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Alec Stewart's England player ratings

Here's how I rated the performances of the England team in the third Test at Trent Bridge.

Andrew Strauss
Continued his good form until he played a poor shot straight after lunch on day one. Caught well at slip. 6

Alastair Cook
Still searching for his best form. 2

Michael Vaughan
His captaincy skills were up to standard and again looked comfortable at the crease with the bat until a loose shot cost him his wicket. 5

Kevin Pietersen
Top-quality century from England's most exciting batsman. KP showed off his talent and got England out of a very sticky situation. 8.5

Ian Bell
Third-ball duck. Needs runs in the one-day series to keep his critics off his back. 2

Paul Collingwood
Presently out of sorts and low on confidence with the bat. Captaining the one-day side will hopefully clear his mind of the demons. 2

Tim Ambrose
Tidy performance behind the stumps and played an important role in his partnership with Pietersen. 8

Stuart Broad
Mature performance with the bat and the ball. Has a very bright future. 8

Ryan Sidebottom
Not at his very best in the first innings but returned to form in the second. Mr Reliable. 7.5

Monty Panesar
After his heroics at Old Trafford, a quiet game for Monty in swinging conditions. A poor umpiring decision cost him his chance of a maiden Test century! 5

James Anderson
Man of the match and career-best batting and bowling performances. High-quality swing bowling at good pace exposed the Kiwis' poor technique. 9

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Surely a 10 for Jimmy?
    You said it yourself ' Career-best batting and bowling figures'
    What more can the man do, statistically this is the best he has ever played!

  • Comment number 2.

    #2: such hapless incompetent batting means at least a mark off. This is supposed to be test cricket where we expect the highest standards. The real question is not whether Anderson deserves a 9 or 10 but whether he can produce anything like against a decent team like SA. My head says 'unlikely'.

  • Comment number 3.

    Agree with your scores Mr Stewart.

    Feel there will be some real competition for bowling places once Jones and Flintoff are fit.

    Really enjoy watching Broad - he is going to develop into a great all rounder - great batting technique, lovely footwork.

    But what does an England batsman have to do to get dropped? Bell and Collingwood were poor again. The selectors have no problem booting out Hoggy and Harmy when they are not performing so why do batsmen get so many chances to fail?

  • Comment number 4.

    The ratings are about right. KP and Ambrose handed England the opportunity, Anderson and Broad (with bat and ball) handed England the game. From then on game was only going to have one outcome.

    I hope, for NZ's pride as much as anything else, that England are competitive against SA. It will be interesting to see how the bowling gets on against a batting order that does not give away its wickets so readily.

  • Comment number 5.

    How did Bell or Collingwood even get 2s! Both of them cannot be in the team come SA - Prior and Bopara must be breathing down their necks. I think KP deserves a 9 at least - he rescued us from the brink. I'd also have given Broad a 9, and Anderson is prettttty unlucky to miss out on a 10.

  • Comment number 6.

    Alex---I agree broadly with your scorings as the relative contributions to the 3rd NZ match.

    Bell 2
    Cooke 3
    Collingwood 3 as he took some good catches, and bowled. Catches/fielding wins matches.

    This keeps him marginally ahead of Bell for SA Test drop.

    After scoring 144 against Essex Shah has to be seroiusly considered on form over Bell.

    Old day series batting might determine whether Bopara gets the nod over Collingwood for the SA Tests. Goochy will say Bopara's double ton last week must be a tipping current form factor.

    At least 2-3 places up for grabs against SA, on competitive form over the next 2 months.

  • Comment number 7.

    A little harsh on a few players, and Collingwood's excellent slip catching should place him higher than Bell.

    Vaughan equally, for his captaincy, should take some of the credit for the ease of the win

  • Comment number 8.

    well stewie, collie deserves 3 not 2 as he did take some good catches but BELL should be out of the team and he should be in nets and county cricket. bell is not preforming and he needs more time. bring in owais shah or bopara, they both are excellent young new crickets who have sooo much talent. cook is in need of runs as his form is dipping, i dont think pieterson is still at his best, he wasn't playing his usual shots and looked 2 minded at times. monty did have a quiet game but he still is great!. 1 of the best bowlers in the world today is deff sidebottom. im indian and is still respect sidebottom very much, he is such a good bowler and he backs his other team-mates up soo well. broad is young talent and still is learning. vaughan deserves 7 or 8. his captian skills were very good.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sbring in owais shah or bopara, they both are excellent young new crickets who have sooo much talent.

