 04:59 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

I believe Prior got too big for his boots and forgot the basics. At the end of the day, we struggle to find a decent wicket keeper and have done since Alan Knott and Bob Taylor, truth be told, Russell was the nearest, Stewart, Jones, Prior were/are poor in comparison.

The problem is the pressure on keepers to be multi skilled, Knott could do this others find it a struggle.

Perhaps it is time for England to think about the basics. Look at the stats, Knott still has the best England test record as a keeper by miles. The last 3 Aussie keepers have passed his total, yet no English keeper has got any where near. We don't produce Gilchrists here so why keep picking poor imitations.

  • 50.
  • At 05:03 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • William Laye wrote:

I think Bell is a good choice down at no.6 as it provides that extra support to a tail end that is very inefficient in scoring runs.*

*except Sidebottom

  • 51.
  • At 05:14 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • John Pluck wrote:

I do not understand why a keeper of James Foster's (Essex) ability with bat being in the top two keepers runwise and taking as many catches and stumpings as any of his peers is not recognised by his country.

  • 52.
  • At 05:22 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Raj wrote:

England selectors has to ask themselves a question. Do they want a batsman who can keep wickets or they want a wicket keeper who can bat a bit.

Not many teams had wicket keepers like Gilchrist, Steward and Sankagara, who are excellent keeper and batsman.

  • 53.
  • At 05:24 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • rob wickham wrote:

My test team would be such

1. AN Cook
2. MP Vaughan*
3. AJ Strauus
4. IR Bell
5. KP Pietersen
6. PD Collingwood
7. T Ambrose+
8. RJ Sidebottom
9. SJ Harmison
10.MJ Hoggard
11.MS Panesar

  • 54.
  • At 05:46 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • stevie hull wrote:

But can Phil cut the mustard? Is the dropping of Matt a little PRIOR before the tour starts? Erm, and erm, will AMBROSE be as good as his BRO, who is called, erm AM and also plays cricket.

  • 55.
  • At 05:48 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Bob Usherwood wrote:

By general concensus James Foster is now the best wicket keeper in the country but has once again been overlooked. Given that there is not that much difference between the batting potential of the keepers said to be considered by the selectors it is madness ( or county nepotism given the recent Moores / Ambrose connection)not to pick the best glove-man. I also have some sympathy with the Notts fans above. Both Chris Read and Foster scored double hundreds last year. Both are far better keepers than Prior, Ambrose, Mustard et al.

  • 56.
  • At 05:52 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • TP wrote:

The argument that Prior should be kept as a batsman holds no water. He is no where near in the top 7 batsmen in the country and that's a fact. Ambrose is a decent shout as keeper but I would have stayed with Read. Poor Chris is an exceptional keeper and a good bat that has NEVER been given a decent run in the side.
He was treated terribly by Fletcher when Gerry Jones was treated like "the manager's son" and I would love to see him back in the fold for the next few years. Nottingham must be delighted at his omission again.
That being said, both Ambrose and Mustard deserve a chance now and should be given a run in their respective sides. Both are better keepers than Prior and I genuinely believe that the keeper sets the tone for the whole side's performance in the field. i wish we took a note out of the Aussie's books and groomed our players over time. Tait, for example, for appalling during the 2005 Ashes and we would have disregarded him forever. The Ozzies stuck with him and he's much better now.

  • 57.
  • At 05:55 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Bob Usherwood wrote:

By general consensus James Foster is now the best wicket keeper in the country but has once again been overlooked. Given that there is not that much difference between the batting potential of the keepers said to be considered by the selectors it is madness ( or county nepotism given the recent Moores / Ambrose connection)not to pick the best glove-man. I also have some sympathy with the Notts fans above.It is somewhat ironic that both Chris Read and Foster scored double hundreds last year. Both are far better keepers than Prior, Ambrose, Mustard et al.

  • 58.
  • At 06:00 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Dave Winstanley wrote:

I've always felt that if you can have an experienced opener batting first drop, it's extra insurance: openers often have to cope with the new ball at it's most dangerous, to dig in and battle things out, so in adverse conditions, a number 3 who is used to this is a boon. And any opener worth his salt can cash in on a good wicket. Strauss IS a good opener: poor players don't tend to score hundreds against Australia; but like other England players, he has not been at his best since 2005 (even then, he came into that series in not the greatest form, remember?)
We definitely need a specialist wicket-keeper, too. As we have seen recently, dropped catches lose matches. Most wicket-keepers are able to bat to a reasonable standard - they have to have a good eye, it's part of their primary job.

  • 59.
  • At 06:02 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Dominic wrote:

What does Reid have to do to be selected? He is the best keeper and he has the est batting average of the keepers. he was told to go and work on his batting. he did. They kept faith with Jones. Finally re-called Reid. he scored a 50 against pakistan and then was dropped against Australia and replaced by Jones again. he has never since been recalled. Poor man. He must have spoken to someone rudely. the Matt Le Tissier of wicket keepers!

  • 60.
  • At 06:10 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Rich Hudson wrote:

Andrew Strauss' first-class runs since being dropped: 0

Simply astonishing.

The speculation is that Strauss will come straight back into the side - how on earth can he justify a slot ahead of Shah who had really earned his opportunity.

Ambrose must play in the Tests, he's a class act, all-round package with bat and gloves in both forms. I can see the logic of Mustard playing the ODIs though.

  • 61.
  • At 06:34 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Podgmeister wrote:

The highly emotive wicketkeeping saga goes on and on.. As a follower of Sussex it's sad Matt Prior hasn't made the grade - a Peter Moores favourite for obvious reasons. But when it's your specialism, wicketkeeping is what you should be selected for: hence a certain Chris Read HAS to be given a decent run in the side - as Ian Healy has said (someone told me Australians know a bit about cricket). I have no idea where the seeming pathological hatred of our best gloveman comes from. Picking another ex-Sussex gloveman is grand but as Boycs has said, you don't win test matches picking your chums. Please please PLEASE give Chris Read a proper run in the side - I guarantee he'll average in the 30s and the confidence he'll give our bowling attack will be immense. OK, he ain't as chirpy as many, but bowlers HAVE to know that when a chance comes, it's grabbed(especially after 30 overs of hard toil on a flat wicket) - witness desperation in Sri Lanka series just ended. We just can't continue with WKs that might average a few runs more than Chris Read but drop a chance that leads to 50 or 100 more runs scored by the oppo. Until the selectors grasp the concept of hard choices rather than nepotism we will remain a second rank Test nation.

  • 62.
  • At 06:38 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • richard martin wrote:

I do not feel sorry for Prior. He has said far too much and done far too little.

I feel very sorry, though, for Andrew Hodd at Sussex who played exceptionally well last summer with gloves and bat while Prior was with England and could now be relegated to the 2nd X1 - unless Sussex drop Prior too?

  • 63.
  • At 06:45 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Markymark wrote:

I think England need to look carefully at the keepers spot, and pick someone for the long term. There has been too much choppping and changing over the last few years really. The problem is as much to do with the length of the tail, making runs from the gloveman necessary, not just a luxury. But even still, be it Mustard or Ambrose the selectors and Moores need to point to a guy and say thats our man through till tge end of the Ashes, come what may.

