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Foster key for new-look Twenty20 squad

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Oliver Brett | 13:10 UK time, Friday, 1 May 2009

If Wednesday's Test squad announcement had a fresh feel to it, then the revelation of the 15 players called upon to represent England in the ICC World Twenty20 in June took the concept to a whole new level.

It was as though a dusty Victorian pub had been gutted and turned into a holistic therapy centre, with juice bars and vases of irises replacing the cigarette machines and dripping beer pumps.

The one exception to the rule was the return of Paul Collingwood to the captaincy, a role he had been only too happy to kiss goodbye to - and quietly too - on the same day Michael Vaughan had given up the Test captaincy late last summer.

Captain Colly was the conservative glue that held together a jigsaw of talented players, including two who have never played for a senior England side in Graham Napier and Eoin Morgan.

But in many ways the most impressive blast of fresh air came with the selection of James Foster at wicketkeeper.

James Foster in action for Essex

Fozzie completes a triumvirate of Essex players - with Napier and Ravi Bopara - who coach Andy Flower (himself a regular in the Chelmsford line-up until being made England's assistant batting coach) will look forward to working with.

Foster is, as Essex members well know, comfortably the most proficient gloveman on the circuit - capable of standing up to every bowler except the very fastest, while rarely making any errors at all.

When he last played for England at the age of 22, he was many miles from being the player he is now. His batting is certainly not to be sniffed at either, lending itself to the sort of inventive shot-making that has often gone missing in the national side.

Matt Prior will never be as good as Foster with the gloves, and national selector Geoff Miller is keen the Essex man puts "a new kind of pressure" on opposition batsmen by the sheer virtue of being "impeccable" behind the stumps.

Irish-born Morgan is a left-hander, something of a rare breed among top England batsmen at the moment and a factor that surely influenced the Middlesex man's introduction.

"There are only a few left-handers in the side and he's inventive, creative and has shown he's got something to offer in Twenty20," said Miller of Morgan.

"We've got variations, and we've got an opportunity to fluctuate the batting order with players who can play in any position."

One of the new-breed is clearly Napier, finally picked for Mumbai Indians on the same day he heard he was part of the national squad.

Napier had a tidy enough IPL debut, and here's what Bopara had to say about him: "He's had an excellent couple of years for Essex, can hit the ball hard, a long way and he bowls too - he'll be exciting."

If they had wanted to go the whole hog, England might have brought in Chris Woakes too, the 20-year-old Warwickshire sensation.

But he will have his time. Others from the original 30 who were discarded might not. Steve Harmison, for instance, finds himself banished from all three England squads - a clear sign that patience is fast running out altogether for this most enigmatic of performers.

Ian Bell is also superfluous to requirements in the shortest format, though he does at least keep his place in the 50-over team - where there is still a place for conventional batsmanship.

Suspicions that Worcestershire is an "unfashionable" county would have grown as their trio - Gareth Batty, Steve Davies and Kabir Ali - failed to cut the mustard.

And Joe Denly paid for his poor form outside the domestic Twenty20 arena, the spare place at the top of the order going to his county captain at Kent, Rob Key.

Liam Plunkett and Sajid Mahmood, both picked as raw youngsters under the Duncan Fletcher regime, and a variety of spinners - Samit Patel, Adil Rashid and Shaun Udal - also missed out. So too did Tim Bresnan, despite being a probable starter in the first Test against West Indies at Lord's on Wednesday.

England's flirtation with the IPL has not quite worked in terms of preparing players for the World Twenty20, however.

Collingwood has returned from his spell with the Delhi Daredevils without playing a single match, while Owais Shah has also been ignored by the same franchise.

Bopara, by stark contrast a regular at Kings XI Punjab, said: "It is a bit frustrating for those guys, I can only say how much I've learnt out there. They would have missed out on some learning experience by not playing."

He added a positive spin: "They are sitting alongside [fellow Delhi players] Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and AB de Viliers - all these guys who have played a lot more Twenty20 cricket than any of us. I'm sure that just speaking to them would have made a lot of difference."

While Bopara was giving a handful of interviews at Lord's, the unmistakeable whir of helicopter blades could be heard in the background. Momentarily, we all feared that Sir Allen Stanford was back in town.

