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England player ratings

Graham Gooch | 15:53 UK time, Monday, 26 May 2008

Here's how I rated the performances of the England team in the Old Trafford Test.

Andrew Strauss
Along with Panesar, he effectively won this Test match for England. After all the self doubt, and public criticism, he was back to somewhere near his best. 9

Alastair Cook
Partnered Strauss well but needs to expand his range of shots against spin. 6

Michael Vaughan
His captaincy skills were up to standard and I was also very impressed with his fluency and batting management against the dangerous Daniel Vettori 8

Kevin Pietersen
Aggressive intent was what England needed to see them home, but he took an unnecessary and stupid risk to put them back under pressure. 7

Ian Bell
Managed to edge England over the line, but doesn't look in the best of form. Has the talent to continue his England career. 6

Paul Collingwood
At the moment he's woefully out of touch with the bat. But a good player doesn't lose his ability, he just loses the confidence in that ability. 6

Tim Ambrose
Steady performance behind the stumps, but played a naïve shot to be dismissed in the first innings. 6

Stuart Broad
Mature performance with the bat, still learning with the ball. The England selectors must keep faithwith him. 7

Ryan Sidebottom
Not much in the Old Trafford pitch for him, but still Mr Reliable. 7

Monty Panesar
Magnificent bowling to put England back in the match when all the pressure was on his shoulders. 9

James Anderson
Consistency is not his watchword, when will it be? 6

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Where is Darrell Hair's rating? He played a good hand.. or rather refused to put his hand up... er finger up!

  • Comment number 2.

    I feel you're being a little generous with the marks Graham. While England (or rather Strauss and Monty, with support from Vaughan and KP) have played some brilliant cricket in the last 24 hours or so, why were England in such a terrible hole against a side as limited as NZ in the first place?

    The frailties in the middle order are clear to see, and they can't be due to a lack of talent. A spine of KP, Bell, Colly should be one that opposing sides fear, but instead all three, particularly Bell and Colly, look like they could get out at any time. Bell's tame dismissal to the workman like O'Brien was worrying. How will he fair against the genuinely impressive SA bowling attack of Steyn, Ntini, Morkel and Kallis?

    If England can use this as a springboard and get confidence going to Trent Bridge, we can look forward to the SA series with genuine excitement. But there is NO WAY that South Africa will allow England off the hook in the manner NZ did.

    The second half of the summer is going to be a chastening experience for this side unless they improve all aspects of their game.

    Let's hope yesterday afternoon's performance, and today's batting, is a start, not another false dawn.

  • Comment number 3.

    really think andersons had his chance, but who to replace him?
    with both hoggard and sitebottom in the team, there isn't eough variety.
    we have a tall, faster bowler (broad), and a mr reliable (sidebottom), but anderson appears to be something of a spare part. all the more reason to get flintoff back, whne hes definitely fit.
    on the other hand, graham onions or tremlett appear to be bowling well, and i think they deserve a chance.

    pleased with ambrose, but a little disappointed in the middle order. i think collingwood should make way for a while to regain his form, to be replaced by ramprakash.

  • Comment number 4.

    I wouldn't make wholesale changes in the middle order. I would stick with Collingwood as he gives an extra dimension in the field and can bowl some useful overs too. He still averages over 40 and is a quality player and I think in the long run this will shine through in much the same way as Strauss has come back as he too is quality

    Sadly though I have never really been convinced by Bell at this level. He doesn't look like a test match cricketer to me and Goochies mark is way too generous in my opinion. I suspect Bell is only in the team thanks to a central contract, and the fact that the alternatives that are in the wings (Bopara and Shah) also look totally outclassed at this level. Furthermore one has to rememer this Kiwi side is pretty weak compared to other test nations.

    I agree with bantamweight re Anderson. He has had plenty of chances and just doesn't have the consistency for the highest level. His body language is similar to Harmisons in that he sometimes doesn't look as if he really WANTS it. If I were a selector neither would wear the crown and three lions in anger again (not that Harmison ever did anyway!)

  • Comment number 5.

    How can you make the case for the selectors to keep faith with Broad (0 wickets) but not Anderson (5 wickets)??
    They are both young players and England should keep faith with both of them if they want to gain consistency.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'd stick with the 9s for Strauss and Monty but knock everyone else down a mark.

  • Comment number 7.

    Some of the marks appear a tad generous. The first innings batting performance was woeful, especially in the middle-order, and yet those batsmen are given marks that indicate they had, at worst, put in an 'average' game. There was surely genuine concern that England were turning back towards the dark days of 1999.