  • 64.
  • At 07:13 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Seth L wrote:

Strange to think Geraint Jones lasted so long, when he droppped as many, if not more catches yet was not as impressive with the bat... good luck to the new England keeper

  • 65.
  • At 07:23 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Martin J wrote:

Wicket keeper IS a specialist position

You should ALWAYS pick the best gloves man - and England look to have failed to do that YET AGAIN !

  • 66.
  • At 07:26 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • waq721 wrote:

why isnt adil rashid in the first team for the test matches? surley he is good enough!

  • 67.
  • At 07:54 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Handy wrote:

I, seemingly like all other cricket fans, remain baffled at what we actually want behind the stumps.

In Geraint Jones, we had a decent keeper who didn't score enough runs at crucial times. In Chris Read, we had a similar mix. In Matt Prior, we had a decent batsman who did not make enough catches, and this became a problem. In Phil Mustard, it appeared we had a similar mix.

I agree with dropping Prior; I must make that point. I do, however, remain perplexed as to our next step. Alec Stewart is never coming back. Nor is Adam Gilchrist going to become English. I'm not sure we'll ever find the correct mix we want, but I really hope we'll find a good enough concoction soon.

  • 68.
  • At 07:59 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Gordon Brown wrote:

The wicketkeepers aside for the moment,this squad looks about right with the return of Strauss who should open with Cook,but no doubt Vaughan will not want to move to 3 so it's poor Ian Bell will move to 6 where Collingwood should be.

As for the WK's,given our selector's recent decisions,did anyone really expect Prior to be left out altogether ? - probably not, but they have which is not a harsh decision, Prior could not expect to be retained after his recent history of dropped catches and what happened as a result of them, Galle was the final straw.
Going to NZ with 2 players vying for 1 specialist position with not a cap between them is a gamble that might come off, but it's a gamble so lets wait and see.

Gilchrist has raised the bar of expectation by WK's, but we should still pick the best keeper as that is his primary role, which is why Chris Read who was appalingly treated by the selector's should have gone to NZ, James Foster as an option.
England have had two great postwar WK/BAT's in Alan Knott (the best) and Alec Stewart, what would'nt we give for someone with half their ability now !

Good luck to Ambrose & Mustard, they will need it.

  • 69.
  • At 08:00 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Marky wrote:

It's good to see that Prior has been dropped. He's become a liability behind the stumps. Part of me feels that Strauss has only been included for his slip catching skills. Hopefully this will allow Collingwood to field where he's at his best, in the point/gully area. Personally I wouldn't push Bell down to 6. He's wasted there. Frankly, I'd drop Pieterson, bat Bell at 4 and have Owais Shah at 6. Pieterson has been a waste of space for the past 12 months, and needs a kick up the backside. Also, England MUST do something about the tail. Sidebottom is batting one place too high.

  • 70.
  • At 08:00 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Handy wrote:

I, seemingly like all other cricket fans, remain baffled at what we actually want behind the stumps.

In Geraint Jones, we had a decent keeper who didn't score enough runs at crucial times. In Chris Read, we had a similar mix. In Matt Prior, we had a decent batsman who did not make enough catches, and this became a problem. In Phil Mustard, it appeared we had a similar mix.

I agree with dropping Prior; I must make that point. I do, however, remain perplexed as to our next step. Alec Stewart is never coming back. Nor is Adam Gilchrist going to become English. I'm not sure we'll ever find the correct mix we want, but I really hope we'll find a good enough concoction soon.

  • 71.
  • At 08:11 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Frank The Plank wrote:

'The Aggressor' is a joke along with G.Jones and Read why not select someone with the class of Matt Flower, (Sussex 2nd XI keeper, over 600 runs @ around 45.00)- there's a real talent

  • 72.
  • At 08:11 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Les Kirkland wrote:

Having watched Prior in action during the first and second Tests in Sri Lanka, I am not surprised that he has been dropped. No team can afford for it's wicket keeper to drop so many catches and miss so many stumpings. In the end the England bowlers lost confidence in him and it showed during the Sri Lanka tour.

  • 73.
  • At 08:22 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Jackson wrote:

Matt Prior is unlucky, untill we find a wicket keeper take takes every catch and averages over fifty no one is going to be happy, Strauss may have had a loss in form but is a class act at this level, at least this solves the number 6 problem, will Flintoff ever regain that spot ? Or is he just a quality bowler that can bat abit, his batting was shocking in the 06/07 ashes. Come to think of it, him as captain wasn't the brightest idea.

  • 74.
  • At 09:04 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Olly wrote:

I'm sorry, but chris read has played 15-20 tests now, and as far as I know his average is around 28? this clearly is not good enough at test level and even last summer and winter when he came in his batting was of the same standard (despite his domestic batting being much better). he is not good enough for england.
I do feel sorry for prior, who has been accused of losing england matches with his drops, when the team's fielding has been quite poor recently. His average is also still very good, and in general his batting in Sri Lanka showed signs of great improvement from the india series, in what must be said are difficult for non sub-continent players. I feel ambrose and prior should both have been tried in new zealand. Phil mustard hasn't played enough championship cricket yet. should be a contender in a year or two.

  • 75.
  • At 09:13 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • jim wrote:

I'm not doubting Ambrose or Mustards ability, but to say it was a shock is an understatement. I feel that he should have been taken to NZ, after working on his keeping I feel his international experience would have been valuable. I think maybe the selectors are underestimating NZ, even with out Bond they'll be a challenge and our batting hasn't exactly been stable lately has it?

  • 76.
  • At 09:15 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Alan Cooper wrote:

Chris Read Test record:- 15 matches; 1x50, 0x100;Ave 18.94. He's not good enough, end of!

James Foster Test record:- 7 matches; 0x50, 0x100;Ave 25.11. He's not good enough, end of!

Neither would have been capable of surviving 100 balls to save the 3rd Test like Prior did. End of. Perhaps Ambrose could have done. But the only other England batsman to bat that long in the 3rd Test was Cook.

Dropping catches = draws not losses! Not enough runs loses matches!!

  • 77.
  • At 09:17 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • jim wrote:

I'm not doubting Ambrose or Mustards ability, but to say it was a shock is an understatement. I feel that he should have been taken to NZ, after working on his keeping I feel his international experience would have been valuable. I think maybe the selectors are underestimating NZ, even with out Bond they'll be a challenge and our batting hasn't exactly been stable lately has it?

  • 78.
  • At 09:18 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • david wrote:

Thought the selectors did get it right in terms of the Prior decision. He is still young so can go back to work on his keeping. He has shown some promise with his batting so if Ambrose or Mustard are not able to take their opportunities he might come back into the frame.

This series to be easier for the English players on conditions which they are familiar with. However, our batsmen have to start performing as very few came out of the Sri Lanka tour with credit. Also our bowling has been constantly unthreatening so we face a huge battle to get back to our second spot in test cricket.

  • 79.
  • At 09:18 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • John Harrison wrote:

I think it is a brave decision to drop Prior, but the right one. If you persist with Prior, you might as well pick a really good batsman and stick whoever fancies it behind the stumps. Wicket-keeping is a specialism and England, traditionally, has been spoiled by the likes of Alec Stewart and Alan Knott - good glovesmen who could really bat.
Good luck to Mustard and Ambrose and, honestly, I don't see a way back for Prior. Hope not, anyway, and I'm not being cruel to him. As a wickey, he just doesn't cut it and, so, he should not be England wickey. End of.

