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Strauss pays price for a poor year

Jonathan Agnew | 12:58 UK time, Friday, 19 October 2007

The dropping of Andrew Strauss for the first time in his 43- match Test career was the main talking point of the latest England squad announcement.

He was recently awarded a central contract for the next 12 months, but he has paid the price for a really disappointing year in which he averaged only 27 and failed to score a century.

Even on the rare occasion that he managed to pass 50 he looked unconvincing and the feeling of the selectors is that he needs a rest, and more time to work on one or two technical issues.

Interestingly, his absence will pave the way for Michael Vaughan to return to opening the innings - the position he prefers, but stood down from when Strauss first appeared on the scene.

Andrew Strauss

Strauss will be considered for the New Zealand tour in the New Year but, as with everyone else in his situation, his return will depend heavily on the performances of the batsmen on duty in Sri Lanka.

Of those, Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara are considered to be good players of spin, something they will see plenty of in the Tests.

There had been a lot of speculation about the second wicket-keeper’s spot, not least because whoever was chosen would have a real chance of playing if Matt Prior fails to cut the mustard, as it were, especially when standing up to the wicket to the spinners.

Phil Mustard impressed in the one-day series with his excellent, relaxed attitude and has earned his chance, although Tim Ambrose, a former team-mate of Prior's at Sussex, was considered very seriously.

Stuart Broad was due a chance in the full Test squad and, having played in 21 one-day games, his opportunity has come.

He has more than enough height to get some bounce out of what will be sluggish, dry pitches and his batting will be important in the absence of Andrew Flintoff.

It is an excellent development that Steve Harmison is travelling to South Africa prior to the tour in order to get some match practice under his belt - compare that to England’s pre-Ashes preparation last year - and he should hit Sri Lanka running after two games in the sunshine under the watchful eye of bowling coach Ottis Gibson.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:10 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Barry wrote:

Fair comment Aggers and the inclusion of Mustard & Broad will increase Test place competition.

But in the event of the Skipper getting injured who would be the alternative opener?

  • 2.
  • At 01:11 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

So why did they give Strauus the central contract... he had the same average a month ago as he does now... shows what rubbish the central contract concept can be.

And Harmison, lucky to even be considered. A random waste of space for much of the last three years and they're trying to push him into a squad where the young attack have done a superb job in recent weeks and all fully deserve their chance to start ahead of Harmy.

No mention of Ramps. OK, maybe only a year or two left as a player, but he has been far and away the outstanding batsman in England for two years, nobody, including our internationals, posting numbers anything like it. You pick a team to win a test series, surely he had done more than enough to have been in it.

  • 3.
  • At 01:17 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Possible England starting XI against Sri Lanka:
Michael Vaughan (c)
Alastair Cook
K Pietersen
P Collingwood
I Bell
M Prior
G Swann
S Broad
R Sidebottom
J Anderson
M Panesar

  • 4.
  • At 01:23 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

You can't really argue too much on the selection decisions, with one possible side issue - who will field at slip? I assume Collingwood will move to first slip (eventhough his best position is gully and he is not a specialist slip). Other than that I can't think of one other player you could put at slip. Shah (if he plays) is an average fielder at best and certainly not a slip fielder. Bopara is a good ground fielder but not a slip. KP - you have to be joking. Vaughan will stay at mid-on and is certainly not a safe pair of hands. I think it could be a real problem for England, especially if this selection continues into the NZ tour. It's a far cry from the days of Tresco at 1st, Strauss at 2nd and Freddie at 3rd.

  • 5.
  • At 01:25 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

England are all gods...we should thunmp[ sri lanka to tim back too and new zealand is a waste od time we have already won that series. That might as well inscript our names on those respective trophies...

England are the greatest test team...move over Botham and co Vaughn et al are vastly better

  • 6.
  • At 01:32 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Justin Yau wrote:

Mark Ramprakash should have been picked. His record in the first class arena in the last two seasons is unbelievable, and no matter the age if you are good enough you should play. He has clearly matured a lot in the past few years and i think not picking him shows that the picking of the test team isn't based on performances in the first class scene. Even though he has underperformed in England colours, his record warrants another try.

  • 7.
  • At 01:34 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Karam Singh wrote:

Strauss should play some first class cricket in India to get some practice/runs under his belt

Then he might be ready for NZ

  • 8.
  • At 01:39 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • John Bloxham wrote:

How exactly did Mustard impress? His keeping was ok (when he remembered to appeal), but his batting was nothing, and a First Class average of just 27 suggests he is never going to be brilliant at the longer form of the game.

  • 9.
  • At 01:41 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Shez Sheridan wrote:

If only they had been as bold with dropping Steve Harmison as well as Andrew Strauss, then we really would have got the right squad.

How does Harmison deserve any more of a chance than Strauss, he has been out of form for an eternity.

  • 10.
  • At 01:48 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Matt Merritt wrote:

For all the talk about Prior's keeping, it rarely seems to get mentioned that he's done all his county keeping at Sussex, where Mushtaq Ahmed gets through a huge number of overs and takes a huge number of wickets, so surely he can't be that bad against spin? Chris Read, until this year, rarely saw more than a few overs from Swann, and Mustard keeps to a predominantly seam attack too.