    ----------------------------------

    Shah is 30 in october so I wouldn't exactly describe him as young when your talking about him replacing bell.

  • Comment number 10.

    "BELL should be out of the team and he should be in nets and county cricket. bell is not preforming and he needs more time. bring in owais shah or bopara, they both are excellent young new crickets who have sooo much talent."

    ok, bell is not in form, but he is technikly quite sound. he will come good against SA.
    also, you say that shah is a good young cricketer, no, he is 3 years older than bell!!!

    but when freddie is fit, out with colly and in with freddie. keep the rest as it is, why is everyone getting sooooo excited over jones, yes he done well in 2005, but thats 3 years ago, Sidey and Anderson are doing well now!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Surely,in test cricket you pick the best available side to destroy the opposition.?Nobody should believe that just because they are in the side now that it gives them the right to a place. One can always justify keeping any player but sport is a ruthless master and cricket ishould be no different. It was very evident that both Collingwood and Bell fell far short of what is required at test level this time.That said they are very good players and no one would suggest they are tossed out with the rubbish. They just need to regain their form and confidence and in doing so let youngsters get stuck in.All sport depends upon "giving someone a chance to shine".
    The trouble with England is it flounders around and never ever really picks the best side at the time,It acts almost like a masonic lodge membership with very variable results or more luck than judgement.Batsmen playing the ball with good skill and bowlers that strike fear into the opposition whether fast or slow win matches not players who earned "right of passage" over the years. It just seems to be an England trait.The jolly good sort gets the game even though the statistics and performance say otherwise.

  • Comment number 12.

    Nice to see you being a bit more realistic with your scoring this time around, Goochie. I'd still knock a point each off Ambrose, Sidebottom and Anderson, and .5 point off KP and Broad though.

    Yes, Anderson bowled excellently, but he still doesn't have a Plan B if there's no swing for him, and then he starts to lose the plot a bit.

    As for my lot...*shrugs*...I almost feel like apologising to you for the spineless display we put in in this Test.

  • Comment number 13.

    How on earth does Vaughan get a 5? Abysmal batting yet again and the bowling was so amazing that his captaincy was negligible. Anyone can have two slips and just wait for the bowlers to do well.

    Jimmy definitely deserved a ten. If you do a career best batting and almost single-handidly bowl NZ out of the game, what more can be done?

  • Comment number 14.

    Good on you for not overmarking the series winners. Agree especially with Strauss and Vaughan. Maybe a little harsh on Cook.

  • Comment number 15.

    listen everyone, i got couple of people insulting my comments. i know what shah is 30, but he has plenty of cricket in him, look at misbah and m.hussey, they all came late and look how fantastic they are doing, so ravman and ow_is_dat keep your opinions to yourself cause i know what im talking about

  • Comment number 16.

    AtleticoLoveAguero wrote:
    Collingwood's excellent slip catching should place him higher than Bell.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Including the catch he dropped the other day? Has nobody noticed that Bell is outstanding in his specialist role as short leg fielder. He has taken several painful blows in that position, was nearly out of the Hamilton test with severe bruising, but played through the pain barrier - and he keeps coming back for more.

    He needs more runs though.

  • Comment number 17.

    obamccain wrote:
    This is supposed to be test cricket where we expect the highest standards. The real question is not whether Anderson deserves a 9 or 10 but whether he can produce anything like against a decent team like SA. My head says 'unlikely'.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Change the question when you don't like the answer? Anderson was superb in this match and deserves the 9. It's five years since South Africa last toured here, give him a chance.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Ryan Sidebottom
    Not at his very best in the first innings but returned to form in the second. Mr Reliable. 7.5"

    Surely labelling someone 'Mr. Reliable' would indicate something of a constant. By your own admission he was under-par in the first innings (well under-par and drawing comparisons with the performances when he first played for England), and then bowled a much more consistent line in the 2nd innings and took some wickets.

    We will see if Sidebottom can reproduce such consistency and get the same rewards against South Africa. Last summer against India he bowled well but didn't take many wickets. He still has some way to prove himself- like Hoggard did, that he can take wickets against all opposition in varied conditions. And I hope he does so.

  • Comment number 19.