  • 80.
  • At 09:40 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Chopper wrote:

How about a pre-test friendly (13 man the fashion now isn't it?)before the summer series have a side such as:

1) Tresco
2) Strauss (c)
3) Shah
4) Ramprakash
5) Prior
6) Ambrose
7) Mustard
8) Foster
9) Jones
10)Rashid
11)Broad
12)Harmison
13)Anderson
13)Broad

Each of the keepers can do a ten over spell each and share slip/gully/short positions to keep sharp when not behind the stumps.

Extra practise for the bowlers/bats/fringe players that need it.

  • 81.
  • At 09:47 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Chopper wrote:

How about a pre-test friendly (13 man the fashion now isn't it?)before the summer series have a side such as:

1) Tresco
2) Strauss (c)
3) Shah
4) Ramprakash
5) Prior
6) Ambrose
7) Mustard
8) Foster
9) Jones
10)Rashid
11)Broad
12)Harmison
13)Anderson
13)Broad

Each of the keepers can do a ten over spell each and share slip/gully/short positions to keep sharp when not behind the stumps.

Extra practise for the bowlers/bats/fringe players that need it.

  • 82.
  • At 09:56 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Chopper wrote:

How about a pre-test friendly (13 man the fashion now isn't it?)before the summer series have a side such as:

1) Tresco
2) Strauss (c)
3) Shah
4) Ramprakash
5) Prior
6) Ambrose
7) Mustard
8) Foster
9) Jones
10)Rashid
11)Broad
12)Harmison
13)Anderson
13)Broad

Each of the keepers can do a ten over spell each and share slip/gully/short positions to keep sharp when not behind the stumps.

Extra practise for the bowlers/bats/fringe players that need it.

  • 83.
  • At 09:58 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Chopper wrote:

How about a pre-test friendly (13 man the fashion now isn't it?)before the summer series have a side such as:

1) Tresco
2) Strauss (c)
3) Shah
4) Ramprakash
5) Prior
6) Ambrose
7) Mustard
8) Foster
9) Jones
10)Rashid
11)Broad
12)Harmison
13)Anderson
13)Broad

Each of the keepers can do a ten over spell each and share slip/gully/short positions to keep sharp when not behind the stumps.

Extra practise for the bowlers/bats/fringe players that need it.

  • 84.
  • At 10:02 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Colonial Lad wrote:

Reasonable assessment Aggers. Prior had to go, he cost far too many runs with missed chances. Batsmen were put at ease knowing he was lileky to drop or miss stumpings. An integral part of the keepers job is to instill doubt in the batsmans mind and Prior didn't do that. However, as good as Mustard, Ambrose et al hopefully are what on earth has Chris Read to do to get recalled? His batting average was better than most of the England top order last year and he can certainly keep wicket better than most in he world at test level.

  • 85.
  • At 10:17 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Grabyrdy wrote:

"Why not pick the best keeper ?"

We all know who that is. But he won't be picked. His face doesn't fit.

Strauss has to come back because the selectors have backed themselves into a corner by giving him a central contract, despite the fact that Vaughan/Cook worked well, both in theory and in practice.

And if Strauss didn't open, Shah would have to bat 6. But his face doesn't seem to fit either.

I can well imagine Symonds never getting more than 2 test matches over 5 years if he'd taken what appeared to be at one stage the "easy option" and decided to play for England.

Australia has some fine players, but one reason they keep winning is that the selectors know what they're doing too - strictly on form, character, nous, and to hell with "faces fitting".

Could there be a tiny wee lesson to be learnt here ??

  • 86.
  • At 10:20 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Grabyrdy wrote:

"Why not pick the best keeper ?"

We all know who that is. But he won't be picked. His face doesn't fit.

Strauss has to come back because the selectors have backed themselves into a corner by giving him a central contract, despite the fact that Vaughan/Cook worked well, both in theory and in practice.

And if Strauss didn't open, Shah would have to bat 6. But his face doesn't seem to fit either.

I can well imagine Symonds never getting more than 2 test matches over 5 years if he'd taken what appeared to be at one stage the "easy option" and decided to play for England.

Australia has some fine players, but one reason they keep winning is that the selectors know what they're doing too - strictly on form, character, nous, and to hell with "faces fitting".

Could there be a tiny wee lesson to be learnt here ??

  • 87.
  • At 10:39 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Jonathan West wrote:

Reading Duncan Fletcher's autobiography it becomes clear that Michael Vaughan dislikes Read. No coincidence that as soon as Vaughan returns to England, poor Read is banished to Mongolia.

Some may well think that we would be better off without the increasingly egotistical and "shot-a-ball" attributes of Vaughan, and have Colly as Capt with Read back as keeper.

  • 88.
  • At 10:48 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Jonathan West wrote:

Reading Duncan Fletcher's autobiography it becomes clear that Michael Vaughan dislikes Read. No coincidence that as soon as Vaughan returns to England, poor Read is banished to Mongolia.

Some may well think that we would be better off without the increasingly egotistical and "shot-a-ball" attributes of Vaughan, and have Colly as Capt with Read back as keeper.

  • 89.
  • At 11:30 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Chris Jaw wrote:

The reason Read's not been picked is because his test batting form has been useless. I read somewhere that Vaughan was in tears when he told him he was dropped for Jones all those years ago in the West Indies.

  • 90.
  • At 11:56 PM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • daniel baker wrote:

matt prior deserved to be dropped and it is ironic that his former teammate who had to leave sussex to get more games has now replaced prior but I think Tim Ambrose may be out of his depth at test level the county championship is a totally different class of bowlers I do agree with the inclusion of Phil Mustard on the tour of Sri Lanka he gave us the explosive start England have lacked in one day matches.I think it would have been worth calling up James Foster

  • 91.
  • At 12:22 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • class 66 wrote:

I'm glad Prior has been dropped.His glovework has been pretty poor and for a Cricketer of average talent is one of the most arrogant around and has far too much to say.
Good riddance to bad rubbish,hopefully he'll never come back and can gob off to his hearts content for his county!!

  • 92.
  • At 12:53 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • austengg wrote:

Its the overall package that counts. By this token if you pick a poor keeper they will lose you as many runs as they score. That was what was so silly about picking Prior - we should have learnt this from G.Jones.

What is worse is that there are decent overall package out there - decent batters who can keep pretty well include Ambrose, Pothas, Batty and Davies. Players like Mustard, Foster and Read are decent enough with the bat to go with their excellent keeping skills. One could even have chosen Nixon for a season or two.

  • 93.
  • At 12:57 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • austengg wrote:

Its the overall package that counts. By this token if you pick a poor keeper they will lose you as many runs as they score. That was what was so silly about picking Prior - we should have learnt this from G.Jones.

What is worse is that there are decent overall package out there - decent batters who can keep pretty well include Ambrose, Pothas, Batty and Davies. Players like Mustard, Foster and Read are decent enough with the bat to go with their excellent keeping skills. One could even have chosen Nixon for a season or two.