I've found it quite amazing, that it's taken so long for this decision with regard to Andrew Strauss.
His lack of form and more importantly his lack of technique has been blaringly obvious for all to see.

  • 12.
  • At 01:58 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Luke Collard wrote:

Good blog as per usual Aggers. Again however I cannot disguise my disappointment with the selectors regarding the decision of Matt Prior-I would have loved to have seen Davies or even Read getting a reprieve. I think the 15 does look very balanced and it will be fasinating to see if the selectors go with both Swann and Monty for the first test, presumably to nullify the threat of Murali. Finally there is true depth to the batting and when Harmison comes back (providing there an no injury setbacks) our bowling attack and reserves look potentially menacing. This would be my team for the opening test:

1. Cook
2. Vaughan
3. Bell
4. Pietersen
5. Collingwood
6. Shah/Bopara
7. Prior
8. Swann
9. Sidebottom
10. Monty
11. Hoggard

  • 13.
  • At 01:59 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • criket fan wrote:

Whatever team we pick, we will be seriuosly up against it. Good luck to them they will need it. Fingers crossed for a good show.

  • 14.
  • At 02:08 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Grabyrdy wrote:

Obviously the right call for the batters, and the bowlers. The best keeper, though, is still sat at home ...

  • 15.
  • At 02:15 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Hicks wrote:

I know Strauss has had a hard time this year and Shah has been very good in one day formats. However, I think Owais and Ravi looking like rabbits in headlights again in the test arena will be the main talking point here.
They do deserve it though as both have played well in the ODI, however, Test Cricket is different. I would play Ravi as an all rounder but Shah's spin is no good in tests. A Strauss is the best opener to partner Cook or MPV with one of them maybe dropping down the order

Also, what is this going to do to the confidence of Straussy? They give him a central contract and then drop him. Daft??? Would a business get away with that. If you are gonna leave him out, give a contract to someone who is gonna play game in game out. If you want to force Straussy's hand, put the pressure on Owais by giving him a contract and make Straussy play his way back into the team.

lets not forget that strauss's downturn in form started with some absolute shocking decisons in Austrialia. At this time, he was looking in hafl decent nick and at times looked one of only two who wanted to take on the Aussies.

I dont see his replacements doing any better so you might as well stick with experience and a better average.

Good to see Harmy back. Raw pace in one bowler is required, it can buy wickets although I am not sure Broads somewhat wayward bowling at times will bring him as much luck as it has done recently. How many times can a guy get a wicket with loose deliveries? Plenty I guess.

I would go with the following;

Broad (if his luck continues we need that kind of luck)

  • 16.
  • At 02:19 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • chris phillips wrote:

im personally gutted about ramprakash! would have loved to see him have one more go! i dont think ravi bopara merited selection in the test team yet!


  • 17.
  • At 02:23 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Hicks wrote:

Sorry sorry sorry, how could I leave Ryan out.

He should clearly play ahead of every pace bowler in the team.

lets leave out the lucky one.

  • 18.
  • At 02:26 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • simon peters wrote:

Not taking Ramprkash bad move.Every time I read a county report he seems to be scoring hundreds.

  • 19.
  • At 02:28 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • oliver brett (bbc sport) wrote:

Andy (no 5) makes one of the best comments I have seen in a very long time. Who on earth will go in the slips? Shah is by no means a certain starter, and Bopara doesn't field there. Cook does it a bit (prob. reluctantly). The Tresco & Flintoff combo was excellent at first and second. (Or Tresco & Strauss when Fred was bowling). Now it is all about forcing people into unnatural roles, and we may pay the price. It might be that someone left-field like Anderson or Swann has to be trained up to be a slipper...

  • 20.
  • At 02:31 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

What has Harmy done for England in the last 24 months. He retired from one day cricket at 28 yrs cos he gets homesick. Opposition now know how to physche him out.
Rather concentrate on the youngsters (+ Hoggie) who will give all for England in the intense atmosphere and heat of Sri Lanka.

  • 21.
  • At 02:35 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • richard hill wrote:

Monty for first slip!!

  • 22.
  • At 02:40 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • nickyboje wrote:

I find it so funny hearing the Chris Read fans come out crying after every squad is announced. Get over it! He is, never has and never will be Test class.
Honestly you would think we were leaving a player like Gilchrist out of the side the way people moan about Read not playing.

  • 23.
  • At 03:09 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Nabia wrote:

I think England starting XI should be :
A Cook
M Vaughan (c)
K Pietersen
P Collingwood
I Bell
R Bopara
M Prior
G Swann
M Hoggard
R Sidebttom
J Anderson

  • 24.
  • At 03:15 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Mez wrote:

Am sick and tired of hearing about the rugby world cup. It aint even our national sport. Its boring to watch as well. And I never heard of any of the players, wouldnt even notice one of them in the street.... And talk about over creaming it! 5 press conferences before the match!!! Borrrrrringgggggg

  • 25.
  • At 03:19 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Surely this was the ideal tour to try out young Yorkshire spinner Adil Rashid? His batting has been superb, averaging over 30 in the County Championship, and he has consistently taken wickets this season.