    Match ratings should be based on how the player performed in the match and opposition in question, and on an objective assessment of the player's performance, not some hypothetical idea about how they should have performed, or how bad or good they might be against someone else on a different date at a different venue.

  • Comment number 20.

    Last summer against India I seem to recall that Sidebottom had some sort of niggle and although still playing in the matches was unable to bowl for a long period, which may explain why he didn't get so many wickets.

  • Comment number 21.

    both bell and collingwood only deserve 1 and that is for fielding. you cannot allow two full time batsmen to fail quite so horrifically in a series and yet still they keep their places. england have got to the stage of being quite ruthless with bowlers (see Hoggard and harmison, both of whom are starting to recapture form) but with batsmen, we seem to be under the impression that keeping them in the line up is the best thing for them, leaving the likes of strauss (last year's poor form) to keep on affecting them at the time, rather than sending them back to there counties where they can refind themselves against weaker bowlers.

  • Comment number 22.

    With regards to some of the comments about Sidebottom, with particular reference to comment #18 (jackanderton)...

    He was desperately unlucky against India and Sri Lanka, against whom he had a number of catches dropped. He should easily have had more wickets in both series. Thankfully, with Prior gone and a proper 'keeper behind the stumps, and with Cook improving on his slip/gully fielding, our catching seems better now.

    Also, do not forget that Sidebottom suffered an unfortunate back spasm during England's first innings - that is why James Anderson came out ahead of Sidebottom. It is not inconcieveable that this spasm affected his bowling on the second day. But even taking that into consideration, he still got 7 wickets in the match at an average of 16.57 at under 2.83 runs per over - good by anybody's standards and demonstrates quite clearly that even when he is a little off colour, he is still "Mr Reliable".

    As for the scores, I broadly agree. Collingwood should score more higly than Bell - either that means Bell gets 1 or Colly gets 3. His catches in the match were useful and shouldn't be underestimated. Bell on the other hand didn't do a thing in the whole game - no runs, no catches. I said elsewhere on the BBC site that Bell should be dropped (and as a great supporter of Bell, that isn't an easy thing to admit) but I really don't think Shah is the man to replace him. I don't rate his technique nor his temprament. Scoring 144 against Essex is one thing, but by everyone's admission, SA are an entirely different prospect and I don't see him scoring that many. Same goes for Bopara. He's a great prospect, scored heavily so far this season, but against Steyn et al., I can't see him getting the ball away. Moreover, his bowling isn't up to Test match standard and will probably be savaged by the likes of Smith, Kallis, de Villiers etc...

  • Comment number 23.

    ravman and ow_is_dat keep your opinions to yourself cause i know what im talking about
    ----------------------
    and i know what i'm talking about, bell has even more cricket in him, and is a talented player. he will come good, like ALL talented cricketers. everyone goes through a bad spell, and you know how good they are when they break through the bad spell.

  • Comment number 24.

    I agree with all the scores given.

    but surely if your looking for a batsmen thtat is reliable look no further than Rob Key at surrey!!

    He's been consistant and deserves a chance at the higher level. If not Rob Key why not bring back Mark Rampakash. He brings runs in any game.

    Also if collingwoods form doesnt improve surely it will be him to make way for freddie cos hes just as good if not better a slip catcher than colly.

  • Comment number 25.

    A 2 for Cook???

    He averaged 29 which isn't exactly disastrous.

    Ludicrous.

  • Comment number 26.

    Current Form is the issue; not Pedigree/Brands.

    NZ currently are a poor/weak Test Side. South Africa are in the top 3/4 in strength as a Test team. Players averaging 20-30 against NZ are going to get creamed by SA.

    Bell and Collingwood's form is low at the moment. Both have good pedigree, but good form wins Test Matches. No time after England's top 3 puts good scores together, the middle order don't turn up. We just don't need fifties/tons; but big tons and double hundreds

    Bopara, Shah and Key are playing and in good form; and ready!

    Freddie and Jones. They are brands, have pedigree; but these guys haven't played test cricket for 12 months in the case of Fred, and 3 yrs in the case of Jones; although his 5fer last week is encouraging. Both have to prove at county level, they can put a number of performances together, not just one or two.

  • Comment number 27.

    I still cant see this lot troubling South Africa too much. Lets face it NZ are club cricketers plus McCullum.

  • Comment number 28.