  • 94.
  • At 12:57 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • austengg wrote:

Its the overall package that counts. By this token if you pick a poor keeper they will lose you as many runs as they score. That was what was so silly about picking Prior - we should have learnt this from G.Jones.

What is worse is that there are decent overall package out there - decent batters who can keep pretty well include Ambrose, Pothas, Batty and Davies. Players like Mustard, Foster and Read are decent enough with the bat to go with their excellent keeping skills. One could even have chosen Nixon for a season or two.

  • 95.
  • At 06:41 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Gourab wrote:

According to me The test team(14 Men) should have been like this for the tour of New Zealand:-

MTrescothick(i do not understand why he is out of the Current side, He is making so many runs for somerset!)
ACook
MVaughan(C)
KPieterson
MPrior(WK)
IBell
PCollingwood/OShah
AFlintoff(VC)(if he is fit to play)/Kabir Ali
RSidebootom
MHoggard
MPanesar/GSwann
If Flintoff is not fit then Harmison should have replaced him.The vice Capataincy will go to Bell.

The ODI Squad(14Men)
MTrescothick
PMustard(WK)(He has made runs as an opener for Durham)
IBell(VC)
KPieterson
PCollingwood
OShah
AFlintoff(C)(if he is fit to play)
DMascarenhas/RBopara
GSwann/MPanesar
RSidebottom
TMurtagh/JAnderson

If Flintoff is not fit to play then Jon Lewis Should replace him.The Captain will be Bell,and vice captainwill be Trescothick.

  • 96.
  • At 07:42 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • JimBob wrote:

People talk about Glichrist and Sanga being great keeper batsmen, but both, in particular Sanga, were very poor keepers when they first started. Both developed into excellent keepers (although Gilchrist dropped 3 catches yesterday). People also talk about Jack Russell being a great keeper - he dropped many a catch.

  • 97.
  • At 07:44 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Kenneth Pierce wrote:

I comment on the Prior debate, and I speak as an ex quickie of some 35 years Prior is just not good enough however many runs he scores, what is of paramount importance is the moral of our bowlers if they cannot rely on the keeper their heads drop and you get second rate performances.

Wake up selectors pick the best "gloveman" and you will see the improvement all round.

  • 98.
  • At 11:10 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • nelly wrote:

Quite rightly prior has been dropped, his principle job is to keep wicket, would you rather have your wicketkeeper make 40 with the bat but drop a player twice who goes on to make 200, or a wicketkeeper who cant bat as well, say averages 25 but takes the majority of catches so you dont have someone being dropped twice on the way to 200, No contest for me, and for me this man has got to be Read, rarely drops catches, is brilliant behind the stumps and his batting has actually come on leaps and bounds in the last few years as you can tell by above Notts fans posts who are absolutely delighted he hasnt been picked.
On the batting side, do we really believe that we are good that we can keep leaving out a player who averages 100!?!?
For me the team has to be:
Cook
Vaughan
Ramprakash
KP
Colly
Bell (Bats best at 6, will eventually be a 3 though)
Read
Sidebottom
Harmison
Panesar
Hoggard/Anderson/Broad

  • 99.
  • At 11:43 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • grumpydave wrote:

It is time the selectors used some common sense regarding the keeper. Which fielder gets the most opportunities to dismiss the opposition? Obviously the keeper, therefore you must pick the best. If one catch or stumping is missed it can negate all the runs scored. The reason that Gilchrist gets so many runs is that the batters do their job and score runs so that in the majority of cases he is under no pressure when he goes out to bat. Therefore we either pick the form batters or pick on potential and stick with some good young players like Australia did when they were the at their worst. As for Pieterson, he needs to temper his arrogance with a bit of common sense or he should be discarded. It is criminal that someone with so much talent throws his wicket away so often.

  • 100.
  • At 11:52 AM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • greg lawler wrote:


If any Aussie reminds you that Ambrose was born in Australia - remind them that Symonds was born in England (Birmingham!

My preference is Bell at 6 and Vaughan and Cook batted well at 1 and 2 - so put Strauss at 3. We need our openers to be getting at least 50 each time they go out.

As to Strauss - if he is re-juvenated and time will tell - this is a where rotation of the squad will be seen to be working. It will be a thing of the future.

Can anyone say how many tests will England have played in 12 months prior to Ashes 2009 and how many Australia?

  • 101.
  • At 12:17 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Worcs Fan wrote:

Ambrose hit a big double hundred against us last season but the bowling (Kabir aside) was shockingly bad. He gets a go against NZ who have one of the softest attacks in test cricket. He'll probably get a hundred. Then we'll stick with him for a year whilst he struggles against SA and India and be in the same position next Spring looking forward to the cruellest exploiters of mediocrity in the Aussies who'll be rubbing their hands with glee that once again they have someone who couldn't make it in State cricket (GO Jones anyone?) so joined the county gravy train - we have to stop allowing poor Kolpak / dubious passport holding players taking development opps somehow - where decent seems to be better than potential. Shaking up the county system is another rant but please give the Keepers birth to Read / Foster (although aren't we being told who we can pick by the Indian Board these days) if they're eligible. Otherwise pick someone to keep the spot warm for Steven Davies who must surely take over once he manages to get a couple of good seasons (it will happen) under his belt.

  • 102.
  • At 12:51 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Nippytoo wrote:

Can only say Prior being dropped is a real shame, and part of the blame has to go on the recent batting performances (and Alec Stewart for raising expectations!) .. if the bats had performed, Prior would have had less pressure to score, giving him a chance to focus on his work with the gloves. Av of 40 with a 126* high score .. give the guy a break!
Still think he can do a job, but will he get another chance? Maybe Geraint knows the answer!

  • 103.
  • At 12:56 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Stuart Hawkesworth wrote:

Fair assessment on Prior but please no more talk of taking Chris Read from Notts., quite apart from the fact his face obviously doesn't fit with certain people we've now 'lost' a fair chunk of the bowling attack to the national cause so please leave us SOME players otherwise Team England will just be seen as an excuse to deprive us of a chance at the Championship!!

  • 104.
  • At 01:07 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

At last a sensible side - not the selectors' pick but nelly at 99.
Look at the way the Australians select sides. Extended runs in the team. But if you fail you have to go back and score huge runs or take wickets to get another chance.
KP needs runs in NZ or should go back to the basics.
The selectors cannot have watched Ramps. I know he is older than others - but Gilchrist and Hayden are 36 and Chanderpaul 33. Some batsmen peak late, and Ramps is two cuts above any other Englishman currently. Who would you have wanted to bat for your life in Sri Lanka on those pitches? Ramps or Bopara. It's crazy and may have lost us the series and world ranking

  • 105.
  • At 02:05 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • James MacDonald wrote:

1.Cook
2.Vaughan
3.Strauss
4.KP
5.Colly
6.Ramprakash
7.Jones
8.Sidebottom
9.Harmison/Broad
10.Panesar
11.Hoggard

Many of you may think I am stupid for selecting Geraint Jones as wicket keeper. However... I believe when he was playing in the England squad there was too much pressure put on him. When he played well, he was by far, the best wicket keeper England currently posses, and for this reason I think he should be given one last chance.