I know Swann did OK in the one-dayers, but he is not going to worry the Sri-Lankans in the way that Rashid would. I think England have missed a trick. As for Rashid being too young, if you're good enough, you're old enough.

  • 26.
  • At 03:38 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

It is an absolute disgrace that Ramprakash has not been picked for the forthcoming test series to Sri Lanka. His class over the last two seasons is unquestionable. His age and previous internternational record is not a counterarguement. It is primarily about the player in front of us now. The selectors quite simply need to pick our best players.

  • 27.
  • At 03:39 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • John wrote:

Somewhat surprised about Strauss. I expected them to stick with him. Not a terrible squad, but a few things I see as prolematic:

1) Previously mentioned lack of slip fielders
2) Bell is likely to be pushed up to 3. He has been far more successful at 6 - I don't know what the obsession is for him to bat at 3
3) 1st change bowler if we play 2 spinners which I expect us to do
4) Prior back. Not good enough behind the stumps in my opinion and think he will be found out in SL. I'd hve prefered Davies, but given the ODI choice, Mustard was always likely - give him a chance.

I imagine Shah will come in at 6, although Bopara has a chance to solve point 3. Assuming we play 2 spinners, I think I'd have rather seen Broad in the development squad and playing rather than carrying drinks. Good decision not to take Rashid - he will play in India hopefully.

  • 28.
  • At 03:52 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Professor Litefoot wrote:

I agree with Andrew Hicks. Strauss has been at the end of some shocking decisions over the past year - and not all umpiring ones. The ECB have treated this loyal and talented player like dirt. Compare that with the way they have pandered to Flintoff - with the predictable result that 1) Strauss loses form as he realises his bosses have zero faith in him 2) We lose the Ashes and 3) We lose Flintoff completely as he basically got to play when he wanted and injured himself in the process. Thanks to the ODIs we have now seen a huge dip in form for both Cook and KP, so now the selectors put their faith in Bell, Shah and Bopara - who hardly have Strauss's international experience nor his fielding talents. If MV gets crocked you're left with the novice Colly to lead the team. OK, we're getting better at ODIs but I fear for our Test future now. And why give Strauss a Central Contract??????? Graveney should've gone after the Ashes debacle. Oh and Matt Prior? Hahaha.

  • 29.
  • At 03:54 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • GH wrote:

This is a small squad, indicating that the team is pretty much decided. I feel this is a good selection for Sri Lankan conditions, where the ability to play spin and the old ball is more important than playing the new ball - hence only two openers in the squad, Bell moving back to 3. Shah has proved himself as an intelligent and inventive player of spin, and should be a good choice at 6. This does not mean that he should keep his place for New Zealand, where I expect Strauss, or even Trescothick, to return and Bell to revert to 6, Vaughan to 3. I believe Bopara is on the tour to gain experience, but I would be surprised if he's anything more than back-up. Indeed, were there to be an injury, Bopara may still miss out to a call-up (possibly Ramps).

The intriguing selections will be the bowlers, and the wicketkeeper. Prior batted well against an awful West Indies' side, but has otherwise shown little to suggest he's any better than Read or Jones before him, so Mustard may get the nod. If not, it will be last chance saloon for Prior.

With the bowling, it is likely both Swann and Panesar will play unless there is an uncharacteristically green track, in which case I fancy Panesar could be the unlucky one. Swann should make a strong contribution at 8 and with 4 left-handers in the top 8 for Sri Lanka, his ability to spin the ball away from the likes of Sangakkara could be useful. This leaves only two bowling spots. Broad, like Bopara, is likely to be just there for experience, and Harmison unlikely to do enough to persuade the selectors, so it's two from Anderson, Sidebottom and Hoggard.

My own hunch is that Hoggard is a certainty, as he has great experience and can bowl long spells. The other spot may be chosen at the toss (is this possible). Sidebottom would normally be first choice but it may be risky picking him as he creates footholds for Murali to bowl into, especially if England bat second. If this is the case, Anderson will play. None of the three deserve to miss out, but with the advent of Swann, it's a good problem to have. Playing all three would be risky as it leaves a very long tail.

  • 30.
  • At 04:01 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Craggers wrote:

There have been some highly amusing comments here, some bordering on the shocking.

Firstly, I can't believe a dual spin attack has even been contemplated - without Flintoff or an able lieutenant as all-rounder (no, Bopara cannot bowl at test level, in the same way that Colly will do no more than occasionally turn his arm over), there's no way that Swann and Panesar, as good as they are, can be picked with just (for argument's sake, though they'd be my preferred two) Anderson and SiBo as seam options. These two and Hoggy surely have to play; Broad is not a test bowler yet in my view, and I would have gone with the Tremlett option (unless Harmy comes through in SA; yes he's been out of form for a while, but if he gets back to full fitness he's the most dangerous bowler we have).