    Ambrose should be a 6 kept ok but still looks way short of class with bat. Only scored with one shot and SA will sort him out (If picked) Personally i would go for Prior so that we can get Flintoff back. we will need a proper bat then.

  • Comment number 29.

    Lateralis wrote:
    As for the scores, I broadly agree. Collingwood should score more higly than Bell - either that means Bell gets 1 or Colly gets 3. His catches in the match were useful and shouldn't be underestimated. Bell on the other hand didn't do a thing in the whole game - no runs, no catches.
    --------------------------------------------
    I don't disagree with the ratings for Bell and Collingwood, and Bell certainly did nothing with the bat all game, but it's hardly his fault that he took no catches, when none came his way. He didn't put any down. He works very hard under the helmet or in the covers and quietly gets on with the job, always fielding very tidily. Obviously so quietly that you thought he did nothing in the game! With Panesar not bowling much, however, his work at short leg was not so crucial this time.

  • Comment number 30.

    What worries me is the idea of teams like NZ being listed as "B-standard", as Jeremy Coney and Brian Waddell said on yesterday's TMS. Think about it - NZ doesn't produce players including the likes of Sir Richard Hadlee, Glenn Turner, Lance and Chris Cairns, Stephen Fleming, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, not to mention D L Vettori, purely by chance. Is England REALLY that much better than the Black Caps? WHY don't teams like the Kiwis get a FULL Test series, lasting the whole summer, rather than a quick wet session in the so-called early English season? Is it because the 20Twenty brigade (aka no-attention-span-oh-no-football-on-TV-what-do-I-watch-now?) have hijacked the most intellectually stimulating sport on earth?

  • Comment number 31.

    You can't expect Bell to catch everything at short-leg. He puts himself right in the firing line and has been injured a few times down there.

    Both Bell and Colly need runs - the ODIs can provide that. I think Ravi needs to come in and Cook needs to go as I don't think he can score fast enough.

  • Comment number 32.

    What worries me is the idea of teams like NZ being listed as "B-standard", as Jeremy Coney and Brian Waddell said on yesterday's TMS. Think about it - NZ doesn't produce players including the likes of Sir Richard Hadlee, Glenn Turner, Lance and Chris Cairns, Stephen Fleming, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, not to mention D L Vettori, purely by chance. Is England REALLY that much better than the Black Caps? WHY don't teams like the Kiwis get a FULL Test series, lasting the whole summer, rather than a quick wet session in the so-called early English season? Is it because the 20Twenty brigade (aka no-attention-span-oh-no-football-on-TV-what-do-I-watch-now?) have hijacked the most intellectually stimulating sport on earth?

  • Comment number 33.

    What worries me is the idea of teams like NZ being listed as "B-standard", as Jeremy Coney and Brian Waddell said on yesterday's TMS. Think about it - NZ doesn't produce players including the likes of Sir Richard Hadlee, Glenn Turner, Lance and Chris Cairns, Stephen Fleming, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, not to mention D L Vettori, purely by chance. Is England REALLY that much better than the Black Caps? WHY don't teams like the Kiwis get a FULL Test series, lasting the whole summer, rather than a quick wet session in the so-called early English season? Is it because the 20Twenty brigade (aka no-attention-span-oh-no-football-on-TV-what-do-I-watch-now?) have hijacked the most intellectually stimulating sport on earth?

  • Comment number 34.

    I agree in general. perhaps strauss deserves a tiddle more. Collingwood and Bell surely can enjoy the luxuries of county cricket when SA arrive on these sures for the games in white. On recent form they are undeserving of their places in the side and are being consistently out performed but people who are in the side for their wickets and not their runs.

    I understand why you have given Monty a score but ultimately the lad had nothing to do. No expects him to score runs with the bat he is there for his wickets and in swing friendly conditions with a NZ batting line up that in both innings seemed more interested in getting a drink back in the pavillion that putting up big numbers its no wonder he had little to do. He didnt do anything wrong but didnt have the chance to do anything right. I mean 11 overs in a match, would expect to bowl twice or thrice that per innings normally. 5 seems fair but put simply i would score him as "had little opportunitty to impact the match"

  • Comment number 35.

    The New Zealand 1st innings was the third lowest total by opposition against Vaughan's captaincy, the only two lower totals were by Bangladesh in 2005. West Indies, Bangladesh and New Zealand make up eight of the ten sides Vaughan's England has bowled out for less than 200. They are not top class opposition, in fact half of Vaughan's wins against top seven opposition come against the Kiwis.

