66 thoughts on “The Squad

  1. keyserchris Nov 19, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    Can’t fathom the following:

    Bell being dropped, with Ballance selected as the backup middle order bat. Presume it means Taylor starts (which is not a bad thing in itself), but why get rid of Bells experience?

    Jordan & Woakes getting in ahead of Plunkett when Finn & Wood are injured. Barmy

    Patel ahead of Rashid? Yet more head-scratching on the spin front. Sigh.

    On the flipside, glad Compton & Hales are being looked at for opening. Suspect it’ll be Compton though, with Hales as a spare wheel again. Wonder if the thought of moving Cook to 3 is being slowly considered?


    • andycronk Nov 19, 2015 / 12:13 pm

      I think Compton may be put in at 3. The MSM have announced Hales as the new opener, therefore it must be so.

      Shame about Bell, but not a surprise as his decline has been slow but steady.

      Taylor needs to be given a run, and I think he will end up at number 3 within the year.

      If Woakes is the answer, the question is ‘who shouldn’t be anywhere near the test team’. Good ODI bowler but not quick enough for good test batsmen. Another ‘bits and pieces’ player who reminds me a bit of Ealham and Irani (not in style, in getting picked for being quite good at both batting and bowling without being good enough at either to get picked).

      Rashid, I sort of understand their reasoning in allowing him to play big-bash cricket, however neither Ali or Patel are proper spinners and I would have picked him for the foreseeable future in the Test Team, he won’t improve in 5-day cricket playing T20. Ali’s wickets against India are looking further and further away and should be held in context of a team that appeared to give up, I don’t think he has got a ‘proper’ spinners wicket in a year, just wickets from mis-timed hoiks. I like his batting but he isn’t one of our top 6 batsman, and he isn’t a good enough spinner.

      Patel is just an ‘Ali-lite’ a batsman that can spin the ball.

      I missed that Plunkett was dropped, is Footitt quick LCL??

      A curates egg of a selection.


      • OscarDaBosca Nov 19, 2015 / 12:15 pm

        For some reason my real name (instead of OscarDaBosca) is now being used. I have reverted for this comment, but going forward I may let the cookies decide for me!


    • jennyah46 Nov 19, 2015 / 7:13 pm

      Cook at 3? Never. The sun will shine at midnight over England before that happens.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Tony Bennett Nov 19, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    I’m delighted that Compton is recalled, given that he should never have been dropped in the first place. I’m also incredibly surprised, more so than at the omission of Bell. He hasn’t been contributing enough, and I think it’s a fair call, despite the outcome meaning a loss of experience for such a tough tour.

    I’m also pretty amazed that Samit has managed to hang on to a place. I can’t see him playing in the Test XI. As for the seamers, the squad seems a bit short of proper pace. Is Woakes the fastest bowler included? It seems a big gamble taking Footitt. While I welcome the presence of a left-armer, he has zero Test experience (albeit the same as any other left-armer candidates!). I would have had Plunkett in there for his pace and aggression, and useful lower-order runs, although the latter won’t be in short supply with Ali at 8 and presumably Woakes at 9.


  3. keyserchris Nov 19, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    One piece of good news: Ed Smith has been dropped from the TMS team for the tour…

    Liked by 2 people

    • jennyah46 Nov 19, 2015 / 7:20 pm

      Oh brilliant news.

      It’s been so pleasant without him. Enjoyed the ODI commentary very much. I would also include Vaughan in that. He has interesting things to say at times but is irritating beyond words.


    • emasl Nov 19, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      Calloo callay O frabjous day she chortled in her joy

      Liked by 1 person

    • Trevor Nov 19, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      Problem is Blofeld is there


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 20, 2015 / 9:11 am

        The message isn’t getting through. But he’s part of the fabric I suppose.


    • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 9:58 am

      Might give him an opportunity to author a tome on early redundancy in sports media.


  4. Arron Wright Nov 19, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    As someone who played two outstanding innings last time England were in SA, Ian Bell should have been given this series. We now have a batting line-up in which one man has played them 11 times (4 away) and two other men three times between them (none away).

    (Ah, and I’ve just seen that his favourite batting partner has had something to say on the subject…)

    Compton’s recall is a year and a half late. At least.

    The appeal of Chris Jordan over Plunkett – in the absence of Finn and Wood – mystifies me.

    Has Ballance really earned a recall? At three? Against proper pace?

    Samit Patel. Oh go away.