  • Comment number 8.

    What's the point of the numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5 then?

  • Comment number 9.

    I'd take at least 1 point off Bell, Collingwood, KP and Broad.

    Anderson bowls some dangerous deliveries, but if he's going for 6 an over against NZ he's going to be a liability against Smith and Kallis.

    For me, Hoggard has to come back in as soon as he's fit. In place of Anderson. I don't see a problem with him and Sidebottom in the same team. Both are 80-85mph swing bowlers, but the crucial difference is that Sidebottom is a left-armer, so there is still variety.

    Broad is only keeping Flintoff's place warm at the moment. I think Tremlett might be a better option. Broad needs to contribute wickets as well as runs. His batting's a bonus, doesn't merit a place by itself.

    I'd keep the top 7 the same for Trent Bridge, but Ambrose, Bell and Collingwood should be looking over their shoulders.

    Rob Key should be next in line if Bell/Colly mess up, though a case could also be made for Shah (forget about Ramprakash).

    Where do you go if Ambrose doesn't come good? We're running out of options.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Gooch confused the number 6 with 0.

  • Comment number 11.

    All six or more???? No way! England were lucky to win against a moderate NZ. Bell, KP (run out????) and Colly at least one point less. Vaughans batting was not bad in the 2nd innings but in the first it was. His captancy was at the end of yhe first NZ innings mediocre. Monthy was very good in the third innings but terrible in the first. Broads batting was nice with the ball he has a lot to learn. Strauss did very well. I like Cook but this was not his best game, 6 ok. Anderson was lucky to pick up a few wickets in the end but did not bowl like he can.

    Andrew Strauss 9
    Alastair Cook 6
    Michael Vaughan 7
    Kevin Pietersen 5
    Ian Bell 5
    Paul Collingwood 5
    Tim Ambrose 6
    Stuart Broad 5
    Ryan Sidebottom 6
    Monty Panesar 8
    James Anderson 5

  • Comment number 12.

    I have to agree with those saying Goochie is a bit generous with his ratings. It is understandable given the remarkable turnaround, but in fairness that was pretty much down to Strauss and Monty.

    Strauss 9/10 - top scored in both innings, his hundred in the second innings made sure of a successful run chase against a disappointing kiwi effort.

    Cook 6/10 - needed to convert either of his starts, especially as he seems to be keenest to get on with it.

    Vaughan 7/10 - captaincy was his usual (ordinary) standard. Made two decent contributions with the bat, but does rather take his time.

    Pietersen 6/10 - rescued his match with his second innings knock, doesn't make up for his relative failure first innings that contributed to England being in a difficult position.

    Bell 5/10 - didn't do enough when needed, fortunately Panesar and Strauss came to the rescue.

    Collingwood 3/10 - like Bell didn't do enough when needed and his late crawl to a half-decent not out score when the game was all but won was embarrassing.

    Ambrose 4/10 - has had better games, he'd better shape up with the bat or he will be the umpteenth keeper dropped since Stewart retired.

    Broad 4/10 - fine effort with the bat, but he's in the side to take wickets and failed to do so. Maybe he could replace Bell or Collingwood in the batting line-up and be a fifth bowler.

    Sidebottom 6/10 - steady eddy performance, not at his very best though

    Panesar 9/10 - excellent performance in the NZ second innings to open up a chance at winning the match after a disappointing return first innings

    Anderson 6/10 - wayward and expensive, but he got wickets. Most fielding sides would take 118/4 if offered it

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the ratings for Bell and Collingwood were a bit generous - actually I think the ratings for quite a lot of them were generous but close enough to mine.

    I'd far rather see KP run out after dominating the bowlers than fiddling around and then getting tamely out for 15 lbw or caught behind. Of course I'd rather see him not getting run out and moving on to get a solid 70 or so.

    I think Collingwood in the long term is a good player, and he's one of the few in the side that's a nuggety fighter type. England need at least one. But, I think he needs a break to get some time in the middle for Durham. Someone like Ramps might make sense, because we know it's a temporary thing whilst Collingwood gets some runs under his belt, and moving Ramprakash aside isn't going to disturb a new player's career.

    Bell can score runs, but how often does he score runs when it matters? Scoring a pretty 100 against Bangladesh, or against a side in a match where both sides are scoring 500 runs per innings, who cares? If Bell had scored a decent 50 in the first innings of this match, when England could really have done with it, the whole nature of the match would have been different. Not sure who to replace him with, but there must be a decent number 3, 4 of 5 out there that we could put in. Getting runs at bad times as well as good is something we could do with in the side, certainly against SA.