A chopper did indeed land on the Nursery Ground, but it was the Air Ambulance attending a local road traffic accident.

Sir Allen and his dollars constitute an unwelcome chapter in a difficult past 12 months or so for the England and Wales Cricket Board. We are all hoping for something considerably more palatable this summer.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Finally the "finest gloveman in the world" (The words of Danish Kaneria) has been selected after a six year wait. The article quite rightly points out that Foster will put additional pressure on the opposition batsman. Foster has been in fine form for Essex so far this season taking a number of catches and almost making a century in the last couple of days. Fozzie will not be afraid to fight his corner as we saw many years ago when he almost came to blows with Andy Flower when touring Zimbabwe in 2001.

    Well done to the selecotrs...you finally managed to get something right.

  • Comment number 2.

    The real test of these admittedly refreshing selections is whether they will stick with the newer players if results are bad.

    England's selections in limited over formats have been a revolving door for some time. Still, benefit of the doubt for the time being.

  • Comment number 3.

    best gloveman in the country???? how poor some people's memories are! chris read is quite possibly still one of the best keepers in the world. he is simply outstanding. plus he averages more than foster with the bat. foster is overrated, why on earth has prior not been picked for the 20/20, when he is clearly the hardest hitting wkt/batter around?

  • Comment number 4.

    The "best gloveman in the country" is Chris Read, and he has been for years. He has been treated abominably by the powers that be. Foster is overrated and will fail before being dropped during the winter, when the merry-go-round will start again

  • Comment number 5.

    I find the new selection somewhat comical, yet unsurprising. New coach with Essex ties - all of a sudden Essex players are on the England scene. I totally concur with your view Ollie that Worcestershire is an unfashionable county. Fortunate for Worcester supporters as their squad is small, but why did they bother taking Davies to West Indies if they weren't going to persevere with him? HE's been in outstanding form so far this season.

    And don't get me started on Rob Key.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nottsfan has obviously forgiven Chris Read for the 3 catches he dropped in the crucial final championship match last season against Hampshire which cost Notts the title. Talk about rose-tinted glasses!

  • Comment number 7.

    What on earth are we doing stealing Morgan from the Ireland team? Yeah he can play, but that doesn't make it right.

    We already nicked Ed Joyce for the windies World Cup then never played him. It's a disgrace.

    Ireland were probably better than England in that last world cup, certainly in the field and that was without their potentially best player who we cup-tied, presumably for the sole intention to make him unavailable to Ireland. It's plain wrong at the next big tournament to underhandedly snag their other best batsman.

  • Comment number 8.

    i am glad eoin morgan is in...but i wud of liked to of seen dawid malan in too...steady middle order batsmen who can hit sixess!

  • Comment number 9.

    How come Eoin Morgan is selected to play for England in ODIs within week s of playing for Ireland in one, whereas Ed Joyce, because of having represented England In ODIs is inelligible to represent Ireland for four years after his England debut?

  • Comment number 10.

    Chris Read has had several chances over the last few years. Fossie lost his England place through injury back in the early 90's nad how he has worked to get his place back.
    Essex are currently one of the best one day oufits in the country hence a refreshing pick from strength

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry early 2000's !

  • Comment number 12.

    'Foster is, as Essex members well know, comfortably the most proficient gloveman on the circuit - capable of standing up to every bowler except the very fastest, while rarely making any errors at all.'

    Absolute rubbish.

    It's very close between Read and Foster, i'd throw Pothas up there as well because technically he is available for selection.

    'comfortably the most proficient gloveman on the circuit'

    A very poor comment from you Mr Brett. I suggest you get round to a few more county grounds this season.

  • Comment number 13.

    Cannot agree that Foster is the best gloveman in the country - that person is Chris Read - currently captaining Notts in the first division. Foster is playing in the second division and conveniently for a county that the new England coach used to play for - Essex.

    Just hope we are not reverting to "coach's favourites" a la Fletcher and Jones!
















  • Comment number 14.

    It's about time someone who can keep is in the team rather than someone who can bat a bit. Read and Foster have been appallingly treated. As for Ambrose, he isn't even the best keeper/batsman in Warwickshire (Tony Frost). Good keeper though Foster is I believe that he is better suited to tests and that Phil Mustard should be in the Twenty20 team. He also stands up to the fastest bowlers around (up to 90mph) and his 2020 batting is quite devastating. With regards to the test No. 3, I wonder if anyone has though of sticking Prior there as a specialist batsman?