The Shah "rabbit in headlights" comment is obscene; he showed in his first test that he can score runs at this level, and if given a run in the side is quite capable of scoring runs. However, the comment re: slip fielding is quite insightful - I think Cook is going to have to go in, and MV would be the other choice; the fact is, however, that England's current team isn't blessed with too many great catchers, Colly aside (and taking him out of the gully will be costly).

This team is clearly a stop-gap while Flintoff and Tresco recover, and therefore I agree that Ramps deserved his chance - maybe they're waiting for him to turn 39 for him to fully mirror Tom Graveney's comeback?

Finally, regarding the keeper... I don't think any of the options are better than any other. None are world class batsmen, none are truly world-class keepers. The better keepers (Davies, Read) are the weaker batsmen, the better batsmen (Foster, Prior, Ambrose) are the weaker keepers. It's folly to keep on swapping between them; whilst I would have liked Read to have had the same extended run that GoJo did, and whilst I would have liked Foster to get a proper shot at the job, Prior should be supported and given time - he's shown glimpses of being capable enough with both bat and gloves. It seems like the British public are just waiting for the chance to jump on national sportsmen's backs, whatever the sport.

  • 31.
  • At 04:02 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • BlackDiamond wrote:


at it again i see. Strauss a threat to Vaughan's captaincy? how exactly? Strauss was left out because every time he played the opposition were getting a free wicket and a passport straight into the middle order. he needed a rest.

''lone win at home against the Windies?'' we thrashed Pakistan at home if you recall in 2006, and also drew away in your precious India with a bits and pieces team.

''Hoggard will come under intense pressure'' Hoggard need not feel any pressure at all, he's our most consistently performing bowler and his place has never been under threat.

Save your dubious acumen for discussing the fortunes and selection policies of your own team.

  • 32.
  • At 04:03 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Doug wrote:

No Rashid? No Ramprakash? How on earth can anyone with the smallest idea of cricket pick Shah over Ramprakash? He is fitter than most half his age. The average age of the Aussie team is 35! Does he have to average over 200 rather than 100 to be picked? To be honest Pietersen is lucky to be their on his form this year.

This is a joke.

  • 33.
  • At 04:16 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Aggers is spot on about Mustard and anyone criticising him on here needs a head-check. Mustard was excellent with the gloves and thoroughly impressive with the bat. He was unlucky not to take his confident hitting on to 50s on 2 occasions and always gave a boost to the start of the innings.

Gilchrist's odi average is pretty low but he always gets the team off to a flyer and gives the middle order more momentum and confidence. i'd rather Mustard blast 25 and get out than Prior scratch around for a 50 at the top of the order with a pained expression on his face - it doesnt exactly inspire anyone. also notice how our innings never got going in the 5th odi when Mustard was out early; the impetus was crucial to us winning the series.

  • 34.
  • At 04:51 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • SwamyCricketAnanda wrote:

@BlackDiamond: "''lone win at home against the Windies?'' we thrashed Pakistan at home if you recall in 2006, and also drew away in your precious India with a bits and pieces team."

If you read carefully, I said 'under Vaughan's captaincy'. The win against Pakistan at home was under Strauss; the draw vs India in India was under Freddie; with Shah starring on debut.

Vaughan has lost 2 series already after the fluky Ashes win; wihle Strauss won a series against Pakistan. Which is why, it appears, Flintoff replaced him for the Ashes... hopelessly; and now Strauss is out after several dubious umpiring decisions.

  • 35.
  • At 05:02 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Scouse Pete wrote:

Can't really argue with this squad, and it will be good to see MPV back in his rightful opening slot.

How can people be slating Bopara already? He's never even played a Test. Shah and Swann both have something to prove but earned that right in the ODIs.

As for Ramprakash, he's a proven failure at Test level. I don't care if he's averaged 500 in the last two county seasons - it would have been a hugely retrograde step to bring him back. He's been a joy to watch domestically and one of sport's great enigmas, but time to move on once and for all.

  • 36.
  • At 05:28 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • ADam Hall wrote:

They way I see it, the side will be;

And then two of the seamers,

Dor me Vaughan should be opening, and the selectors have got the batsman right, although I would like to see Ravi Bopara play rather than Shah, his medium pace will be more useful than Sha's spin, as both Vaughan and KP bowl respectable off spin if necessary.

Prior and Mustard? Mustard for me, he should get the winter to see if he canbed in, Prior had the summer and did nothing, and has shown in One Day cricket he is poor

Monty and Swann as the Spinners? Fine, there were no toher options after Swann performed well in the Onde Day series

AS for the seamers, I cannot beleive people are questioning Hoggard. He has been England most consistent bowler for 4 years, and has to play. When he plays he takes wickets, and bowls long tight spells. For me, the other seamer should be Sidebottom. Accurate, economical and impressive in England colours so far

  • 37.
  • At 06:01 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Jon Hart wrote:

Whats with all the Harmy bashing?

If anyone is bothered to check the first class stats at the time of his injury this season who exactly will you find at the top of the list for most wickets??

Steve Harmison.

And that including him missing several county games to play for England.