    Unlike some of the people above I think Broad was good value for a 7, I might have gone higher. He didn't have a great wicket taking test, but he bowled a reasonably tight line throughout (unlike Anderson say) and he's starting to be a regular contributor with a bat at number 8: something else England needs.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think some of the ratings are quite wrong:

    Andrew Strauss 9
    Alastair Cook 6
    Michael Vaughan 8 - too high, more like 7. His captaincy in the NZ first innings was *not* good.
    Kevin Pietersen 7
    Ian Bell 6
    Paul Collingwood 6 - too high, more like 5. He's more out of touch than Bell and would probably be the one to make way for Flintoff later in the summer.
    Tim Ambrose 6 - too high, more like 4. He didn't have a great game with the gloves and nothing with the bat. The WK position is still a live issue.
    Stuart Broad 7
    Ryan Sidebottom 7 - too high, more like 6. He wasn't Mr Dependable for a lot of the NZ first innings, didn't make the batsmen play the new ball.
    Monty Panesar 9
    James Anderson 6 - too low, more like 7. Not consistent, true, but deserved more for some excellent short, hostile bowling that actually gave a chance for the pitch to impact the game with the fast ball. Should have been bowled earlier on day 2.

  • Comment number 15.

    Way to generous with the ratings. There were 5 clear defining moments in this test.
    1. Taylors magnificent 154 in the first innings.
    2. Vetori's five for which had England on the ropes.
    3. Broads 30 in the first innings which enabled England to avoid the follow on (the game most certainly would have ended differently if England had to follow on).
    4. Monty's six for in NZ's 2nd innings giving England hope.
    5. Strauss's great ton in Englands 2nd innings which enabled the victory.

    KP did not rescue the 2nd innings with his knock, in fact he had a very poor game.

    Please give credit where credit is due.

  • Comment number 16.

    I find it bizarre that people say that Bell only performs against Bangladesh.

    Pakistan (Test away)- Ave 52 Leading run scorer when all other batsmen found it hard.

    Pakistan at home - Ave 93.75 Leading run scorer and 3 consecutive centuries

    India (odi) Man of the series

    West indies- ave 45 (inc century )

    Sri Lanker ave 43

    New Zeland ave 50

    Second youngest player to reach 2,500 and he scored most of those runs against good opposition .

    Yes at times he gets out to average bowling and can be frustrating at times. However that sums up Englands batting order. He has talent and he has scored runs. I think that batting wise Collingwood is the closest to the temporary door, however I think that we should stick with them all for now. Just a couple of weeks ago he was given a award by Wisden.

    It was clear in Australia that Englands problem was the opening pair who got through the new ball not once. If the openers can do just that which is looking on the up then the middle order will improve.

    I am a big fan of Key and Bopara. Shah is a great player but if people find Bell frustrating then he has little chance. The could come in for people and as I have said collingwood is the closest to going out. However it seems strange saying that for the same could has been said for Strauss and Vaughn just a couple of months ago. So these things vary and it might be best if England just let the current batters continue for a few more games at least. Perhaps the most dramatic thing that needs to happen is a change in batting order.

  • Comment number 17.

    Totally harsh on James Anderson. He contributed five wickets, and bowled with hostility which was (due to unfortunate injury) effectively worth an additional 2 wickets, and probably helped other bowlers.

    He is not consistent, and that is a worry for how our pace attack is going to work. He still has a lot to prove at this level, and i'm not sure he's good enough to play in the Ashes. He is obviously given less leeway than the young Broad. But the fact is that he did contribute more.

    Broad is a young and exciting prospect, but he did not contribute as much to this win as Anderson did, despite his plucky first inning knock.

  • Comment number 18.

    I can't understand the clamour for Ramprakash. He's nearly 39 and scored just 2 centuries in 92 test innings at an average of 27 and a strike rate of 36. Not really justification for dropping much younger players who average 42 or 43 at strike rates over 50. If you want old men who score runs for fun in county cricket, why not recall Butcher and Hick as well? Both had much better test records than Ramps.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have to agree with comments regarding James Anderson's performance compared to Broad's.

    Both are still young and need to be stuck with - why would you drop Anderson after five wickets in a Test match, two of which were vital in the NZ first innings. Had How and Mills built on their starts of sixty-odd, England could have been behind by 250 and that would have meant a far more daunting task today.

    Pace bowlers aside, credit to Monty and Strauss for their performances! Good to see Strauss back to something like himself.