I have also left Ian Bell out of the side due to his lack of 100's in recent times, and getting out in the region of 30-80. Many of us dream about scoring a test hundred, however, many of his test 100's have come against weaker bowling sides (eg Bangladesh,Pakistan). Also, his running between the wickets is appauling - he ball watches. We can't afford to have run-oouts in the top order, especially in Test Matches. Whenever he is at the crease, I get nervous in case there is a mix up! Also, his standards in the field have been dropping lately, and maybe dropping him for a series will give him a wake up call that when you are playing for England, no matter who you are, you have to fight for your place.

The Australian selection policy is simple. You can go out, score 50 runs, and look a dream, but if you get out, they would rather have someone who can get 100's, no matter how they play, they will have the person who gets the best result.

Therefore, I have brought in Ramps - after two outstanding county seasons he deserves his chance.

Andrew Strauss didn't actually have that bad an Ashes series last year. You may recall, he got 4 bad decisions in 10 innings. This is why we should use technology for things like bat pad,caught behinds etc.. it's not only bad decisions that affect a team, it affects a players career, and thus their career, life and family.

Ravi Bopara failed miserably in Sri Lanka, and couldn't handle test match cricket or pressure, which is why he shouldn't be in the team - he's simply not good enough!!

I liked Matt Prior, but he simply dropped too many catches behind the stumps - which no matter what anyone says, is a keepers most important job.

I have no problems with the bowlers from the Sri Lanka series. I felt they bowled well, and were unlucky to have not got more wickets. If only they were backed up by their fielders!

Anyway, enough of the bad memories.

Bring on New Zealand!

  • 106.
  • At 02:54 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • andyb wrote:

To be honest I do not care much who goes as keeper - the scale of the debate and different opinions shows the lack of one outstanding candidate. I am much more concerned about the potentially appalling treatment of Bell - clearly the most talented bat in the side (to say nothing of being the best short leg fielder in the world). It is a miracle that he has developed and shown consistency when he has been up and down the order like a yo yo (and pressed as a slip). If the useless prats who run cricket want to risk finally and completely making Bell disenchanted with test cricket (despite his obviously well balanced temperament) then they should move him from no 3 - they will deserve any consequences.

  • 107.
  • At 02:58 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Davidr wrote:

According to Marky,Pietersen has been a waste of space for the last 12 months. Over 1000 test runs in 2007 at an average of 50 (4 hundreds) - I wish we had 11 players that were a waste of space! All players are entitled to the occasional poor series as KP had in SL. That doesn't mean he needs a kick up the backside!
Oh, and a ODI average of 43 in 2007 for KP - certaily a little down but still excellent by any standards.

  • 108.
  • At 05:54 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Tim Brown wrote:

To be perfectly frank, the continual omission of Foster is becoming a national disgrace. England need a genuine wicket keeper that can bat as oppose to the other way around?

If not Foster, I have seldom hear anything from Aggers on what Read has done wrong?

Prior can consider himself a little unlucky as he is not far short of being a genuine 5 or 6 at test level.

Hence, if the criterion is to choose the best wicket keeper then the selectors have once again failed abysmally.

  • 109.
  • At 07:05 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • gav vallance wrote:

Out of interest can someone quote the averages for 2007 of Mustard,Foster,Nixon,Read,Jones,Ambrose and any other suitable contenders for the job??

I would firstly select the highest scoring and then the best gloveman (Nixon/Read?) and let the two of them join up with the england camp, and try them both in tour matches,forcing one of them to seize their chance!

  • 110.
  • At 08:13 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • CEO wrote:

Agree with Prior decision and the re-instatement of Strauss. I guess we can expect swing in NZ - but isn't Hoggard nearing his sell-by date!!

  • 111.
  • At 10:22 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Cricketing genius wrote:

Some absolute rubbish being suggested here - so i must step in...
The team for the first test match against New Zealand should be...

Cook
Vaughan
Strauss
Pietersen
Bell
Collingwood
Ambrose
Sidebottom
Broad
Hoggard
Panesar

In reference to the guy who posted his team with Bopara as a specialist bowler... i'm still cringing

I agree totally re the treatment of.....

Strauss. He won a series as Captain then they bring in Flintoff who to be honest shouldn't Captain a Barge let along a Pedalo and it effects his cricket. That is going to rock your confidence if you win a series [wasn't that our last win?].

Bell is the best at three and the most consistent and what about Anderson. He wasn't used in the test matches in Sri Lanka and seems to have been blamed for their failures.

What did Broad do wrong in his solitary test? Maybe no wickets but he always puts the ball in the right place.

I think that Moores is not the right man. His selection policy is flawed and there is no consistency.

He too has his favourites. Again I can't see why Foster hasn't been picked. Judging from the pictures if Moores likes Prior so much no wonder he's picked Ambrose on the basis that he's a clone. Come to think of it, have you ever seen them side by side.

  • 113.
  • At 10:45 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • JS wrote:

Just want to comment on the shocking shout of Hoggard being past his sell by date. He has been one of our best bowlers for a few years now and he's our closest bowler to McGrath or now Stuart Clark. im Sorry CEO, thats a shocker.

  • 114.
  • At 11:04 PM on 05 Jan 2008,
  • Glynne Williams wrote:

Why oh why do we continually obsess about getting the next Gilchrist with a wicket keeper who can also score squillions of runs? From Duncan Fletcher, that's where we get it and it's become a national disease.

For goodness' sake, let's have a wicket keeper who wicket keeps and leave the runs to the batsmen who should be performing and aren't.
Sangakara is a classic example of somebody not being able to do both jobs - he didn't do so badly once he was relieved of wicket-keeping did he?

I'd willingly draw a veil over this whole miserable debate which is leading precisely nowhere. The Aussies must be absolutely killing themselves laughing.

  • 115.
  • At 11:00 AM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Dibbo wrote:

Prior probably had to go, although we should stick with him for the future, near and far. He was just unlucky.

As for Strauss, he does not deserve a recall to the England team, and he should never have had his central contract renewed. He was a disgrace in Australia last winter, and there was no excuse. He has a problem with both his technique, and his attitude to international cricket

In my opinion, he should NEVER represent England, ever

I have a big problem with England's selectors .Since Alic we have been look for a keeper .Jones good keeper but not a good batsman. Read just not good enough .Nixion i dont see the reason for him play he did his job in the world cup thanks very much and good night ...

Matt should e England's number one keeper no question .Look at other team like south africa and Australia.no matter wat thier keeper do they always stick with them

wat ever glad to have Tim and Phil in the team

  • 117.
  • At 12:39 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • jim wrote:

What about Mark Wallace at Glammy?

  • 118.
  • At 01:32 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • jamesie wrote:

Why not pick Read? He is proven to be one of the bes WK in the world and the way he was treated at the ashes last year was a disgrace. He came in against Pakistan, was asked to score runs, scored a 50 and was then dropped for the ashes in favour of tephlon Jones. Read's record of conceding only 1 bye in the 3-0 series win against the West Indies in 2004 is fantastic. If Mustard or Ambrose fails it makes sense to start with Read next season.