    Vaughan (Captain)

    vs AUS/PAK/IND/SAF/SRI : P25 W6 D11 L8

    vs New Zealand : P8 W6 D1 L1
    vs West Indies : P11 W10 D1 L0
    vs Bangladesh : P4 W4 D0 L0

    One defeat in 23 Tests against those three split out confirms they're not that good.

    Anyway, England vs New Zealand 3rd Test ratings.

    Cook 4/10 - out early to not the greatest shot

    Strauss 5/10 - got in and got out to a poor shot, one of the wider deliveries he faced.

    Vaughan 4/10 - poor shot to get bowled, I don't know how anyone can rave about his captaincy as Pietersen/Ambrose, the England bowlers and Kiwi batsmen made the England win so easy not anything Vaughan did.

    Pietersen 9/10 - superb innings under pressure (86/5), batted well with Ambrose and set up a good total which proved to be enough.

    Bell 2/10 - terrible shot before he'd got off the mark to make sure he didn't, it's not just the duck but the way it came about.

    Collingwood 3/10 - was got out as much as got himself out, his lack of footwork not surprising given his form and the early stage of his innings. Could have fielded better, and so what if he bowled.

    Ambrose 7/10 - ok with the gloves, but his fifty with Pietersen was key to England's total.

    Broad 7/10 - a good late order fifty to pile on the misery and put the Kiwis completely in the wrong mindset at the start of their reply. He picked up a couple of cheap wickets late in the Kiwi 1st innings and two key Kiwis early in the 2nd so a much better all-round performance. He needs to keep it up, England can't afford to carry a bowler with only four main bowlers.

    Anderson 10/10 - came in as Aggers' nightwatchman for a nightwatchman, but really made use of and a good score when Sidebottom had a back spasm and he got promoted up the order. His 7/43 bowled the Kiwis out, fair enough they helped but his nine wickets in the match set up the easy win.

    Sidebottom 8/10 - didn't get much of a look in with the ball 1st innings as Anderson did so much damage, so he made up for it 2nd innings. For a relatively quiet game he still took seven wickets and bowled pretty well overall

    Panesar 5/10 - a quiet game for Monty, not even given one over in the 1st innings as Anderson ripped the Kiwis apart and only a few overs 2nd innings as the seamers did the job again. Bowled tidily enough though, did as much as was asked/expected of him.



    I think Mr Boycott got it right when he said Bell and Collingwood are lucky, lucky, lucky. Had there been another Test in week they may well have been sent back to their counties. Broad has just about done enough to keep his place, I suspect Vaughan will argue a case to keep the same XI for the next series which I don't agree with. England may have eased past the Kiwis without breaking sweat, some more than others, but the Saffers will be a much tougher proposition. If Collingwood and Bell can't score runs off the relatively gentle Kiwi attack then what hope against one of the better pace attacks in the World?

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes I think The Darkness Is Calling has the scores about right.

    Perhaps 9 or 9.5 for Anderson

    10 if he got 9/10 in the innings.

  • Comment number 37.

    don't think the comments about Bell are exactly fair, he is one of Englands best batsman, he shouldn't be dropped.

    If Collingwood isnt going to bowl very much, then he could miss out for Freddie or Bopara.

    But i garuntee Bell will score a ton against SA, then all you people saying he should be dropped, will start saying how good he looks... it happens with every batsman!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Curious - Bell scores 0 in 3 balls and Collingwood 0 in 4 but both get a rating of 2! What would you have to do to rate 0?

    If scoring 0 but fielding well is enough to merit a place, as some suggest, call for Gary Pratt immediately.

    As for waiting for batsmen to recover their form - Collingwood has averaged under 30 in 2007 and 2008. I think the waiting is over.

    A settled team is certainly a valuable approach, as far as it goes, but any successful team or organisation always seeks to strengthen itself - love them or not, that method has worked for Man Utd.

    I do indeed wish to see changes, preferably in plenty of time ahead of the next Ashes.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree Bell and Collingwood are most under threat, and our second-line batsmen (Key, Bopara, Shah, Prior etc) all deserve a look-in for SA. Its a shame that the only cricket left before the SA series is twenty20, so not much chance for anyone (other than possibly Bell/Colly/Bopara/Shah in the ODIs) to make any more of an impression.