  • Comment number 20.

    wtf? anderson gets 5 wickets in the test and retires a batter. broad gets 0 wickets. and broad gets a higher mark? broad is a talented guy but overrated in my opinion.

  • Comment number 21.

    I generally agree with the comments and ratings, perhaps a little generous to the middle order, the first innings batting performance of which almost put the team in a position where they could have lost the match.

    I don't though agree with the rating for Broad, if England are to persist with a four-man attack they need four bowlers who take wickets. No wickets and still a rating of 7!! In fact only three wickets in two matches at an average of over 70 does not bode well, Anderson has 10 at 27, though I agree he goes for runs and this may need to be addressed against better batting sides.

    The issue with the middle order is who is pressing to replace them, perhaps only Key has shown the consistency long-term, and was unlucky to be pushed aside after his previous appearances, he is a top-order batter though. Maybe Bopara deserves another chance, he is in the batting form of his life, he looks as likely to take a wicket as Broad as well! I think though that Colly deserves to be kept faith for the time being but needs to get some runs under his belt soon.

  • Comment number 22.

    Strauss 9 (fantastic knocks under pressure)
    Cook 5 (good player but didnt really perfom)
    Vaughan 6 (scored far too slowly 1st ins)
    Pietersen 5 (improved, but silly run out)
    Bell 4 (poor 1st ins, odd good stroke 2nd)
    Collingwood 3 (oh dear,got to perform at TB)
    Ambrose 6 (nieve dismissal, keeping fine)
    Broad 5 (good knock, needs wickets)
    Sidebottom 6 (tight bowling, but not deadly)
    Panesar 8 (yes monty)
    Anderson 5 (far too expensive)

  • Comment number 23.

    hey goochy, well i am pleased with your ratings, but theres 3 people which in my opinion u have dont it wrong. anderson, collingwood and bell were disappointing. anderson who did well against india last year has changed and shows he is not consistent enough and that goes the same with bell and colly. in m opinion anderson = 3, colly = 5 and bell = 5

  • Comment number 24.

    Being in the US, and thanks to the strange nature of sporting coverage contracts, I wasn't able to watch any of this game, BUT I did see the whole series England played in NZ - JUST TWO MONTHS AGO!!

    For those commenting here with memories shorter than goldfish, may I remind you that Broad outperformed Panesar, and Bell, Collingwood and Ambrose saved England repeatedly from the failures of Strauss, KP and Vaughan.

    Players are allowed to struggle some times, even for two or three tests in a row, despite what the league of messageboard experts thinks! If this board acted as the selectors England would field a completely different XI for every test.

    I happen to believe that apart from possibly the case of James Anderson, the grass in unlikely to be greener elsewhere, even if that grass in Flintoff!

  • Comment number 25.

    Whats with all the collingwood haters? Sure he's out of touch, but hes a fighter and next innings he could graft out another of his centuries. #12 what has Ian Bell to jusity a 5 to Collys 3?! Theres too many people just looking to push Colly out the door every time he has a bad match. Stick with him and he'll pull through..



    Unlike James Anderson, who reminds me a lot of Sajid Mahmood, just slower. Which can never be a good thing. Broad should stay, hes scoring runs and its only a matter of time before he starts getting lots of wickets, whereas Hoggard should come in and replace Anderson as soon as hes fit.

  • Comment number 26.

    Broad was barely used in the 2nd innings so I think it is fair to discount that innings in terms of assessing whether he should be in the side. So OK 3 innings where he didn't take many wickets but at Lords a bit more luck would have seen him get more and in NZ he was by far the best English bowler and out of all the bowling options he brings the most in terms of batting ability.

    Hence, dropping him would be scandalous.

    Anderson on the other hand goes from sublime to redicilous one ball to the next. If Anderson is one of main bowlers against S Africa and Aus they will be in 7th heaven. A new ball bowler who goes for 5+ an over against NZ. No offence to NZ but SA and Aus will probably take him for nearer 7/8+ an over. Now unless he takes a wicket an over that just ain't acceptable. It also means that if someone like Monty/Sidey etc is bowling tight, threatening deliveries at the other end the batsmen just block em waiting for the free runs Jimmy will give them.

    Bowlers work best in pairs - an often forgotten fact and I doubt many bowlers in the England team are queing up to be Jimmy's partner. Gough for example, England's last consistent prolific strike bowler, worked best when playing with Caddick, who kept it tight at one end.

  • Comment number 27.