  • 119.
  • At 01:55 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • james wrote:

Why not pick Read? He is proven to be one of the bes WK in the world and the way he was treated at the ashes last year was a disgrace. He came in against Pakistan, was asked to score runs, scored a 50 and was then dropped for the ashes in favour of tephlon Jones. Read's record of conceding only 1 bye in the 3-0 series win against the West Indies in 2004 is fantastic. If Mustard or Ambrose fails it makes sense to start with Read next season.

  • 120.
  • At 02:00 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • Dave Winstanley wrote:

1)Strauss IS a good player - poor players don't tend to score a hundred, let alone two hundreds, in a series against Australia ('05); and he went into that series in not the greatest of form, remember?
2)Mark Ramprakash, I felt, was given far too many chances when he last played for England - but fair play to him, his performances in country cricket show him to be in the best form of his life, and a much-improved player, so surely he should be picked now...? Do the England selectors ever get ANYTHING right?
3)Yes, we do need a specialist wicket-keeper - in any case, most glove-men do a decent job with the bat once established - they've all got good eyes, it comes with their primary role!
and finally,
4) The jury is very much still out on Moores. I know he can't go out there and play the game for his players, but some of his comments seem a bit removed from reality for me. Another year of poor results and 'we've learned alot from this...' and people will be saying that he WAS just the cheap option.

  • 121.
  • At 02:38 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • NS wrote:


For England, or any other team for that matter,to win consistently, they need to become more like Australia - cheat and deceive. The most recent win saw the Aussie unsportsmanship (Symonds not walking when caught behind, Gilchrist and other thugs appealing vociferously at clear non edges, Clarke saying the Ganguly catch was out). This behavior from Australia has clearly lowered my admiration for them considerably. They are thugs and cheats, pure and clear.

So England, it doesn't matter what team you chose, do a better job of lying, cheating, deceiving like the Aussies have so perfected over the past two decades. You must also hope that the umpire don't continuously have brain farts in decisions made against you.

  • 122.
  • At 03:20 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • Anon wrote:

Patrick you must be off your rocker!!! who the hell is prior compared to sangakkara.... prior is a crap keeper who made a cpl of runs recently... sangakkara on the other hand is pure class... it is an insult to even talk of them in the same sentence!!!

  • 123.
  • At 04:31 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • marginalcomment wrote:

Prior had to go. The effect of dropped catches on bowlers is not to be underestimated and I expect that a couple of the bowlers will have had a quiet word with Vaughan about Prior on the way home from SL.

Just a word about the umpiring and the Australian conduct in the Test just finished. Very disappointing. And to think that an Indian is on a misconduct charge, but no Australian is somewhat compounds the felony.

  • 124.
  • At 05:49 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • Baz wrote:

What on earth has James Foster done to upset the selectors, by far the best gloveman/batsman on the county circuit. Prior, Reid, Jones @ Nixon have had their chance and all failed, the same will probably be said for Mustard and Ambrose after the tour when we start making excuses for their inexperience etc.

  • 125.
  • At 06:10 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • olly lewis wrote:

I think that dropping prior was a bit hash because he has done well in both test and one-day.He has got loads of run.I think that matt is the best keeper

  • 126.
  • At 06:50 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • Brian Taylor wrote:

"Dropping catches = draws not losses! Not enough runs loses matches!!" - so states Alan Cooper.
It's drivel of course. England have lost recent series against India and Sri Lanka partly because of the dropped catches and missed stumpings of Prior.
By comparison, Chris Read gets dropped after helping to win series against West Indies (2004) and Pakistan (2006). In both these series his keeping was praised (interestingly he averaged 42 in the Pakistan series - not bad for someone who cannot bat). So Mr Cooper ought to add another slogan: "catching catches wins matches!!"
You have to have a little sympathy for Prior. He was led to believe that sledging and runs were the key to wicketkeeping success. Thus to be dropped merely for dropping catches and missing stumpings is truly harsh, when it wasn't part of the job spec. Indeed, for Jonathan Agnew to criticise the axing of Prior smacks of hypocrisy, when he, and other like-minded correspondents (such as Mike Atherton) connived in creating the climate of opinion which demoted the importance of proper wicketkeepers in favour of batsmen who aren't yery good at catching with gloves on.
However, we must draw a line and move on. Catching catches and achieving stumpings are back on the agenda. Surely the next step is to see who does that the best. And if that person averaged 50 plus last year, and has scored 11 first class centuries, including a double-hundred, then so much the better. Failing that choose Foster.

  • 127.
  • At 10:55 PM on 06 Jan 2008,
  • Alan Cooper wrote:

Dropped catches doesn't seem to affect the Australian bowlers!

  • 128.
  • At 03:51 AM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Laura wrote:

Australians are strong as always....Well The England selectors sprung a major surprise as they unveiled their squads for the forthcoming ODI and Test series in New Zealand. Though Andrew Strauss has been recalled to the Test squad as anticipated, the shock omission is that of the wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has paid the price for one dropped catch too many in the Sri Lanka series......Read more abt it at:

http://www.cricketviewer.com/prior-dropped-as-ambrose-gets-his-chance.html

  • 129.
  • At 03:54 AM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Laura wrote:

Australians are strong as always....Well there is news abt Australian tour to Pakistan:

http://www.cricketviewer.com/australian-tour-to-pakistan.html

  • 130.
  • At 04:10 AM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • gingernuts wrote:

As an Australian, I can assure you that genuine cricket followers here derive little joy from our test team's behaviour and their willingness to resort to dishonesty in order to win. The most recent examples against India are nothing new, it's just that in this past game, there were significantly more of them.

I want my national team to succeed, but to do so with honour. The current Australia team does little to inspire confidence that they will leave the game in better moral shape than they found it. Appeals for obvious not-outs, refusals to walk when clearly out, added to a generally mean and nasty demeanour, mean that they are a team we Aussies love, but don't particularly like.

Also, Adam Gilchrist was a pedestrian keeper at best when first selected, and for those like me who have watched him closely, it's obvious that he hasn't improved. His incendiary batting has always been used to excuse his barely first-class standard keeping. This (Aussie) summer, we've been blessed to watch 2 very good keepers in Prasana Jayawardene and MS Dhoni, who have both shown up Gilchrist for the wicketkeeping imposter that he is. The longer he stays retired, the better Ian Healy has become!

Oh, and while acknowledging that Andrew Symonds was born in Birmingham, it should be noted that he moved out here to Australia when he was only 2 and spent all his formative cricket years in our system. I understand that young Ambrose has only lived in England for the past 4 years or so, and learned his cricket in Australia. Not that it should really matter - if he offers England something worth having, and is committed to the cause, then more power to him and to the England team.

  • 131.
  • At 09:41 AM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

When will the befuddled selectors realise that Read takes wickets, unlike all the other so-called keepers? I suspect England will not win matches until there is a complete volte face in this respect.

  • 132.
  • At 12:33 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Jim McGrath wrote:

Considering the emphasis DF placed on keepers scoring runs, it's certainly a little harsh to drop Prior (given that he's basically got the run-scoring bit right!); hopefully this signals something of a return to appointing keepers on their keeping ability first and foremost.

Considering Bell's record at 6 I'd certainly support shifting him back down there, but there is another option - Strauss at 6. Unless we suffer a horrendous batting collapse (admittedly this looks more and more likely each tour) the number 6 should hopefully be coming out at around 80 overs (on a score of 250 - 300 for 4), at which point the second new ball is due. Having a specialist opener at that point can be very useful (Vaughn started at 6, and Alec Stewart played there often enough too...), so why not give Strauss a go at it.