Astonishing how 1 bad ball can inflate every ones opinion that he can't bowl. He's the only bowler who can bowl at genuine pace to hurry batsmen without the exclusion on Flintoff.

Lets go back to the days of picknig medium pacer after medium pacer and see where thats get us. Termletts not quick enough and doesn't compliment Hoggard or Sidebotham.

To trouble top batsmen you need pace and you'd think after our greatest series win of sometime in 2005 some people would remember that.

  • 38.
  • At 06:02 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • C.Christmas wrote:

I'm frankly amazed that Strauss has even been given a Central Contract, given his form over the last couple of years. However I'll leave it at that.

As I see it, our line up for the first test ought to be:

Collingwood/Swann (but if Swann, he would bat at 8)

My dilemma over Collingwood and Swann is this. Collingwood is undeniably the better batsman of the two and his medium-pace is useful, though more in the ODI than Test arena. Swann's batting is less proven and probably less reliable, but his bowling, on slow turning tracks in Sri Lanka, could be vital. In a partnership with Monty or even Shah, he could pose serious problems for the Sri Lankan batsmen.

I prefer Prior over Mustard, but only in order to give Prior a further opportunity to show he's capable of consistent performance and redeem himself after the India series. If he can't do it after two Tests, replace him with Mustard at number 7.

I reckon Broad is the future of English fast-medium bowling and assuming he does well in this series, should become a firm fixture in future squads.

Please do, if you want to, give your opinion on my choices.

  • 39.
  • At 06:03 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • C.Christmas wrote:

On reflection, perhaps sub in Sidebottom ahead of Anderson.

  • 40.
  • At 06:13 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Tej wrote:

Strauss seems to be discarded and he has to blame himsel for that. Vaughn seems to have finally had his way in getting back to opening the batting . England need to take care of Monty Panesar as Collingwood seems to be too excited about SWann and he has still a long way to go before he reaches the Panesar standards. Watchout Panesar will be the trump cars in SL --provided ENG take care of him an feed him with confidence .Harmison is a enigma and will be closely watched by the selctors with the emergence of the new breed.Broad seems to have recovered from Yuvraj blast and the wounds seem to have healed considerably...

  • 41.
  • At 06:26 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Hawksworth wrote:

I simply cannot believe the naiveity, and ignorance, of those of you who think that Ramprakash should be recalled. 52 tests, averaging 27, recalled on countless occasions, and he bottled it every time. He simply did not have the temperament, or mental strength for test cricket. Great county pro, tin pot test player.
Shah has potential for the next few years, and has proved himself paying spin on the sub continent. Get him in.

  • 42.
  • At 06:36 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

What does Rob Key have to do to get in the england team!!!! Top English run scorer behind Ramprakash this year, and an opener who would let Vaughan bat in his better position of 3!!! Ridiculous

  • 43.
  • At 06:48 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • J Carter wrote:

I think Strauss should be there, he is a class player who has scored 100's against the best, Ashes 2005. he has had a break recently and should be back in the team at number 1.

I would have had James Foster as my keeper but Mustard looks good, why is Matt Prior going? his year was worse the Strauss.

Team should be:

A Cook
M Vaughan
I Bell
K Pietersen
P Collingwood
O Shah
P Mustard
R Sidebottom
M Hoggard
M Panesar
J Anderson

four number 11's but the batsmen make runs not the bowlers

  • 44.
  • At 08:00 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • APil wrote:

I'm sorry but after 52 tests and bar an incredibly few occasions, Ramprakash's technique has been shown to bw suspect against test class bowling.

When he played tests before he was scoring runs for fun against county bowlers but just couldn't make the step-up; so why anyone would think he'd be significantly better now with a few more seasons of facing county bowlers (the last one in Div 2, let's not forget) is beyond me.

As for Strauss being dropped. It all stems from the incomprehensible decision to have flintoff as captain for the Ashes rather than Strauss. - Professor Litefoot [28] spells out everything else very well.

And while I'm here WHY DOES THE SPINNER HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SCORE RUNS? WHAT ABOUT THE QUICKS? (Or - radical, I know - how about the batsmen?)

  • 45.
  • At 08:22 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Opulent Empire wrote:

I think this is a good team. The bowling looks quite menacing, and the batting doesn't look too shabby either. I feel like most of the teams suggested by other posters would be no better or worse than the one currently selected, as the players routinely being shuffled around in these hypothetical teams are all fairly similar. I wish the wicketkeeper debate would just stop. There's a reason Gilchrist is Gilchrist, and we should stop trying to find someone like him and simply allow someone to actually acclimatize to international cricket in the position. Oh, and SwamyCricketAnanda needs to stop spouting bullshit conspiracy theories on virtually every wall around here. It gets really irritating.

I think the test series will be pretty even, making for some good cricket to watch.