    Broad was unlucky - achingly unlucky - not to take wickets in the first innings of this test match. The fact that his 1st innings economy rate was slap bang on 3/over (perfectly acceptable by anyone's standards) suggests that the NZ batsmen were forced to show him a lot more respect than most teams would when facing a new-be quickie. Anderson conceded almost twice as many runs and had to pay dearly for his wickets - hardly what I would call pressure bowling. As for the second innings, it's a bit harsh to suggest that Broad should have taken wickets when he only bowled 4 overs (granted - expensive ones - but his overall economy for the match was still under 3.5/over).

    Wait till Broad's got 10 test matches under his belt (rather than just two) before you dismiss him as under rated. I have watched him play since he was a teenager. His temperament is excellent - he could teach Harmison and Anderson a thing or two about keeping their composure. I just get the feeling that Broad is there to stay. He kind of reminds me of Bret Lee (maybe it's just his good looks! Hehe!)

    Oh yeah - almost forgot - well done to Strauss and Panasar. Collingwood - where have you gone? Can you come back now please?

    Anna

  • Comment number 28.

    Do some of you bloggers look at facts - 2 matches 10 wickets at 26 a piece - ready to be dropped?
    Sidebottom, Panesar and Anderson have earnt their corn as have Strauss and Vaughan. The rest need to improve but don't change a winning team.

  • Comment number 29.

    Give Ambrose a decent run in the side. England fans are always trying to find the next Adam Gilchrist. Be satisfied with a decent w/k who chips in with some runs even the top order fail sometimes.

  • Comment number 30.

    Bell 5 Collingwood 3 Ambrose 4 = Wot I Fink........ Shah 7 Bopara 7 Prior 7 is Also Wot I Fink.

  • Comment number 31.

    Anderson's figures flattered to deceive- he was poor in the first innings- only the wickets against the tail-enders boosted his figures. Stuart Broad chipped in with extremely useful runs, and I felt was unlucky on the second day not to get a wicket.

    KP- It was a silly run out, and should take him down a score to 6. Silly run out or a silly shot to get out are both bad decisions, so should be counted as the same.

    Vaughan- His captaincy was woeful. I'm sorry, but this time the credit goes to the batsman in the second innings, and Monty's bowling. If Vaughan can get 8 for putting a spinner on to bowl on a spinners wicket, he's going to get 8 every time! His fielding positions were terrible on the second day. Not to mention a couple of schoolboy errors in the field- (such as standing in front of the stumps to an attemped run out, rather than behind, that led to overthrows). He looked like he'd get out to every ball in his first innings. His second innings looked much more assured, however. I'd give him 6.

    Despite cook getting poor scores, I'd say 6 is right- he looked in good touch before getting a poor decision off a fantastic ball.

    The other scores are about right. I almost wish we needed 50 more- it could have given Bell and Colly the chance to play themselves back into form.

  • Comment number 32.

    Strauss 9
    Cook 6
    Vaughan 7
    Kp 6
    Bell 4
    Collingwood 3
    Ambrose 6
    Broad 6
    Sidebottom 7
    Monty 9
    Anderson 5

    Thats a bit fairer

  • Comment number 33.

    Think it's a bit unfair giving colly a 3 and bell 4, both rate at about a 5.

    My main concern is the bowling, and one player in particular James Anderson. He can bowl an amazing spell of hostile bowling but then looks less than ordinary and when a team attacks him the ball often disappears to the boundary. Really need an out and out pace bowler to compliment the unit. But in saying that the next test is at the swing bowler friendly Trent Bridge.

    Its complimentary to the selectors that they have chosen the same side for the last 4 tests but sometimes a change needs to be made.

  • Comment number 34.

    Far FAR too generous, Mr Gooch. I'd knock a point off everyone, and two points off Bell and Collingwood.

  • Comment number 35.

    A good result but I think the application of some players is disturbing considering we are going to be playing much bigger fish soon.

    I do rate New Zealand and we could learn alot from their team spirit/togetherness, guts and fitting 'average' players into an effective team unit. But if you want to challenge Australia/SA you really should be rolling them over more easily.

    I think Pietersen should decide if he wants to play for England or chase dollars. How he cant 'pay school fees' from 400k plus sponsorship is beyond me. For me he flatters to deceive. Ask yourself honestly if you were opposition bowler would you fancy yourself against him, because i would. His only form of defence is attack, and his decision making is poor. Instead of looking at videos of himself to improve he should dig out some Thorpe or Trescothick innings and knuckle down ala Strauss.

    I like Collingwood and Bell but they seem woefully out of touch and now might be the time to blood some promising youngsters to put pressure on the middle order.

    One final thought is that I dont know why we dont use one days as a breeding ground for promising test players with the right attitude. Some players play too much and lose their spark. It's not as if they will make us any worse!!