  • Comment number 15.

    Oliver

    So very many superlatives used for "Fozzie", that I'm not sure whether you are serious or not; or whether he is just a good mate of yours.

    I think Prior gave his opinion today in the form of another century.

  • Comment number 16.

    Worcestershire are unfashionable, they cant play good cricket.
    I do hope Foster was chosen on his performances and not on the fact that Flower was a batting coach at Essex.
    We need to stick with 1 wicketkeeper - Ambrose, Read, Prior all failed. Also what happened with Geriant Jones? Is it like drop them and dont choose them again a la Trescothick, Hoggard and Jones?

  • Comment number 17.

    no4,
    You really have made a fool of yourself, in the last couple of seasons anyone who has seen Foster and is not looking through Notts tinted glasses would realize he has left Read well behind. Foster is as good a gloveman as anyone in the world. Who can forget the rabbit in the headlights humiliation for Read when he tried to bat for England.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think its a close call between Foster and Read but Read gave up his chance of an england up recall the day he decided to play in the ICL. Being an Essex fan though I'm glad that Foster has got his chance to show how good he is.

  • Comment number 19.

    To be honest we are lacking a truly glass pair of hands behind the stumps but i guess foster has as good a chance as anyone

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm pleased to see a creative squad has been selected. In fact, I haven't seen such an interesting squad for ages. Foster deserves his shot, and we'll all look forwards to seeing how well he does.

    @just_henners: that's a great typo!

    @oliver: Ian Bell is either "surplus to requirements" or "superfluous" - you choose. He can't be "superfluous to requirements", sorry.

  • Comment number 21.

    wilo - you're absolutely right, the sort of shocking syntactical error I usually try hard to avoid. I think my sub-editors were a bit busy last night (though that's no excuse) Like you, I love the idea of glass wicketkeeping gloves

    Jord - you say Read gave up his chance of an england up recall the day he decided to play in the ICL. Well he has no current contractual deal with the ICL and the ECB's published threat only concerned anyone signing for a second season (which he didn't). Even Paul Nixon, who DID play a second season, still keeps his county registration on the basis that his initial contract tied him to the second year.

    I really hope Read's exclusion has nothing to do with the ICL.

    Thanks for all the comments and keep them coming. I am not re-visiting Foster v Read v Prior. You lot do a very good job yourselves! Interesting comments from 14 in particular.

    As for the Morgan comments (7), we desperately need a left-hander and I am sure the Irish were prepared for this possibility. Oh, and Ed Joyce certainly did play for England in the World Cup!

  • Comment number 22.

    Maybe, the 'keeper debate will finally be put to bed. James Foster's selection is spot on and for mine the selectors should appoint Chris Read as his back up. The fad of playing a batsman who can keep a bit - as opposed to a specialist keeper who might contribute some runs - has been shown to be totally flawed. Let's face it: the selectors could not rely on our top six to score enough runs so wanted some one to sure up the bottom half. What use is a 'keeper who might score a breezy 50 but drops the opposition's key player when he is on 0 and then goes on to score 150?

  • Comment number 23.

    i am really pleased to see Foster back in the side - it is no coincidence that Essex are one day champs in both the league and FP Trophy and he was playing well. even in the 20/20 finals day last year people were drooling over his keeping. this season he has taken 21 catches and dropped one if that, there have been hardly any byes past him, think i make it about 8 in all forms of the game this season (not including LB) he is by the far the best keeper in the county circuit and it is right to have him back

  • Comment number 24.

    Read and Prior have both had their chances over last few years and have never really shown the consistency required.
    Foster had a run in the side a few years ago, losing his place to injury rather than lack of form, and definitely deserves a second chance.
    I think his ability to stand up to the stumps to most bowlers, which he regularly does for Essex, will put real pressure on batsmen, assuming the bowlers can bowl a decent line.
    His batting isn't bad either, and lets face it if you are relying on wicket keepers to make lots of runs in a 20-20 match, you've probably already lost the match, as your main batsmen have all failed.
    Overall the new squad looks exciting with some good inclusions. Lets hope it improves England's form (that shouldn't be hard!)