Unfortunately, the selections (reinstating Strauss, dropping Prior and Bopara) were fairly predictable, and as a result the team sheet will probably be predictable too: most likely we'll see Strauss opening with Vaughn at 3 and Bell at 6. Personally I like to see Vaughn opening (I'm sure it's his prefered position anyway), and I'd still be interested in trying my prefered line up for Sri Lanka: Shah at 3 and Bell at 6. However, since Strauss has been brought back into the squad, poor Shah looks like he'll be back to carrying drinks bottles again.

It's nice to see Freddie's in contention for some cricket in India too - although I fear that a batsman will be sacrificed when he finally makes his return to bowling, as there's no way England will risk him in a 4 man attack. Which is a shame, because Flintoff, Harmison, Hoggard and Panesar sounds like a decent attack to me!

  • 133.
  • At 01:51 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • MrPu wrote:

Will everyone stop talking PU!

If they bring back Ramprakash, i can get away with watching the cricket, because my other half knows he can dance...

  • 134.
  • At 02:57 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • MrPu wrote:

Put Chris Read in the side at number 11, just like Herbert Strudwick back in the day

  • 135.
  • At 04:16 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Doug wrote:

Ambrose? Why? Because he's a Aussie? A good batsman/keeper, but so is Prior, Mustard, Jones, Pothas and most county so called wicket keepers. Let's give them all a try! Primarily they are batsman first who can keep a bit. England has got to get out of this "let's find another Gilchrist" syndrom. There isn't one. Full stop no debate.

Instead either pick your best keeper/batsman (note the other way round). On this strength it is a toss bewteen Batty, Nixon (what did he do wrong?) and Foster. If you want the best specialist keeper who can bat a bit then there is only Chris Read and no one else enters the frame.

Now the selectors are bringing back Strauss who couldn't bat himself out of a paper bag last season. Drop Bell down. Why? And God help us when you leave the best batsman by miles out of selection (Ramprakash).

  • 136.
  • At 04:51 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Bristol Boy wrote:

Best possible England Team come on selectors

1) Cook
2) Joyce
3) Bell
4) Pierterson
5) Shah
6) Collingwood (c)
7) Blackwell
8) Davies (wk)
9) Plunkett
10) Lewis
11) Harmison

  • 137.
  • At 02:14 AM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

I have read several times on here people claiming Jones was a good keeper????? He was drpped because he wasn't scoring runs but was in no sense ever a good keeper...how short are peoples memories? He was a clown behind the stumps and in the last few tests was praised simply for not making and howlers....thats how low peoples expectations of him were.

Read is universallt acknowledged as the best english keeper and in truth I couldn't say there was a better current test keeper anywhere.

His batting average foe england would be far better if he'd actually had a run in the side once he'd matured. His longest streak came in bangladesh, sri lanka and the windies in 2003/2004 on very poor batting strips...
He then finally gets back in does fine with the bat and as per usual is fabulous behind the stumps....he then gets a couple of tests in a totally demoralised side in australia having only picked up a bat once in three months.

The issue of his playing in the ICL counting against him is farcical. Firstly all he and other did was get paid to play cricket when they were free of other cricket commitments and secondly he had signed before the ECB issued any warnings as to it affecting selection.

I spoek to an ex colleague of his and no cricket buffoon, Chris cairns a few months back and he was adamant that Read was by far the best keeper and had been treated abysmally by England.

Also as many an expert has said, its easier to become an effective test batsmen than create a great test keeper.

Whilst Read is still around and the likes of ambrose who is even by fomer coleagues view such as his captain nick Knight not the best keeper and only a tidy batsmen get slected ahead of him this tiresome debate will continue....the only thing that will stop it is Read getting decent extended run in the side.

  • 138.
  • At 08:20 AM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • John Edwards wrote:

Prior's Test Match average is well in excess of that of Chris Read. However, when that average is adjusted by the amount of runs given away my missed chances, I suspect it is considerably LESS than that of Chris Read. The best wicketkeeper should always be selected, and he should bat where his ability demands. To take this argument to an illogical (maybe) conclusion, would the Indians consider putting Tendulkar (or Dravid etc.) behind the stumps for a Test Match? I suspect not.

  • 139.
  • At 10:53 AM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Gilbert wrote:

Surely it must be of grave concern that the technique of wicket keeping is not being taught or recognised. The “goal keeping style” looks impressive but it is caused by poor foot work. From Alec Stewart to date there has only been one technically good keeper for England – Reid. His good footwork makes the catches look easy whilst the diving drops by Jones, Nixon, and Prior etc. are seen as great efforts. Rarely did you see Alan Knott dive – he didn’t have to because of his footwork / technique (and that was with uncovered tracks). We need good stumpers (e.g Rod Marsh) who understand “keeping”, to evaluate the available talent not ex bowlers and batsmen who might as well be selecting lottery numbers.

  • 140.
  • At 10:54 AM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • KP 4 SKIPPER! wrote:

I personally think its good to see the selectors show a bit of backbone by dropping out of form players who talk the talk rather than walk the walk. Something that has been missing from our game for a while?

Maybe we are seeing the effects of Moores already. Watch your back Michael Vaughan, you better score some runs in NZ against their county standard attack or you to could be dropped.

  • 141.
  • At 01:17 PM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • Bibek wrote:

i think vaughan should not be batting at no.1, it's not ideal place for him. Trescothick must be called back n vaughan at 3

  • 142.
  • At 02:49 PM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • KP 4 SKIPPER! wrote:

Both are not good enough for international cricket my friend. Cook and Strauss. They will score more runs.

  • 143.
  • At 03:43 PM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • Jackie Litherland wrote:

Bell has to stay at No 3. He is the most accomplished batsman in the team and is needed to steady the ship if 1 and 2 go down. Looking to the future instead of plugging gaps now, we should be investing in his potential. At 3 he has room to improve and expand his batting skills. Strauss has not that capacity for impovement. I like his batting but it is limited. As far as I know he's an opener and never been at 3. Why not try him at 6?
Bell isn't the dogsbody of the team to be pushed up and down the order. All this talk of him not making enough hundreds from his fifties is media moaning for the sake of it. Are they criticising Chanderpaul for the same thing? Are they heck!
Bell needed to establish consistancy. He's done that.
Sri Lanka identified him as our best batsman and the one to target. Whatever happens we should remember his brilliant playing of Murali. As for the run-outs. Last two have been courtesy of Pietersen and Cook sending him back to certain death after their wrong calls. Both his partners had advanced half way down the wicket before changing their minds. The mindset is obviously that Bell is expendable. But the Cook run-out resulted in the England collapse. A lesson somewhere?
As for Prior I have always been a Read fan. Absolutely shocking that the best wicket keeper in England has been treated so disgracefully. Bell might need to know that being the best doesn't bode well for promotion.