  • Comment number 36.

    hmmm, even the ever positive goochy seems to think anderson is out of his depth. i was very happy to read the following article recently; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2008/05/25/scjame125.xml

    anyway, my point is that the following, with a little fortune regarding injuries and development, will make the quality of player in our squad better than at present.

    simon jones
    freddie
    adil rashid
    joe denly
    ravi bopara

    i think we should stop having a go at the team constantly and just accept the following;

    bell has not developed into the type of player many expected and is never going to show the nous and heart of graham thorpe, who we still miss.

    collingwood is an excellent fielder and improving bowler and is probably worth his place - yes, he is out of form but it aint his fault the rest of the side are too!

    we are a weaker team than we were when we won the...you know what, and this is hard to accept, especially when the players seem intent on indicatin gto the media that [a] they are treating every series as a warm up for the ashes and [b] they seem genuinely hurt by criticism yet fail to understand it. example? everyone knows that you are only mediocre as a test batsman if you average 40-42, the dominant and winning players add at least six runs on to this figure.

    until a player emerges and takes our bowling attack up a level we will continue to let games drift out of control when bowling - the aggression shown by jimmy anderson on day one of this test indicated to me that he has the ability to win tests for us, but how long do we give him?

    its all on jimmy.

  • Comment number 37.

    "bell has not developed into the type of player many expected and is never going to show the nous and heart of graham thorpe, who we still miss."

    What makes you say that?

    Thorpe took a while to develop in to the player we all remember, and Bell's career actually seems to be following Thorpe's pretty closely so far. Thats not to say that he will develop in to a new Thorpe, but I wouldn't write it off at the moment.

  • Comment number 38.

    Totally agree with those calling for consistency and pointing out good past performances from bell and collingwood. not sure about Ambrose as a top class w/keeper-batsman, though. Tremlett deserves a better run in the side as he has the ability to bowl at a better pace than broad/sidey/hoggard. With the bat, wahtever happened to Ed Joyce? I seem to remember him getting good runs against the Australian attack in the ODIs in Australia which suggests he has class and bottle -plus he's another l/hander

  • Comment number 39.

    My sentiment is not far off the others posted here. Save for the match winners Goochy has been too generous.

    Regarding the Anderson vs Broad debate; if Hoggy doesn't come back in for the next test then both will have another chance to show what they can do. However, Hoggy will be back and then the selectors will have to think long and hard about what to do.

    Anderson in the right conditions is UNPLAYABLE. However, when the ball is not swinging and there is nothing in the pitch for him he is horribly expensive. I witnessed him go for tons against SA at Lords in 2003 (a while ago I admit) and G Smith absolutely destroyed him because he over-pitched on leg stump about twice an over to him and it was 4 runs every time. SA has a great batting line up and strong bowling. We can't afford to be sending him out if the pitch is docile. It should be a case of horses for courses. Broad's vastly superior batting and excellent control with the ball would be a better option if the conditions do not suit Anderson's bowling style. If we want a wicket taking match winner though, it has to be Simon Jones when fully fit.

    Looking forward to seeing our attack in late summer that features:

    Hoggard
    Sidebottom
    Jones
    Flintoff
    Panesar

    That will definitely take 20 wickets in a match.

  • Comment number 40.

    lets face it:
    gooch get over yourself.....
    these ratings are WAY TOO optimistic.....
    england are RUBBISH end of!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    The Correct Stategy is Not-to-LOSE V Oz in Tests 1 +2...... So V Nz + S.Af + next Winter the Team needs to be Pre-pared to get Summit-like:

    Cook
    Strauss
    Vaughan
    Peterson
    Bopara
    Rashid
    Prior
    Flintoff
    Broad
    Sidebottom
    Jones / Panesar

  • Comment number 42.

    I have to agree with the person who said that England did not deserve all sixes or better.
    Let's be honest here neither NZ or England are a top class cricket nation. We are better than Zimbabwe, NZ and on a good day one or two others, but we cannot compete with the likes of Australia or South Africa.
    We should be using this test match series against a weakened NZ side to build a core of players who are up to the task of giving the better cricketing nations a run for their money.
    What is the point of sticking with players who cannot shine against a team like NZ?
    Why not use the same system as the top football managers do, rotation.
    If a player is a little off form send him back to the counties to regain that form and give another player a chance to shine.
    If I were the man in charge of England team selection, I would want more than 12 or 13 players who can perform to choose from.
    I realise there is a list of young players who should be given a chance to play, but why are they not given that chance against one of the weakest attacks in the world?
    Why do we constantly stick with the same old tired bunch and then act surprised when they don't perform well?
    What are we risking by giving a young lion a chance?
    We can't lose anything by giving somebody else a chance. As for the issue of age, I firmly believe that if you are good enough age should not matter. Let's be honest, what team anywhere would turn down the chance to have the likes of Brian Lara, Viv Richards, Richard Hadlee, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne (all retired from international cricket) playing for them??
    Let's take a few chances on younger guys who have it all to play for. I am sure some of our 'regular' players might be a little upset to be 'rested' for the last test but wouldn't it make them need to perform to get back in the team?
    I think some of our players are really letting the complacency show.