    Finally, the extent of the delusional claptrap about SA’s poor batting form has managed to astound even me. *How* parochial are these people? Amazing. ENGLAND HAVEN’T WON A SERIES AWAY IN THREE YEARS, FFS, and on the one occasion they won in SA since re-admission, they had just about the best side I’ve seen them put out, perfectly balanced between bat and ball, and six – six! – of them played out of their skins. And SA are no.1, by a distance, for a reason.

    “Lots of luck, gentlemen”, as Harvey Keitel once said.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tony Bennett Nov 19, 2015 / 12:24 pm

      Ballance has done nothing to earn a recall. It is a strange selection. I hope they don’t propose that he bats at 3.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 19, 2015 / 1:41 pm

      No. Sniff at people still mentioning Pietersen, point out south Africa in Mohali and bobs your uncle.


    • jennyah46 Nov 19, 2015 / 7:23 pm

      Pretty good Aaron!


  5. Arron Wright Nov 19, 2015 / 12:25 pm

    No further questions, m’lord Justice Cantley-Caulfield.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 19, 2015 / 1:39 pm

      Cook averaged more than Bell. Of course 2013 was a long time ago and Hashim Amla is finished too.


    • Tregaskis Nov 19, 2015 / 2:43 pm

      Wonderful execution of #Rootmaths by Selvey there.


      • emasl Nov 19, 2015 / 8:39 pm

        Gawd how I loathe Selvey


  6. Ian Nov 19, 2015 / 12:27 pm

    Ballance was being briefed against at the end of the summer saying he wouldn’t work on technical faults. Does that mean he is now or was that an unreliable leak?


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 19, 2015 / 1:38 pm

      He may have done what they said. It can be the only logical reason to bring him back. This is the same lot who brought back Jonathan Trott to open, though so not hopeful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jennyah46 Nov 19, 2015 / 8:04 pm

        You are depressing me even more!


  7. Ian Nov 19, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    I wouldn’t have dropped Bell myself but think if the batting lineup is Cook, Hales, Compton, Root, Taylor, Stokes, Bairstow, Ali then it looks better than it has for a while.


    • SimonH Nov 19, 2015 / 1:34 pm

      Really Ian? In terms of actual achievement it looks –

      Hales – debut
      Compton – 31.9
      Taylor – 25.2
      Stokes – 28.6
      Bairstow – 26.4
      Ali – 27.8

      Of course it could be argued some of those figures are misleading for various reasons but there’s a lot of ‘ifs and maybes’ about the selection.

      How long before we cries of “but they’re inexperienced….”? They’ve chosen to leave out two players with 200+ Test caps between them.


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 19, 2015 / 1:36 pm

        In all honesty it screams out that the talent pool is shallow. Lots of decent players but none that demand selection. Looks like a while fiddling around hoping for the best.


      • Ian Nov 19, 2015 / 1:51 pm

        Fair enough the stats don’t look good but this is what we have.

        Ok well Hales is a bit of a risk but think he will do better than Ali and better than Lyth. Compton at 3 seems solid to me. It’s about time Taylor had a run in the team and I would expect his average to start climbing. Stokes not sure on and I think Bairstow is a better bet at 7 than Buttler at present. Ali back to 8 he played alright there in the summer..


  8. jomesy Nov 19, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    Has Stuart Lancaster been brought in as an ECB selector since his mutually agreed departure from RFU?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. SimonH Nov 19, 2015 / 1:38 pm

    It’s curious the press were so unanimously wrong in yesterday’s pre-tour predictions. I don’t think anyone predicted Bell or Footitt. Only Newman got wind of Compton and Patel late last night.

    Whoever was the driving force behind the Bell decision is more watertight than a duck’s ****.


  10. Andy Nov 19, 2015 / 1:46 pm

    glad compton is getting another go, and hopefully with a Coach who can help him rather than make him freeze up. I hope it is not at teh expense of Hales though as I would like to see him get some time (but then it would have made sense to try him in UAE, as opposed to retrying Ali)

    Surprised Bell is out and Ballance (Gary Ballance) is in. I’ve not heard about Ballance working out his flaws and Bell brings alot of experience – but then you have to go sometime and he hasn’t really been firing lately.

    Samit seems an odd one – Brings to mind Ravi Bopara.

    Buttler is there so I assume will be keeping. Hope the ODI / t20 stuff allows him to do what he does naturally and then he is encouraged to do that in tests as an attacking option, otherwise he just seems to bog down.