  • 144.
  • At 04:00 PM on 08 Jan 2008,
  • jimbo16 wrote:

Prior might have had a good start with his international career but to be a top class wicketkeeper you must be able to take catches.As the saying goes"catches win matches".too many players don't perform on a regular basis such as pietersen.they think that just because they r in the england squad they won't be dropped.i feel sorry for bopara because this was his first test series for england and he was nervous.he is young and will learn to improve.good luck to monty and hope he comes back stronger than before.

  • 145.
  • At 06:53 AM on 09 Jan 2008,
  • mark mccormack wrote:

I just wonder what Chris Read has done to so upset selectors that he is not the automatic first choice as keeper. Read has been shabbily treated over the years and deserves another chance, or at least a logical explanation from the selectors as to why he is omitted.

  • 146.
  • At 01:48 PM on 09 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew wrote:

If anyone thinks Prior should be retained as batsmen, they're mad. While he is a good wicky/batsman, an overall career average of under 39 proves he is not yet good enough to be considered as a Test batsmen.

And surely England have to stick with Bell at 3, especially for NZ who are one of the weaker test teams. he has a sound technique and can score runs all round the park. Can the same be said for Strauss, who can cut and pull, but drive? Leave Bell where he is, if he's constantly moved up and down the order, England risk screwing up one of their better talents of recent years...

  • 147.
  • At 06:15 PM on 09 Jan 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

Dropping Prior was fair on form. The real concern is do we have anyone better? England are similarly struggling to find 4 bowlers good enough to bowl for a successful test team. I think the issue is not so much one of selection but of the quality of fit players available. Unfortunately until England have a decent bowling attack and a keeper who can regularly take catches quality opposition will continue to stick 500+ on us.

  • 148.
  • At 12:46 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • mel wrote:

i think strauss is an awesome batsman and should not have been dropped for sri lanka.

as a sussex fan, i like prior and think he was also a good batsman, and a decent keeper, ok he dropped catches but doesnt everyone.

  • 149.
  • At 11:06 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Darren Lewis wrote:

I totally agree with the points highlighted in this article but I would also like to add one of my own. It is curious that umpires have been replaced downgraded or suspended following controversial matches where the countries involed generate huge televisions audiences. Cynical big business decision? You might think so. I couldn't possibly comment. Umpires that incur the wrath of these countries's cricket establishments should beware. They may find themselves soon made sacrificial lambs. Respect for the umpire and their decisions in cricket is paramount in cricket whatever the circumstances.The ICC should be backing umpires not bowing to pressure from National Teams or their respective national cricket boards.

  • 150.
  • At 05:15 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • dags wrote:

In reply to Mel's comment (148). No, Not everyone drops catches. Not Chris Read. He doesn't need to make as many runs. To make up for the runs Prior's drops have cost he would need an average better than Bradman's.

  • 151.
  • At 02:41 AM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Ian McGarry wrote:

I do not see the problem with dropping someone (Prior) who has made lots of costly errors, a fact which surely cannot be denied. He can always get back into the side if he improves his keeping again or if the new incumbent fails. I worry about Ian Bell - he is best at 5 I find, he is not steely enough for 3 - which is where Vaughan should be of course. As for the Ramprakash question - getting stacks of runs against English County bowlers means nothing in my book - he always used to crumble under pressure and if you bring him back now he'll feel under even more pressure than ever because he'll bring an "Oh god well this time I REALLY have got to perform!" mindset which I think will do for him! So, hold the calls for his return - it will not solve anything. Basically, Pietersen needs to start pulling his finger out or he should be swiftly despatched for a time to the county circuit to recoup some respect and humility for the game he is supposed to be doing - his cocky reverse sweeps are now getting beyond a joke, costing his team dearly, and are turning me against him (although he did get a couple of bad decisions in India, so maybe he would have turned the corner in one of those einnings). That doesn't alter the fact that he has played some extremely annoyingly reckless shots and depriving us as supporters of seeing England set decent totals or avoid getting shot out for embarrassing village cricket scores. God, I thought the 46 vs West Indies was a one-off - it shocked me at the time. But this sub-100 thing has been happening too often for my liking with ENgland and the batters need to start thinking more and stop chucking wickets away in crucial games that we would have a good chance of winning/drawing without their recklessness.

  • 152.
  • At 07:46 PM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • del wrote:

The last time I looked the job of a wicket keeper was to catch the ball. If that keeper could bat then this was an added bonus.The best keeper in the country is Read. Amopng keepers he has one of the highest averages. A pity that England did not prevail with hims maybe they would have won more games, but what doi i know?

  • 153.
  • At 12:09 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • Golden Gun wrote:

Yes the keepers job is to catch the ball!!

However with a tail that reads Hoggy, Sidebottom, Harmy, Monty. There is a real need for a batman who can keep! (Prior batted very well with this fragile tail avg over 40)

The way Read has batted in the past for England is not good enough I am afraid. (23 innings, 1 half century, highest score of 55, avg 18 runs per innings) It would leave teams licking their lips once the sixth wicket went down. We would strugle to put on fifty runs for the last four wickets!

So to sum up people stop banding Reads name about. He can hit as many runs as he likes against some laughable attacks in div two!

Give Tim Ambrose the gloves, and a run in NZ. However if he fails surely Proir deserves another go?

  • 154.
  • At 07:12 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • John Farrell wrote:

How can a something be both harsh and fair ? An utter contradiction. The decision to drop him was not harsh. Prior could not catch a ball behind the stumps with a practice net. To argue that he could be taken as a batsman is a different matter - but would he be up to fielding any more than keeping wicket at this level ? The decision to drop him was right because he showed he isn't up to scratch in his specialist role. What other choice was there ?

  • 155.
  • At 07:44 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • bill wrote:

It was probably right to drop Prior but whoever comes in as the next keeper will still be compared to Alec Stewart and the levels that he achieved. He was a top class batsman who averaged 46.5 solely as a batsman and kept wicket exceptionaly well. Both Atherton and Hussain rated him very highly and he rarely missed a chance - Russell missed more chances than Stewart. The selectors have to realise that there is no like for like replacement for Stewart (retired 4 years ago) and instead should work out what type of keeper they want at number 7 in the order. Whoever they go for give him a good go and judged him on his ability and not Stewarts achievements. James Foster and Jon Batty are my choices.

  • 156.
  • At 08:12 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • Duncan wrote:

re: Matt Prior

Englands Loss Sussex's gain!! ah well just another county championship on its way to Hove

As to Aggers saying the catching was poor in the last series , I thought that "Teflon" had sponsored the side ! Such things are basic and many other mistakes made come under the same banner. 20/20 cricket has a lot to answer for. Mind you , watching the last few tests, all teams included, where have all the spectators gone. South Africa v West Indies , close matches but hundreds of empty seats. Has cricket seen its sell by date ?????

  • 158.
  • At 02:14 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Jason wrote:

1. Cook
2. Strauss
3. Vaughan
4. Kevin Pietersen
5. Paul Collingwood
6. Ian Bell
7. keeper
8. Ryan Sidebottom
9. Matthew Hoggard
10. Steve Harmison
11. Monty Panesar

simple..

  • 159.
  • At 01:56 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Chris Clarke-Williams wrote:

I was disappointed to see that Pietersen has still not been dropped. How inconsistent and unreliable do you have to be. He really needs a rest and the chance to play county cricket for a while then get picked again if he rediscovers his form.

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