  • 46.
  • At 09:18 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Josh wrote:

We all know what the team is going to be:


  • 47.
  • At 10:19 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • simon dyster wrote:

if i was andrew strauss i would not bother playing for england again....

as captain he wont a test series against pakistan 3-0

he was 2-0 down in the one day series and got back to draw that series.

his reward....stripped of the captaincy

the man who replaces him looses the ashes 5-0 and then decides to get absolutely stinking drunk and try and boat his way around the west indies...

his reward...undying loyalty from the selectors!

as for owais shah he has prooved on several occassions that he is immature and lacking intelligence in the game


and to think we were seriously thinking of including the test match failure called mark ramprakash...

sorry never heard the name stuart law in the equation!

  • 48.
  • At 10:20 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • dexio wrote:

"Looks like Strauss has been left out because he was a threat to Vaughan's dubious captaincy."

What a staggering comment. Strauss has been left out because of his poor form, he's been struggling for a while whatever the reasons. Vaughan can bat as opener, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 as he has in the past for England. If a batsman comes in and performs to a high standard as Strauss did when he first arrived on the international scene then Vaughan has the class to move up the order, simple as that. A performing batsman would not be dropped so the captain could open the innings.

In Vaughan we have a player that offers calm, imaginative, intelligent & cunning captaincy. Dubious? The only dubious thing is your reasoning that Vaughan is not one of the best captains in world cricket. He was the main reason we won back the Ashes against a great Australian side. What a short memory you have Mr SwamyCricketAnanda. Thank the Lord above that your not a selector.

"If Vaughan loses this series as well.. that would mean 3 series losses after the Ashes win of 2005; as opposed to the lone win at home against the Windies depleted by the absence of Lara and Sarwan."

Another gem. We lost to Pakistan sporting an Asthes hangover. Vaughan was then injured and then injured and then injured again, only really coming back for any length of time against W Indies. Then played a strong India team (with a England bowling attack missing Hoggard, Harmison & Flintoff). India turned up and performed. We lost 0-1 in what was a hard fought for series in which our new bowling attack played admirably. Not really a strong case for accusing the captain of under achieving or whatever statement it is your trying to make.

"Vaughan has lost 2 series already after the fluky Ashes win"

What have you trod in. The Ashes win was anything but fluky. Watch the series again, do your homework before talking absolute mindless tosh! Only for Warne did the Australians come close to saving the series. Only in the first test did the Oz get the better of us. For once we did to the Aussies what they normally do to us. Believe me I watched virtually every ball of that series and I have again and again.

Anyway, all the injuries we have had to endure since Ashes 2005 might finally be paying dividends. The new players blooded since, are now starting to express themselvs. Our bowling attack has some real depth. The arrival of Sidebottom is strong competition for Hoggard, Tremlett/Harmison, Anderson, Broad, Flintoff (hopefully), Panesar, Swann?? It's looking good. Cooks arrival (his average is over 44 Mr Swamy.... pretty impressive for a 23yr old), Collingwood cementing his test place, the talent of Bopari (I believe he is starting a long successfil test career). All these positives have come from injury adversity.

  • 49.
  • At 10:56 AM on 20 Oct 2007,
  • Lysius wrote:

To me it comes as no surprise that, Andrew Strauss has been overlooked. He hasnt been quite himself lately. I dont think he is surprised with that at all but i expect him to comeback all guns blazing after the series. On that i agree totally with the selectors.

To exclude Chris Tremlett for a man (Harmy) who is lacking inform makes the debatable issue rage on, do we have players who are Guranteed places in England or its the perfomance that should count???

But Overally everything like you said Aggers its quite spot on.

  • 50.
  • At 02:57 PM on 20 Oct 2007,
  • Dr WG Grace wrote:

Strauss has been given a chance to rest and work on his technique. It is difficult at international level to go from series to series without a break. More than anything i think Strauss has looked fatigued. He is a consistent performer for England when he is both mentally and technically correct.

As for all those crying because Ramps wasn't called up remember the following. In over 50 tests he only scored 2 centuries and averaged 27 although the bowling in the 90's was of a higher standard. Ramps will forever be remembered as a county bully who couldn't cut it at test level.

The WK spot is as expected with the most recent 2 to be slected going although i suspect Prior will keep barring injury.

Slips certainly look weak at the mo though and Cook will have to get plenty of practice in.

Oweing to the heat in Sri Lanka 2 spinners is a must with only four front line bowlers. Assuming he is fit and is in decent form Hoggard must play as he has experience of sub continental conditions and is a consistent bowler and will get wickets. Its also a myth that there is no swing in Sri Lanka as Vaas has shown for many years.

Vaughan *
Prior +

  • 51.
  • At 03:11 PM on 20 Oct 2007,
  • NB wrote:

Chris Read may not be test class (whatever that means exactly) but in that case nor are any othe other keepers are they?