    That batting really doesn’t have much experience through it if things need digging out though…


  11. hatmallet Nov 19, 2015 / 2:11 pm

    Some surprising decisions. A pleasant surprise to see Compton back but wasn’t at all expecting Bell to be dropped, nor Plunkett.

    Rashid I can understand, the press release stresses that he would be in the squad but they wanted to send him to the BBL ahead of the World T20.


  12. "IronBalls" McGinty Nov 19, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Well, the only piece of news that cheered me up in all this is that Ed Smith has been dropped from TMS. His mind numbing condescention is utterly grating. Hope it was Boycott that had a hand in booting him out?

    Liked by 2 people

    • SteveT Nov 19, 2015 / 3:08 pm

      It’ll give him more time to write even more mind-numbing articles!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ian Nov 19, 2015 / 3:22 pm

        I could be wrong but think it is more rotation than him being booted out as Blowers is going instead of him.


  13. SimonH Nov 19, 2015 / 3:22 pm

    The assumption is that it’s between Ballance and Compton at No.3.

    Here’s an alternative:
    Hales gets one warm-up innings and doesn’t make a score. ‘Good journalists’ start mentioning the Compton “really wants it” and Ballance is “looking good in the nets”.

    Durban rolls around and it’s Cook, Compton, Ballance…..

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Mark Nov 19, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    So when they said…..”there are no vacancies” they lied? Doesn’t matter if it’s middle order vacancies or top order vacancies, they lied.

    We now have had the recall of Bairstow, Taylor, Compton and Balance. No vacancies? They lied.

    Of course there is one person who will not be recalled and we all know who that is. But it is not because there are no vacancies as previously claimed, but because the people who run English cricket are incabaple of telling the the truth. Instead they have concocted one lie after another to do anything than admit the real reason.

    This selection has confirmed what we always claimed.

    Not surprised about Bell, as he has been on a slide for a while. He obviously considered going after the summer. I wonder if he was persuaded to stay on just for the Pakistan tour? Now, instead of retiring with some dignity, he has been ceremonially dumped. Par for the course for this regime.

    As to the media darlings not getting the true story on this selection perhaps even the ECB has woken up to the embarrassment of the daily leaks to their chums. Or maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors.

    Liked by 2 people

    • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 10:09 am

      I’m beginning to have trust issues with the ECB.


  15. SimonH Nov 19, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    Guess who on Bell’s batting average:

    “mitigated, as are all England players, by playing half their games in more bowler-friendly conditions”.

    Strange how that never seems to work in reverse when he is considering England’s bowlers…..


    • SimonH Nov 19, 2015 / 3:49 pm

      …. or how he can’t even be bothered to check his prejudices against the evidence.

      Batting averages in the last decade:


      England is in the middle for batting averages, lower than Asia or Oceania but higher than West Indies or SA. SA has the lowest batting average – so how good do the records of Kallis, ABDV, and Amla look now?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Nov 19, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      Never above a sweeping generalisation when it suits him, eh? Guess he should now prostrate himself at the feet of Steven Smith after those bowler-friendly hundreds at Lord’s and The Oval 2015 then…


      • SimonH Nov 20, 2015 / 8:30 am

        You know what he’s warming up for, don’t you?



      • Arron Wright Nov 20, 2015 / 8:42 am


        If you’re a middle-order stroke player you get criticised for allowing your average to dip from 50 to 44 “after the IPL” (disregarding all other extenuating circumstances), even though it ends up the highest for your country in 34 years.


  16. Andy Nov 19, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    According to the BBC article, Bell told strauss that he wants to fight for his place, however Agnew (who else with the inside news…) believes that ‘at 33 his time may be over’.

    Later it says Compton is 32 – if he is just coming in, then surely Bell can’t be written off completely at just 1 year older.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amit Nov 20, 2015 / 5:20 am

      Cook is 31 and so by english definition, on the wrong side of 30. Only Gooch seems to have survived that long in recent memory. I wonder what if Cook fails all through the series. Will they drop him too?


      • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 10:12 am

        Only if it coincides with a cold snap in Hell.


      • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 10:12 am



  17. man in a barrel Nov 19, 2015 / 5:24 pm

    I would imagine that Compton has serious trust issues with the English set-up. Have the medical staff changed? Have they perhaps appointed someone with any medical competence? They were the people who put out the rumours about Compton not wanting to field when he thought he had a cracked rib. And it was Mr Cook and the wonderful guys in the dressing-room who piled in.