    If Bell/Colly fail to miraculously find form in the 50-over games, I'd definitely advocate giving Ravi and/or Owais the call. They are in great form, can both bowl and field, and you can tell in their eyes (remember Ravi v Sri Lanka in the World Cup?) that they really want it.

    I sometimes think that Ravi and Prior almost suffer from having another string to their bow - just cos they can bowl/keep, it doesn't mean they're not good enough to be considered "specialist batsmen". And these are players that have scored big this season in relatively low-scoring games, not just as part of a huge total.

    All four bowlers deserve to stay in, the big question being - do we need a fifth? Don't want to be negative, but with the form of our batsmen, I think Ambrose/Flintoff at six is too big a risk, so four bowlers plus Ravi and the part-time spinners (Shah/KP/Vaughan??) will have to do.

  • Comment number 40.

    a sincere question:

    when was the last time Flintoff looked like a half-decent batsman in a real match?


  • Comment number 41.

    Exactly. Good call.

    If he's fit for SA you have to consider him for his bowling, but if he's replacing Bell/Colly to bat at six, we really are in trouble. Until he's got some games under his belt, I'd look at him solely as a bowler, competing for a place with Broad/Anderson, with a view to batting at 8. Whether he likes it or not!

  • Comment number 42.

    Bell put Eng under a lot of pressure at the wrong time. As with the Ashes decider could have been extremely costly if KP hadn't saved the day. Therefore a 1 for Bell.

    10 for Anderson, if only for that superb boundary he hit!



  • Comment number 43.

    Here's an idea, let Bell go and play county cricket for a while, at least that way he can try to play himself back into form.

    If he can't then he must be dropped ustil he can. Bring in Bopara or Prior (not Shah, hes had too many chances) instead.

    Collinwood must stay though, especially if Flintoff returns. Flintoff should not be batting higher than 7 and with Ambrose in the side that means one of four bowlers. In those circumstances Collinwood will be needed to offer another stock bowling option, especially in teh first innings. Should Flintoff prove either his fitness as a bowler in a 4 pronged attack or his ability at #6 then fine drop Colly after the SA series.

  • Comment number 44.

    Sounds good, if incredibly harsh on Shah who has only played 2 tests, and got a very important 88 in one of them. Hardly "too many chances"!

    I agree other than that tho, unless the selectors decide that Bopara's bowling is good enough to make them secure in dropping Collingwood. I'd prefer Colly to be dropped too - I don't think his form with the bat merits him a top 6 spot, regardless of his multitude of other assets.

  • Comment number 45.

    Whilst Anderson was good in the first innings are we not getting carried away again.

    Surely a line up as follows gicves enough batting with more bowling options:

    Strauss
    Cook
    Vaughan
    Pietersen
    Key
    Flintoff
    Ambrose
    Broad
    Sidebottom
    Anderson
    Panesar

    Thats 5 batsmen, 3 all rounders (incl Ambrose) and 3 bowlers.

  • Comment number 46.

    Ambrose is not an all rounder Robineagle62!!!!!!! come on get with it !

  • Comment number 47.

    RobinEagle - I'd be happy with that, but it would put a lot of pressure on the openers and Vaughan, none of whom could claim to be in top form. We've not seen Flintoff bat well enough to be considered at number 6 for a good 2-and-a-half years, and Ambrose is still an unknown quantity, so I feel your line-up would probably be a risky move.

    BUT... why not? SA probably won't have a spinner, they are much better batsmen than bowlers, so it might turn out to be worth the risk.

    If Fred's not fit tho', do you play Ravi, or a fifth specialist bowler? Tricky one. Especially since the next bowler in line is probably Hoggy, which further depletes the batting line-up...

  • Comment number 48.

    why do people keep saying bring prior back
    amborse has done nothing wrong
    he is very tidy behind the stumps and did his bit with the bat so why bring in a guy that did worce with the bat in the his last test and can't keep as well as ambrose

    anderson should have a 10 in this series
    he played the best cricket ive ever seen him play and needs to be keept in the top 6 english bowlers

    engalnd should drop colingwood and bell now. bell needs to get back in to county as in my view he has never looked like he could take on the top teams like the aussies and SA unlike some other people

    colingwood needs to go back to the county and look at his batting. if he does a good job then im sure he will be back

    cook has done a good job and had a avrage series. not bad, avrage im sure after a rest while england play odi he will be back in good form.

    for me the selecters need to look at picking 3 or 4 guys from the following list

    anderson
    sidebottom
    broard
    jones
    fredi

    i think harmoson and hoggard had the last series to prove them selves and failed so fredi and jones need to be given a chance first

    id go with

    fredi
    anderson
    sidebottom
    broard

    but im not an england selecter and so will probibly be wrong

  • Comment number 49.