  • Comment number 25.

    WebbyFoxes (post 16) : Trescothick was not dropped, it was his own choice, have you not heard/read a single interview he's given in the last 12-18 months!?

    Re the blog, why the mention of Stanford? Typically BBC viewpoint of looking back at negatives amongst what should be looking forward positively at the squad announcement.

    I, too, am unsure about how the Ireland/England selection works. It's the same when a player plays County cricket, like Porterfield at Gloucestershire who is now 'cup tied' in the Friends Provident yet may not play in it again this season for Gloucs as he's not first choice.

  • Comment number 26.

    Putting to one side the fixation of this blog with keepers... Can anyone tell me how Key can be selected when Patel has been left out for being overweight and unfit - and please do not tell me Key has improved his fitness (he has - from Cowdrey standard to Gatting level). This "one rule for some, another rule for others" should make the selectors ashamed of themselves. ps; I would not select either Key or Patel based on ability - but thats not the point.

  • Comment number 27.

    Again for me confusion reigns within the England selection for all formats of the game. I agree with most comments on this blog that there isn't much to choose between Read and Foster in the keeping department and both a considerably better than Prior, however the England management have selected Prior to keep wicket in Test matches where his keeping will be tested over 2/3 days rather than 20 or 50 overs in the T20 or ODI's??!! Surely Prior or Steve Davies would be more suited to the shorter form of the game and Foster or Read for the Test match arena??!!

    With regards to alb1on post on Patel and Key's fitness, i don't believe Patel has been left out fitness grounds alone. I think it is more to do with the fact he has been warned on more than one occassion and not adheard to these warnings.

    I'd also like to throw another name in the hat for the "problem" England #3 spot in the test team.......What about Paul Horton from Lancashire?? Please discuss......

  • Comment number 28.

    It's very simple. Graveney explained yesterday that all players have a fitness points score they have to reach. Obviously specialist fast bowlers have a higher target than specialist batsmen who field at slip. Key has passed his, Patel has failed his. End of story.

  • Comment number 29.

    england should have picked trendt jonston from ireland, along with morgan so that england can afford to have a good and thinking captain, which the teme is badly missing. nice to see foster in the teme. I don't watch the county matches, but from the stats it is clear that he is far better a player than he was in the english tour of india in the year 2001-2.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is very much....'l used to play for this county....so l will pick from this county', how very typical of the selection policy in this country!
    To you webbyfoxes at number 16, are you a Notts fan, if so, then as a test ground you have money thrown at you by the ECB which allows you to buy all your players in and try and buy the title!
    If you are a Leic fan then comparing Leic to Worc is like comparing Boston Utd to Man Utd, leic are below second rate, and that is being kind to those below second rate.
    Worcester have a policy of not having any more kolpaks unlike many other teams in this country and Steve Rhodes feels it his duty to turn his players into players ready for England......not scour South Africa, Ireland or other far reaching countries exploiting lame EU laws!
    Now l am no G Batty fan, l would not even have in the Worc team, l would have Monty and Adil rashid any day of the week playing for England,....once once the selectors get out of the southern counties (ie London and Essex) then maybe this team England (very loose use of the word TEAM)will start to progress and the right players will get picked....
    There are more telented players from non test grounds than those who do play for the Money pot teams!

  • Comment number 31.

    A couple of quick questions Mr Brett:

    1) Is it your honest opinion that Foster is a 'comfortably more proficient gloveman' than Chris Read? And would you care to justify this intriguing position (intriguing because it would seem to most to be entirely false).

    2) You are aware that like Rob Key, Samit Patel is a specialist batsman(and a better one at that), not a specialist fast bowler as your reply at 28. would suggest you believe. Surely they should therefore in fact have very similar fitness targets?

  • Comment number 32.

    Prior: 140 (In Division 1)
    Ambrose: 117 (Against West Indies)
    Kieswetter: 100+ (In Division 1)
    Read: 200 runs already (In Division 1)
    Foster: 140 runs (In DIVISION 2)

    Laughable! Chris Read is the best wicketkeeper!