  • Comment number 43.

    I can't see why Jimmy Anderson is being given such a hard time. Largest haul in the first and respectable figures in the second. Alright, he was a bit wayward at times but that can be improved. In motor racing they say 'give me a quick car and we'll make it reliable' not the other way around. Anderson has the skill, he just needs bowling time - ask Harmy!

  • Comment number 44.

    Anderson has given away 4 runs an over this series (so far), and taken 10 wickets. Broad has given away 3.35 an over and taken 3 wickets. Which is bowler has done the better job? The more overs he bowls, the more consistent he will become.
    When we have economical bowlers such as Sidebottom, Monty, and eventually Flintoff, we can afford to have a bowler who may be inconsistent, but can conjure up that spark which can start a collaspe. I don't think Broad can do this, I certainly don't think Tremlett or Onions can do this, perhaps Hoggard can, but he is 32 and maybe we need to look to the future.
    I am not Anderson's biggest fan, but he is young, and is a step forward, and he can get better. His contribution to the win was far greater than Broad, Bell or Collingwood, yet he seems to be getting the most stick.

  • Comment number 45.

    Not sure about many of these ratings.

    On the batting front, Collingwood looked completely out of touch, I'd be tempted to drop him for a bit and let Ramps fill in, but ultimately think you should have faith in your top players and would keep him, he ranked a 4.

    Bell, he played a couple of decent shots but still looks like he might get out at any time, he needs a run of decent scores not just one. Another 4.

    Ambrose, people have been critical as soon as he hasn't got any runs. When are we going to learn that we need to give a wicket keeper a decent run in the side rather than chopping and changing as soon as they don't get a 100 and not drop a thing? 5.

    Bowling:

    Anderson, I just don't rate him. Yes he takes wickets, but at what cost? Vaughan will never be able to exert pressure with Jimmy bowling because the opposition batsmen will always know a 4 ball is just round the corner. In a 4 man attack you can't have the luxury of this type of bowler. Why he cant bowl a consistent line and length is a mystery I suspect even he can't explain. 5.

    Broad: No wickets but he was tidy and economical, he has real talent and should be kept in. 5.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'd give:

    Anderson 7 - some very hostile bowling + 5 wks in the match at an average of 27.5, plus at at least a couple of plumb LBWs that weren't given.

    Broad 4 maybe just scraping 5 - and only because of the 30 odd runs - bowling-wise he was ineffective - 0 for 80 and nowhere near as hostile as Anderson, despite his extra height and on a fast track.

    What is it with the goldenboy that makes everyone see what they want to see rather than the reality - yes he has potential, but he's way off the mark at this stage.

  • Comment number 47.

    really think andersons had his chance, but who to replace him?
    with both hoggard and sitebottom in the team, there isn't eough variety.

    ----------

    Tremlett is the obvious choice, at least until Flintoff is fully fit.

  • Comment number 48.

    Don't entirely agree with the assessment of the players in this blog.

    Our middle order batting is looking frail, and Collingwood's lack of form and need for an operation make me think that replacing him with Mark Ramprakash would be a good idea, at least for the SA series.

    Our bowling is also somewhat toothless, and I would replace the erratic Anderson and, for the moment, Broad, if Flintoff and Simon Jones are both available.

    My team:
    COOK
    STRAUSS
    VAUGHAN
    RAMPRAKASH
    PIETERSEN
    BELL
    AMBROSE
    FLINTOFF
    JONES
    SIDEBOTTOM
    PANESAR

  • Comment number 49.

    I am getting really tired of all this criticism of Jimmy Anderson. I admit that there are times when he is expensive, but it is ridiculous to say that he 'loses his composure'. If anything, it may be that he is genuinely too nice a guy to lose his temper in the way that (for example, Sidebottom did in the last test).

    But Jimmy is very unlucky. If there's a dodgy umpiring decision, chances are it will be against Anderson, and he frequently takes the edge only for chances to be dropped or the ball fly between two fielders. Give the lad a break.