I mean, the selectors have been banging on about a wicket keeping batsman being required so how do we end up with a guy with a first class avg of 27 and no tons this year? All on the back of a quick knock in the C and G final. Unbelievable

  • 52.
  • At 03:15 PM on 20 Oct 2007,
  • melissa wrote:

Even though im a middlesex girl i think Bopara should play in front of Shah as Ravi has a better all-round quality... i feel sorry for Stauss though, and hope to see him back to his usuall form in time for the NZ trip. :)

  • 53.
  • At 03:27 PM on 20 Oct 2007,
  • melissa wrote:

Even though im a middlesex girl i think Bopara should play in front of Shah as Ravi has a better all-round quality... i feel sorry for Stauss though, and hope to see him back to his usuall form in time for the NZ trip. :)

  • 54.
  • At 10:03 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Mark Kidger wrote:

The selectors tend to come in for a lot of criticism, but this time there is not really a single decision that can really be criticised. The squad and the decisions are right on the mark, mixing youth and experience for what is always a really tough tour. Now, we need to team to deliver.

  • 55.
  • At 02:16 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • anton joseph wrote:

hello Jonathan A. It is pretty quite some time since i gave my view point on the current matches, individual's performance, and the current team selection. England team has shown improvement in the one day series against India, and a historic win in Sri lanka. But the first and and the last matches against the latter showed the vulnerability of the team. It is strange they don't come up with at least one man to stem the onslaught by the opposite team like the Australlians in general. The England team has yet much to be sorted out with the probable team for the one dayers even Test in the bowling and the glover-wicket keeper.
There is consistency still lacking in the batting.When the team folds up as a whole looks as if there is a kind of 'stage fright'as for an actor. When one or two fall, others follow like infection spreading in the whole body.
C. Broad and Swan, Sidebottom have shown their abilities, and if they can continue in the same vein it will do them good for their future and for England. Even Mascarenhas has to be givben a chance. He has shown the ability to bat courageously and blast the bowlers. The presence of such bowler batsmn will give fear to the opposite side in matches, especially in tight contests.
It is good S.Harmison has the chance to make himStrauss described the programme as a "ridiculously crowded international schedule".

self fit in S. Africa.
Andrew Flintoff had to go through the 4th angle operation.We can hope for a renewed Freddie . But I have my doubts about his long term performance with good results if he were to perfom with the same bowling action. He should lissten to the greats like Allan Donald of S. A. and of England Great, Sir Ian Botham who think a little change of action will do him a great good. He is still 29, young man still, and he has to do a little sacrifice for his sake and for England. For that he will not regret later.As for his batting, he needs to seriously think and apply well and graft at the matches patiently and judging each ball according to its merit before he go batting spree to his liking; otherwise he will be considered an allrounder.
As for the crowded schedule of matches. As Srauss and Peterson have expressed; paraphrasing, Strauss, he added: "Without any sort of window in the last 18 months to take stock, make technical changes and refresh the mind, turning it around has been extremely difficult.Peterson, there has been matches for the last 3 years without a proper break. ECB has to take this matter very seriously, if not even a great players can become weary and under perform and can seriously affect their career.
Peter Moores has done fairly well in his so short span as England coach. He has even given more chances to playerswho have been tried only a few times in the past and it shows to give some dividends. Hope Engand team shapes itself to perform remarkably well in next Ashes Series while playing well with the up coming schedules.
Do some of my analyses get in the published comments, Mr. Jonathan A.?

a. Joe.

  • 56.
  • At 12:38 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Hampshire wrote:

As I see it here are a few basic problems that the selectors have had to take a view on as follows;
1. Lack of balance in the side, particularly as Freddie is not fit (and even if he was fit as he is not the player he was in 2005). While we have several good bowlers now (Sidebottom, Monty, Hoggy, Anderson, Tremlett) none of them can really bat so 9,10 and 11 is all they can do, we can't risk one of them at 8.
2. As has already been pointed out, lack of top class close catchers.
3. Lack of an established test-class wicket-keeper / batsman
4. Lack of a naturally aggressive establisged opening batman since Tresco is no longer an option.
I am concerned that we are not going to end up with the right choices to deal with these points which have undermined both the teams, and some individuals, performances over the last year. In the end I suspect we will have to do the following respectively;
1. Play Bopara at no 6 and have him/ Collingwood / Pieterson combined as our 5th bowler. We still have a problem at no 8 though, looks like either Swann or Broad, both are a risk though.
2. Put Cook at first slip and Collingwood second, Bell in the gully.
3. I would have gone for Mustard or Foster as my keeper / batsman to be honest, Davies needs 1 more year I think. Mustard is an option as he is left-handed, Foster as he is very gritty. This could be Prior's last chance I think.
4. Cook and Vaughan are probably the best balance we have. This is a big problem position though and I think Strauss has suffeered hugely from Tresco's absense. From what I have seen I would say that Strauss has been chasing the ball, especialy outside off stump, since he has taken the role of "senior opener". This is not his natural game, get back to your basic game Straussy, play straight and simple.

  • 57.
  • At 12:53 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • James Benham wrote:

Wicketkeeper - Mustard, Davies and Foster - all good though, maybe we should go for best batter (Prior) and best keeper (Read) - stick with Prior and give Read confidence that still in setup. Whilst both can also learn from each other to improve their weaker part.

  • 58.
  • At 01:09 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • muttley wrote:

A predictable "lets go for youth" squad, based on the 1 dayers. As said though, class will out, Shah and Bopara haven't set the county scene alight, I can see them not quite making it.