    Foster won't be standing up to Flintoff. Foster won't be standing up to Broad. Foster won't be standing up to Anderson. So for 12 overs out of 20 he'll be doing what every other keeper in the country can do, stand back! The only advantage is his keeping to Mascarenhas! WOW! AWESOME!

    Ridiculous selection! Where's Steven Davies? Top scores in the T20 in the Windies, keeps brilliantly in the same game. Yet now he's not even in any of the Test, ODI or T20 squads and is not even playing for the Lions! Laughable! Geoff Miller is a clown and needs to be sacked!

    FOSTER FAILURE!

  • Comment number 33.

    why on earth has prior not been picked for the 20/20

    -------

    Simply put, you can get by with fewer good batmen in 20/20. Coming in at #7 you either only have an over or two left if things are going ok and if you have many more than that then your team is in tourble anyway.

    A wicket keeper who can get you one more wicket an innings is a massive benefit in 20/20, more so than any oher form of the game.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have no problem with Foster keeping rather than Prior. If England were to open with a keeper then fine go for Prior or Mustard, however, coming in further down the order I'd rather have someone who hits the ball in "different" areas and Foster fits the bill. There will be plenty of hitters in the side with KP, Freddie, Dimi and possibly Wright.

    It maybe seems a fair comment to bring up the Essex links but Flower would hardly be likely to suggest a player that he had reservations about. He obviously knows what Foster is capable of and is perhaps more sure of this than of Read.

  • Comment number 35.

    Mr Brett
    I take your point in #28 about each player having a fitness target but, like #31 cannot understand why it should be materially different for these 2. Taking your point about fielding at slip I would expect greater fitness of a slip fielder than an outfielder due to the flexibility needed to move up, down and sideways rapidly; fitness is not just stamina. The worrying thing is that I would back myself against either of them on a rowing machine and I am in my 50s.

  • Comment number 36.

    Real man for a crisis is our "Fozzie"....

    Essex need to bat out 2 sessions to save the game, "Fozzie" arrives at 34/4....

    Can the Englishman save the day?

    NO! Out for 13, Essex slip to 79/7! LOL!

  • Comment number 37.

    1. It doesn't matter whether Patel and Key had similar fitness targets or not, the point is still that one passed his and the other didn't.

    2. I've been reading posts for months now about how dare England call themselves a cricket team when they don't pick Foster it's a disgrace and the selectors should be fired, drawn and quartered immediately. It appears, however, that everyone who said that is a cricketing half-wit and now that Foster's made the squad the actual disgrace is that they haven't picked Read and the selectors should be fired, drawn...

    For the record, is there actually a wicketkeeper anywhere whose selection won't result in prolonged whingeing on somebody's part?

  • Comment number 38.

    Foster is a good pick... but for Tests, not for Twenty20. His batting has improved but he can be too slow a starter against good bowling for such a short game; his best chance if is England pick a team of allrounders and he bats low down.

    Re: Patel... the selectors are telling the truth I'm sure, but that doesn't mean the truth isn't stupid. Any squad should be selected on one basis only - pick the players who are most likely to do well. Obviously Patel's fitness could hinder him, but it's not a vital component even in Twenty20 - best example, Jesse Ryder. An unfit player should only be dropped if the selectors think his replacement, all things considered, will perform better. NOT because he had failed an arbitrary test which can only bear a small relation to actually playing cricket.

  • Comment number 39.

    Foster is the man behind the stumps, davies is too inexperienced, prior will now be fresh for the ODI's and the Ashes.
    Thought Bresnan would have been a decent punt, a decent bowler who can hit down the order...

    I agree with you on this one Mr Brett, a good, fair analysis of the current squad.

  • Comment number 40.

    There is a greater than average chance that Foster will fail for England. And the reason has little to do with his ability. The ridiculous, obsessive, jingoistic vitriol that is thrown around in the press, and particularly online from people who apparently believe they know all there is to know on the subject, will ultimately account for each and every keeper England selects.

    I don't believe there's a huge amount of difference in ability between the top 5 or 6 keepers on the county circuit, and on any given day it's probably reasonable to make a case for most of them based on current form, etc. Ultimately, this "debate" does bizarrely affect the performances of the individuals concerned. You might argue it goes with the territory (and I'm not saying it doesn't), but we seem to be uniquely talented (as a group of supporters) in undermining the performances of those in the national side. For me, one of the best things about the Vaughan captaincy (supported by the Fletcher management) was that players were encouraged to express themselves. I'd be surprised if any wicketkeeping candidate felt that way right now.

