Dropping Prior is harsh, but fair
Harsh, but fair I believe is the honest reaction to the selectors' decision to banish wicket-keeper Matt Prior from both the Test and one-day squads for England's tour to New Zealand.
Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman at the Oval last summer - Mahela Jayawardene twice on the way to his 213 at Galle - and there were others.
Not only has Prior's confidence been hit, but so, crucially, has that of the bowlers in him. Poor Ryan Sidebottom suffered more than most, and while I felt that his reaction to another missed chance in Colombo was out of order, Sidebottom's frustration was nevertheless understandable.
So Phil Mustard, the Colonel, finds himself in the wonderful position of being able to stake first claim. He will keep wicket in the one-day internationals which precede the Tests and if he does a good job – and scores runs – he will surely be given first crack in the Test series. It was, I understand, a very close call between Tim Ambrose and James Foster for the second spot.
Andrew Strauss needed a break, and has now had one. People are sure to point to the fact that he hasn’t played much cricket since being dropped, but he has been working hard in the nets as well as taking the chance to clear his head after such a dismal year.
Where he will bat will be interesting. Michael Vaughan thoroughly enjoyed his return to the top of the order and won't be keen to move, so it will have to be Ian Bell who is juggled around again.
There is some sense in Strauss batting at three, in that it keeps the right/left hand complication alive so the odds are that Bell will have to return to number six.
Strauss will certainly be a more than welcome addition to the slips cordon because England's fielding was dreadful in Sri Lanka.