    I would let Bell/Collingwood a month to get a ton/score in ODI/2020. If they don't drop them both for SA. My guess is one of them will come through.

    If not, clear the air and give Shah/Bopara a 3 Test series against SA. At the end the chances are Bell/Collingwood will be back in form for WI away, and Bopara/Shah might be giving the selectors a headache.

    Flintoff is still a ? unknown factor. Will he be match fit, in form as a bowler, SA, or are we wishfully hoping for the garaged Flintoff brand to fire like a Rolls Royce? Has he had a 4fer or 5fer this season? Whats his batting like? What is his fielding like for 3 days in a row.

    Simon Jones - good 5fer last week - but is he test match fit and endure the 5 day rigour?

  • Comment number 50.

    Danny - don't think anyone is saying bring Prior back for Ambrose - his keeping was just not good enough before - but he is certainly a contender to come into the middle order as a specialist bat. He did pretty well with the bat in his tests (averaged over 40) and has improved since.

    Is probably behind Bopara, Key and Shah, but certainly worth consideration.

  • Comment number 51.

    ChrisPigeon,

    "SA probably wont have a spinner, they are much better batsman than bowlers"

    --------------------------------------

    Morkel, Steyn, Ntini and Nel make up a pretty strong bowling attack for me.

    Much as I'm delighted about the win over NZ, I really don't think this team will be strong enough to beat SA.

    The batting is too fragile and I worry about the reliance on 4 bowlers, particularly as Anderson is yet to answer the question of his inconsistency.

    I would be looking very closely at the forthcoming ODI's for form of the other potential batsman with possibly one from Bopara or Shah (or maybe Key) replacing Collingwood, Bell or Cook.

    Flintoff should be brought back in for balance and I would closely monitor the form of Hoggard and Jones compared to those in-situ - and, dare I say it, Harmison.

    Seriously, a Harmison in form and firing would add a different dimension.

  • Comment number 52.

    Fair point Jobyfox, their bowling may be stronger than I thought, tho' I've always stubbornly refused to rate Ntini, despite all his wickets! Point remains tho', that their attack may be a bit one-dimensional with no spin, and no more than "pretty strong".

    Anyway, all this comes out of me playing devils' advocate, I actually agree that SA are superior to us, and that Flintoff (if fit) at six gives us too fragile a batting line-up. In fact, you'll see from my other comments that I agree with pretty much everything you say! Should be good viewing tho', being the underdogs after the last 2 series. Lets just hope we put up a good fight and keep it close. We may just nick them at the end...

  • Comment number 53.

    capricornfrettchen - If it was Twenty20 to blame, then England - NZ series wouldn't have been consisting of three matches for years - the last series with more than three was 1983.

    As for "why don't NZ get a full Test series" - because South Africa are also touring this summer, and they're better. To be blunt, If there was going to be an extra Test match fitted in to the English summer, it would be a fifth England vs SA match. Also far more series between countries are 3 match series rather than 4 or 5.

  • Comment number 54.

    Yes ChrisPigeon agreed.

    Flintoff at six: and the batting looks even weaker than it is already.

    You could argue that Flintoff should replace Broad (better bowler at present and, form permitting, better batsman), but would you trust him in a four man attack.

    The other option is Flintoff at seven and that elusive wicketkeeper batsman at six - although Ambrose did ok last test.

  • Comment number 55.

    ChrisPidgeon - "one dimensional"

    yeah, one-demensionally GOOD!

    Steyn bowls close to the stumps and sends down just-short-of-a-length corridor stuff very quickly. Ntini bowls wide of the crease away swingers - "the hardest ball to face for a right hander" - and then suddenly you find the straight one in your jaw or on your toe. he is a clever bowler who thinks batsmen out. Morkel is tall, athletic and highly-rated...he'll get lift and movement. Kallis could swing a snooker ball and is very accurate and experienced and still up around 85mph.

    they seem one dimensional but so what? it's relentless. where's the respite in that bowling attack? where's the friendly mid-70mph bowler a la hoggard or colly?

    paul harris should not be underestimated either. he's tall and he actually gives it a rip and has a good arm ball. warne rates him as the best orthodox offy since tim may.

    does anyone else wish KP would take his bowling a bit more seriously? i think he could be good.