  • Comment number 41.

    36. At 5:26pm on 02 May 2009, WiStAhM wrote:
    Real man for a crisis is our "Fozzie"....

    Essex need to bat out 2 sessions to save the game, "Fozzie" arrives at 34/4....

    Can the Englishman save the day?

    NO! Out for 13, Essex slip to 79/7! LOL!



    There should be a special children's board for you. Fair enough if you think your keeper is better than Foster, even if it is nonsense but you spout absolute rubbish that when the Essex team had failed you would expect Foster to come in and save the day.

    Using the first and second division argument is also stupid Essex won the fifty over cup and were semi- finalists in the 20/20 even though they were in the second division.

    Unlike every pundit I have read in the newspaper or listened to on Sky you consider Read superior to Foster that's your choice but to insult Foster, or claim that because he doesn't come in and save his county he's useless, shows you up to be a very bitter, silly and childish person.

  • Comment number 42.

    Your article seems to suggest there is no place for a conventional batsman in Twenty20. But I'm not wrong surely in reading recently that it is Dravid who has scored the most runs in Twenty20? While the likes of Napier or any other six hitter can play a key role, they are also likely to miss as well as hit. The role of the conventional batsman is to come in and stay in if needed. Over a whole Series it is realised they have a crucial contribution to make to the side. If you have your side full of the same kind of batsmen, young Turks swishing and swiping, then over six weeks you are likely to fail. Also isn't good fielding very important in Twenty20? So someone like Colly is not only glue but also prevents runs and catches well. What is the fielding like of the rest of the side?

  • Comment number 43.

    I think your all wrong!!! The best 20/20 batsman/Wicketkeeper is currently Mark Wallace of Glamorgan!! Good with the gloves and one of the most inventive shot makers on the county circuit!!! He has been batting excellently so far this season. Dont use the excuse that Glamorgan are a second division team because in 20/20 it doesnt work like that!! He wont get a look in though because he is at the most unfashionable county of all....Glamorgan!!!

    I do think that James Foster is worth a go though but probably in test cricket.....Matt Prior would have been a better choice in 20/20 with him opening the batting...forget Chris Read even though I like him...because He always bottled it in international cricket, which is a shame because he had the talent.

  • Comment number 44.

    #37 (EddieOnTheWing); you could not be more wrong about the fitness issue. If one player passes his test only because the selectors have chosen to give him a target to enable this it is corrosive of the entire system. I do not know whether this is the case but given the general approach of favorites and others taken by this panel concern is inevitable.

  • Comment number 45.

    i'm glad that Foster is finally recalled, its been a long time coming. I just hope that he doesn't do a shah and fail to perform when given his chance.

  • Comment number 46.

    who cares what players are in the 20-20 sqad. the 20-20 format is not real cricket anyway. it should be called 'slogfest' or ' crickslog'.

    the most interesting question to arise from recent England team selections is the relationship between a coach from essex and a captain from middlesex. bopara and shar certainly benifited from this.

  • Comment number 47.

    Foster has indeed improved massively, speaking as somebody who has always protested until now that he wasn't a good enough keeper to play for England, and kept very well the last time I saw him (including a sensational leg-side catch). He is also a very competent batsman. However, the claim that he is better than Chris Read as a keeper is simply wrong - Read is probably the best keeper in the world at present, far ahead of Foster, Haddin and Boucher. Who can forget how after Stewart's retirement he didn't let a bye through in seven Tests before being dropped in favour of Jones's batting? I doubt if Foster would manage that sort of performance, even after his improvement.

    I would have said Foster and Read's batting is about even. My guess is that Read is not being considered because there is a perception that his batting is not quite of international quality (although the ICL farrago certainly won't have helped).To put it another way, I don't think Read would ever score Test centuries consistently, as Prior does, but nor do I think it likely that Foster will either (he might manage a few against West Indies or New Zealand, but against Steyn or Johnson...). Therefore if a specialist keeper is picked, it is sensible to go for the best gloveman, and that is Read.

    The scenario is all the dafter as we are talking about 20/20, not Tests, and if Read has one great asset it is an ability to hit the ball a long way into unlikely areas without the need to play himself in.