  18. SimonH Nov 19, 2015 / 5:27 pm

    Let’s compare the two probable middle orders (Nos. 3-5):

    210 Tests
    16086 Test runs
    48 Test centuries

    47 Tests
    3625 Test runs
    10 Test centuries (3 abroad, 0 in SA)


    • amit Nov 20, 2015 / 5:21 am

      Selvey has had a habit of making himself look like a fool with stats. Hasn’t he?


      • Arron Wright Nov 20, 2015 / 6:19 am

        He thought someone’s (no prizes etc) 43 was worth a hundred in the same innings where Root actually made 130 and Bairstow 74.

        So yes.

        Those stats on averages were mysteriously not given an airing when someone else (no prizes etc) was similarly out of form. Let alone the pompous “might like to consider”, when there are people out there with a far better grasp of statistics.

        Liked by 1 person

    • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 10:13 am



  19. emasl Nov 19, 2015 / 8:35 pm

    Compton must feel Christmas has ome early. I can only assume that Bayliss took a tough line with Cookie baby who I gather is not enamoured. Wo der if he will open with the Golden Boy?


    • Tony Bennett Nov 19, 2015 / 9:12 pm

      May be the best thing Bayliss has done so far. I would see Compton at 3, especially against the moving ball in SA, Hales will get a few goes at opening.


  20. Escort Nov 19, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    Anybody else watching the KP documentary at the moment?


    • Zephirine Nov 20, 2015 / 12:03 am

      Just watched it now. Nothing new, but no harm in saying it all again. His wife’s nice, I loved her story about buying Bluff Your Way in Cricket so she’d know what to say.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Nov 20, 2015 / 9:13 am

        Pretty much agree. Nothing there to shock those who have followed the story. Still he favourited one of my tweets last night so I’m happy!

        Not seen the negative tweets I expected. A few but not a lot.


  21. jennyah46 Nov 19, 2015 / 11:25 pm

    Yeah. Watched it. Underwhelmed.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. pktroll (@pktroll) Nov 20, 2015 / 3:04 am

    I’ve been travelling so I hadn’t had the chance to have a look at the squad until now. Mixed feelings over this squad. Pleased to see the return of Compton overall, but many others leave me a little cold.

    Ballance – unless he bats at no5 I think it could be a disasterous return. Some folk on other forums are saying his issue was against left arm quicks but the truth to me seemed more that he hadn’t had any lengthy examination against top class fast bowling before the last summer. When he finally countenanced it (apart from his debut at Sydney) he was found wanting. Perhaps his technique will be less exposed in the middle but I wouldn’t put money on it either.

    Patel – surely he must be a backup if Mo Ali has a couple of dreadful tests, but even so I don’t see what he brings with either bat or ball.

    Bell’s dropping – he should probably been left out of the UAE tour to recharge as his record against good spin away from home has never been that of a remotely top class player. His record against good pace is far more promising.

    The best order I think available to England is;-

    Root (think they should stick him at 3)

    The issue is with the bowling. I think with the loss of Wood/Finn a promising pace lineup looks a lot weaker with too much emphasis on Anderson and Broad to work the oracle.

    So I would go

    . I feel a little cold about the inclusion of Jordan in the squad as I just don’t think he offers enough as a test bowler and to be honest feel similar about Woakes too. Perhaps Fottitt may get a go but according to Simon Jones, he doesn’t do enough with the ball and isn’t that accurate.

    A lot of talk about a weak SA batting lineup without Smith and Kallis and that is understandable. However too much focus is on inexperienced batsmen struggling away to spin in Asia. They aren’t going to get that in conditions to their liking so it is rather irrelevant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 10:36 am

      I dig your line-up.


  23. SimonH Nov 20, 2015 / 9:57 am

    Stupid cliche? Unlike such eternal pillars of wisdom as “incredible mental strength”, “credit in the bank” and “there is no alternative” I suppose….


    • MM Nov 20, 2015 / 10:39 am

      Can’t he just say ‘cliche’? Does he have to say ‘stupid’? Can’t someone be permanently classy?



      • LordCanisLupus Nov 20, 2015 / 12:23 pm

        Love that in his Guardian piece he says that Bell was “rarely at his best at three”. He averaged more at six. He averaged less, albeit marginally, at 4 and 5. His career best came at 3 (235). He didn’t need to say that for his piece. But he did.


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