  • Comment number 56.

    Anyone want to put a score on Stewarts blogs, which are as bland as his radio commentary...2/10

    ...therefore on a par with Collingwood and Bells batting performances.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hoggard is NOT mid-70s, he is mid-80s. Kallis on the other hand is er....mid-70s

  • Comment number 58.

    As for the Fred debate,the answer is easy. The one England player who is not test class, regardless of excellent fielding and endeavour, is Collingwood. So replace him with Bopara, who is then your 4th seamer and 5th bowler. Fred comes in for Broad. Broad goes and develops in county cricket and returns when one of the seamers is injured or off form. So that's Anderson out and Broad back in for the 2nd test. Harmison will be back in by the end of the series too, you maark ma words (SA accent).

    Happy days!

  • Comment number 59.

    ian bell and paul collingwood are havin a nightmare at the moment. wait until the end of the odis and if the form is still not there then perhaps two series out of international and time to regain here best form with the bat in county cricket. i think if this england bowling attack takes a thumping from the south africans then h selectors will have to question themselves and bring in some newfaces. or old faces. simon jonesseem to be doig very well at the moment and bringin him back in will be the best thing england could do when there own seam attack is failing. bring prior in as a batsmen and flintoff as an all rounder if colly and bellys poor form continues. likewise alistair cook, although im a fan of his i thinjut a little time to fnd some form could do him good. he will ake buckets of runs wen bak to his best.

  • Comment number 60.

    It is fantastic that we can have so many choices with the England team due to our strength in depth. However, the likes of Bopara and Shah must wonder what they have to do to get a chance in the team, and vice versa, it is hard to see what more Bell and Collie could do to get dropped!
    Collie won't be dropped as he is the One day captain, and his fielding/catching is crucial. Strauss's absence in Sri Lanka proved how vital this area is.
    England are managing with a 4 man attack at the moment due to the weakness of the opposition, but need more options if we want to compete with South Africa/Australia. Thus talk of dropping Broad for Freddie is irrelevant as we need both, especially if Jimmy crumbles when the going gets tough. Broady's batting has been a revelation, especially as he has done the work often in tricky situations. Bell has rarely scored the tough runs, pretty as he may be, and has had far too many chances.
    By the way, which twit decided that Old Trafford and Trent Bridge weren't the places for Ashes tests? They clearly suit our bowlers, and we need to capitalise on our home advantage as much as we can. My soul can't bear another 5-0.

  • Comment number 61.

    My ratings for the ENG-NZL 3 match series on a scale of (0-100) are:

    England:

    (1) Andrew Strauss (100) (2) JM Anderson (100) (3) RJ Sidebottom (87) (4) Stuart Broad (78) (5) MP Vaughan (70) (6) Kevin Pietersen (69) (7) AN Cook (44) (8) MS Panesar (41) (9) TR Ambrose (38) (10) PD Collingwood (19) (11) Ian Bell (18).

    New Zealand:

    (1) JDP Oram (94) (2) LRPL Taylor (91) (3) BB McCullum (76) (4) DL Vettori (75) (5) JM How (74) (6) KD Mills (54) (7) IE O'Brien (40) (8) DR Flynn (36) (9) JAH Marshall (19) (10) CS Martin (19) (11) AJ Redmond (18) (12) GJ Hopkins (13) (13) TG Southee (1).

  • Comment number 62.

    Stewie, Vaughan only 5 ? Good runs, and probably the most astute current test captain, particularly now Fleming has moved on.
    These performances v NZ need to be in context - no Fleming, Bond or Styris. I am fearful for SA series on maturity and toughness. Bell, whilst technically competent, like Ramps and Hick before, has not got tough runs in him, need to look forward and groom a youngster through the one day side as Oz do - it certainly sorts out the mental side. Anderson is great or rubbish, no consistency, if picked in a 4 man attack some cover needed somehow, or again is it mental toughness ? However with Freddie and Jonah maybe on the way back, build Anderson's self esteem, and you're talking, with Hoggie as back up. Harmie again seems lacking mentally. Cheers.

 

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