  • Comment number 48.

    what is the point in having arbitrary fitness targets? patel can score enough runs, and he can take some wickets as well -- this is what matters in cricket. obviously his performance would improve if he lost a few pounds, but that is not a reason to automatically disqualfiy him. i feel really bad for the guy, considering that he's missed out on a place for no good reason...

  • Comment number 49.

    The reason Prior has been omitted from the 20/20 squad, and will soon lose his test place, is because he simply isn`t good enough to keep wicket at international level, never has been and never will be. Scoring 30 or 40 runs per innings doesn`t make up for dropped catches and countless byes given away. On a personnal note I would have liked to have seen Adil Rashid included

  • Comment number 50.

    Whether Ireland are prepared or not is irrelevant, its disgusting that England can just steal Ireland's best players. How is this hugely prosperous nation meant to progress if everytime it gets to a major tournament its best player/s is taken out. Ireland were criticised for having Australian and South Africans in their WC team, but they wouldn't have to do this if the likes of Joyce weren't taken by England.

    Obviously this is England just exploiting a stupid ICC rule, but it has to stop, whether it be a rule change or England having some heart for a smaller nation. Ireland are the best Associate nation and are arguabley equal to, if not better, than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe so how are they meant to make further progress if their stars are plucked out of the team and then played a few times for England then never again??? Joyce has faded into obscurity when he should be back in the Ireland team, but can't and the same will probably happen to Eoin.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's shameful that there is no Steve Davies in the squad..poor selection policy by a very poor selection commitee

  • Comment number 52.

    Foster got 27 runs of just 7 balls today - if he can score anything like this for England and keep wicket as well as he does for Essex then he will undoubtedly have justified his selection.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think i would just like to see England with a proper quality keeper, whether it be Foster or Read. I think it might show if we do need the Keeper/Batsman, or if infact its a massive boost to have someone who will be quality behind the stumps. I would foster now he is in a good amount of time and see what happens. I am a big fan of him and i think he will shine with gloves. lets hope he can bat a little too and help us improve.

  • Comment number 54.

    alb1on, I didn't say it was ok for one player to have fitness targets and another not to. The problem with Patel is not whether he hit his target, but that apparently he's been repeatedly warned about his fitness levels by both county and international coaches and done little or nothing about it. That's not an issue about fitness, it's about attitude - if you're told that to be selected, you need to do X (whether X be around fitness, technique or form) and you're not professional enough to put the work in to achieve it, you don't and shouldn't get selected

  • Comment number 55.

    I agree with twinksies. Why not give Mark Wallace a call up? He has proven that he can score runs consistently at County level and his glovework is top notch. So he plays for Glamorgan in Division 2. As twinksies said...20/20 doesn't work like that.

  • Comment number 56.

    Well why would you want best gloveman of your country to be playing T20 and best WK-batsman of your country playing Tests? Shouldnt the roles be swapped i.e. Foster in Tests and Prior in T20 WC.

  • Comment number 57.

    I should think that the only two possibilities for keeper at twenty20 would be Chris Read or Mark Wallace. These two keepers who are reguarly immaculate keepers, particuarly Read should be the first answer. These two keepers constantly hit into the stands, and certainlyn in the case of Read would make up for the runs he missed in his keeping. Foster would not.

  • Comment number 58.

    Well played Steve Davies...perhaps thats awoken Geoff Miller and co from their coma !!

  • Comment number 59.

    The question I ask is how long will Flowers last.

    If we fail badly against the West Indies will this be covered by the comments not being prepared because of the IPL tournament.

    Is the excuse already prepared.

    The only interesting event is the selection is the addition of Onions.

    He and Jimmmy Anderson are the top two swing bowlers in the country.

    But what happens if it does not swing ??

    We need a quick and Flowers personal conflict with Harmison does not look good for the Ashes series. Even when Flintoff returns who expects him to be injury free.

    Harmison has his best season last year and within a month of returning to the England set up we had bad reports encouraged by of course the media.

    The team is poorly lead and I am a Middlesex man.

  • Comment number 60.

    Oliver Brett - I think that you in love with "Fozzie" - your article is embarrassing for its lack of objectivity.

 

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