    He has great ability, but he also needs to be given the captain's trust. It seems to me that Vaughan doesn't really like Anderson, as all the commentators agreed that it was a mystery why Jimmy didn't open he bowling on the second morning after bowling such a hostile spell the previous evening.

    Also, Vaughan's tactical nous seems seriously lacking: he seems not to know what to do when things are not going well, and his field placements leave me baffled at times. However, it's easier to point the finger at Anderson for being 'wayward'.

    By the way, Gooch's marking was ludicrous. I wonder if he was watching the same test match as I was.

  • Comment number 50.

    Amazing how many people are living in dreamworlds here:

    1) Anderson is just too inconsistant. For all those saying Broad did worse- Anderson was smahsed around on the second day, and boosted his figures against the tail-enders. Why did Broad get no wickets, despite being economical? Because you need bowlers to work as a team, and if they know Jimmy 'Fill yer boots' Anderson is coming back on, they don't need to take the risks that give the tight bowlers wickets. If it were 5 bowlers, maybe we could afford him, but he isnt consistent enough for a 4 man bowling attack.

    2) Why did Vaughan stick with short pitched stuff on 2nd day when it obviously wasn't working?

    3) Ramprakash didnt have what it takes before- why now? (Graeme Hick, anyone?)

    4) Flintoff and Jones are not full fit-and Jones is nowhere near the level he was at- we need to pick people on the here and now, not what they can do at their best, if they aren't fully fit. Flintoff only comes back when he can hold a place as the 4th bowler in an attack, his batting isn't good enough to get him in. He needs to be in on bowling merit.

    5) Hoggard and Sidebottom are nowhere near the same bowlers- different actions, posing the batsmen different problems.

    Cook (needs to start converting his starts)
    Strauss
    Vaughan (C)- on his last chance
    KP
    Bell
    Shah (plays spin well, and let Colly find form and fitness before Saffers tests)
    Ambrose (wk)
    Broad
    Sidey
    Panesar
    Hoggard

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi CityBoy, I'm a fan of Jimmy Anderson too, but if you were Michael Vaughan and had the chance to bowl with Flintoff, Simon Jones, Sidey and Monty, would you really include Jimmy? I wouldn't. I agree he's got a lot of talent, but until he develops some consistency he will always be a peripheral figure.

  • Comment number 52.

    Gooch's marks are indicative of why England continue to be a mediocre team.

    Far too much praise has been lavished and the marks are WAY TOO HIGH. For England this was the great escape. Having played dismally for the first two days they were very lucky to get out of jail. Let's be honest, it wasn't so much that England played well, it was that the Black Caps threw it away.

    We are unlikely to make progress if we keep on congratulating the team for shoddy performances. We have been told time and again that England should thrash the Kiwis. But there has been little evidence of this on most of the days played.

    Yes, Monty and Strauss played well, but the marks for the team should be more like:

    Strauss: 7
    Cook: 5
    Vaughan: 6
    Pietersen: 6
    Bell: 5
    Collingwood: 4
    Ambrose: 4
    Broad: 6
    Sidebottom: 6
    Panesar: 7
    Anderson: 4



  • Comment number 53.

    Arnie 99, I would agree about the bowling options if Jones and Flintoff aren't fit, but all the signs are that they probably will be, and Jones has been bowling well for his county, by all accounts.

    I agree, too, that Ramps underperformed as a Test player, but I think he's matured a lot since, and his county scores reflect that. I don't see him as a long-term solution (obviously - he's 38), but the England middle order needs shore-ing up, and this is the perfect time to give Collingwood a chance to get his shoulder operation out of the way, while his form is suffering.

    Overall I'd prefer Flintoff and Jones to Broad and Anderson, and Ramprakash to your choice of Shah.

  • Comment number 54.

    Graham, contrary to what alot of people seem to be saying in this blog, Hoggard and Sidebottom are EXACTLY the two bowlers I'd want in my side for the tests against South Africa. If the selectors and coach have anything about them, they will have stored away in their memories the closing stages of South Africa's last visit here, when they capitulated, not against express pace, or spin, but against the sustained accuracy and movement that James Kirtley and Martin Bicknell were able to pin them down with. They didn't seem to be able to come to terms with this type of bowling, and I've seen little in the intervening years to suggest that they'd be any better at it now (Stuart Clark is another who's exploited this). Hoggard and Sidebottom are perfect for this role. Also, to me it doesn't matter whether you have FOUR bowlers of the same type, as long as they are all effective!

 

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