Ramps should be in, he's scored heavily for a couple of seasons against all attacks and is now the complete player he might have become in tests. Its not quite Gower in India though, but a big selector error.

As to Andrew Strauss, what a year - captain elect, given, job done sucessfully then taken away when Fred returned (why?, AS is a leader, fred is more a passion player), very poor umpiring decisions, Gooch carping on so his boy Cook could settle in as the ascendant leftie opener, Tres will-he-won't he...Vaughan coming back then not. The guy is intelligent, proven and like us all won't do so well when he feels undermined. Is it because he's public school?
I did like his comments on the interenational schedule etc on the bbc site.

  • 59.
  • At 04:31 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • M Richards wrote:

Is nt it about time the selectors stood down.

The treat ment of Strauss and Read prior to the ashes series was responsible for the down turn in their fortunes. Lets remember that Strauss came off the back of a century as skipper against PAK. They have just messd up since that point. I am not sure exactly what Foster and Read have done wrong to not even be included in the squad. It defies any sort of logic or selectorial judgement or planning.

Perhaps they should pray that essex or Notts reach the C & G Final next year for one slog.

Here's to more byes and dropped catches . Cheers

  • 60.
  • At 10:27 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

The only possible saving grace with the lack of specialist slips is they may have less of a role to play than would be the case in England or NZ, as the pitches should be lower and slower. I would have thought we will have 2 slips of Bell and Collingwood, with Cook coming in should 3 be required. The fielding at silly mind-on/off may be more important, and in fairness both Cook and Bell are very good in those positions.

  • 61.
  • At 04:23 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • Floyd wrote:

The problem of player burn-out should not be underestimated.

Our bowling deprtment is fine because we have two older players (Hoggy and Harmison) who are well rested and a great choice of younger bowlers.

The batting department is a real problem in this respect, though. Strauss has already fallen by the wayside (no little thanks to apalling treatment by the selectors)and KP's overall form has definately gone downhill in recent matches.

It would only take for one of our other batsmen to undergo a similar dip in form for England to be in serious trouble.

Its therefore imperative that we somehow try to find at least one replacement batsman that will allow a certain amount of rotation.

I don't think that bringing in Shah or Bopara is a great solution, given that neither could ever replace an in-form Struass or KP (which is what you'd ideally be looking for). What you really need is a like-for-like replacement.

I'm really terribly torn on Ramps. On the one hand, his test average is really quite dreadful for someone with such enormous ability. Yet, as so many of his supporters have pointed out, his recent performance at county level has been little short of phenomenal.

I would therefore be inclined to bring him into the squad, if only to replace (on a strictly match-by-match, or possibly in a complete emergency a series-by-series, basis) any of our batsmen that are worryingly out of form.

  • 62.
  • At 10:39 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • g wrote:

Strauss - at international level even minor flaws will be ruthlessly exploited. he needs to get his front foot moving early on and his bat coming through straight. sounds easy, right?!?! noone can doubt that he's an amazingly gifted cricketer and a big scorer. if he sorts this little niggle out he'll walk back into the england team.

for what it's worth, i still think he'll be an excellent england captain.

Harmison should be dropped. 2 good spells in 3 years is just not good enough. his arrogance is completely unfounded these days. and by all accounts he has a withering, negative influence on the dressing room.

i'm glad they didn't recall Ramps.

Forget Flintoff and Prior!
Bopara, Mustard, Broad for 7,8,9

  • 63.
  • At 11:31 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • Dr.Cajetan Coelho wrote:

With the return of Prior this English side is sure to regain its fervor and zeal as was witnessed against India. Cook and Bell have been performing admirably and when given a chance Mustard looks capable of causing the desired effect in the Emerald Islands. A heavy scoring evergreen Mark Ramprakash would have lent solidity to the middle against a very good Lankan bowling side that boasts of many match winners in modern day cricket. Owais Shah appears to possess the temperament to face Sanath and Murali. Let us wish the selected guys all the very best in their batting, bowling and fielding.

Tough on Strauss but I hope he uses the time constructively - at his best he is world class.

Good luck to the new batsmen and wicket-keepers.

  • 65.
  • At 11:00 AM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • leslie gascoigne wrote:

The people who are once again pushing for Ramps to be included must remember that he has always performed brilliantly at county level. Because of this, despite his regular failures at the highest level, he has been given chance after chance. His backers are once again displaying HOPE over EXPERIENCE. He appears to be a lovely guy but something inside his head has always stopped him performing at the top level.

  • 66.
  • At 12:58 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Joshspanks wrote:

Chris Read is the best 'wicket keeper' in the country, unfortunately his batting does not measure up. What I find hard is that someone as average as Prior can win a place (a regular one at that) in the England team. I'm personally hoping that Mustard does develop into the Gilchrist mould, cos picking Prior is a serious weakness in my eyes.

I am surprised how fast some people have been to write-off Strauss. He is a class player, and I fully expect him to be in the next Ashes series. He is going through a rough trot, but all players do that. I feel he is strong enough to come back as an improved batsman, and be the backbone of England's batting for years to come.

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