And Another One Gone…

It is now just two weeks until the men’s Ashes begins, and it’s fair to say that things aren’t going to plan for England. In fact, it’s hard to see any realistic scenario in which things could be worse for the tourists.

This morning Jake Ball apparently suffered an ankle strain whilst bowling, the latest bowling casualty before the series even begins. Wood, Roland-Jones and Finn are all unavailable, as of course is Ben Stokes for an entirely different reason. Moeen Ali is expected to be fit in time for the first game, but the way England’s luck is going you’d be a fool to guarantee that.

None of these players are on their own irreplaceable (even Stokes), but having 5 fast bowlers with international experience all missing at the same time would tax any country’s reserves. Tom Curran is already travelling to Australia to replace Finn in the squad, and it seems likely another bowler will be called up to join him. There are no obvious substitutes waiting in the wings for England, who already have three uncapped bowlers in their squad.

Liam Plunkett, perhaps the first thought for most people who follow the England team, has apparently been focussing on playing limited overs cricket this summer. His most recent Test match was against India in 2014, and he only played 2 championship games this season. The only other fast bowler with international experience who might be available is Chris Jordan, but with an average of 32.83 in Division 2 this summer he isn’t knocking the door down.

The more likely alternative is another uncapped bowler. Saqib Mahmood and Tom Helm are the two fast bowlers in the Lions squad which will be touring Australia this winter, but neither has much first class experience to draw on. For all of the candidates, I feel massively underqualified to judge them as I don’t follow county cricket very closely. Whoever is selected, it’s a tough ask for such an inexperienced bowling attack to do well in Australia.

The performance of the current bowling attack today against Cricket Australia XI hardly filled me with optimism about the upcoming series either. After taking 5 wickets in the first 33 overs of the innings, England then seemed unable to dismiss the tail with an older ball. I don’t think it bodes well for when England have to face the full Australian side, although of course Broad was not playing in this game.

All of which doom and gloom leads me to England’s batting. Stoneman, Vince and Malan have all had very good tours so far, but it’s hard to look past their performances this summer when guessing how they will play against Australia. Meanwhile, Cook is currently averaging 8.00 on this tour and Root has been good but not great. With Stokes almost certain to be replaced by a bowler, England have much less margin for error from their specialist batsmen than they have enjoyed in recent times.

One point I noted about England’s batting yesterday was how much trouble they had against Australian legspinner Daniel Fallins in his debut first class game. He finished with figures of 5-73, and if he can manage something similar in the second innings then perhaps Australia might be tempted to call Mitchell Swepson or another legspinner into their squad. England’s failings against spin have been clearly evident in recent years, and Nathan Lyon is no doubt looking forward to facing them.

At least the fielding seems pretty good though. That’s something to hold on to.

As a sidenote, BT Sport have been showing the game against Cricket Australia XI for free on their Facebook page, as well as the women’s Ashes Test on their Youtube channel. Free English cricket is so rare nowadays, please enjoy it while you can.

As always, comments are welcome below. If you can give me some small scrap of hope about England’s chances this winter, that would be especially welcome.

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72 thoughts on “And Another One Gone…

  1. Levi Boorer November 9, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    Another positive is Woakes who managed to get some movement with the ball and runs on the board. If England choose 3 out and out seamers in Anderson, Broad and Overton/Ball, Woakes and Moeen would give the side a good balance and give the 2 main bowlers some respite. Worth noting that the leg spin dismissals seem more a result of boredom than genuine guile by the bowlers, these games are a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. It does pose a question about what level of skill England would want to face, 2010 was a fantastic lead up with 3 very competitive games. Don’t lose hope, we have 4 players that can win test matches in a session.

    Like

    • dannycricket November 9, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Yeah, England’s allrounders are pretty much what I’m holding onto at the moment. It’s a great strength for England right now.

      Like

    • Mark November 9, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      Which are the 4 players? I take it one is Broad who has had amazing spells in the past, but usually when at home. Anderson, I guess is another. Again he has not been very dynamic in Australia. I can’t think of an Anderson session in Aus that has won a test match.

      I can’t think of any batsman who can win a test match in just one session. Not trying to be obtuse, but, I am not that optimistic I’m afraid. As to 2010/11 I completely ignore that series as it was probably the worst Australian side I have seen in nearly 45years. Even the side they put out in the Packer years was better than that one.

      Not that it wasn’t very funny watching the Aussies getting hammered on their own patch. But way too much has been put on that series as a blue print for England. If the Aussie quicks bowl like Johnson did in 2011 than we will have a great chance.

      Like

      • man in a barrel November 10, 2017 / 12:26 am

        KD Walters did that in 74 /75 not even Underwood and Titmus could tie him up

        Like

  2. Deep Purple Fred November 9, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    I wonder if anyone can offer ,insight into the correlation between performance in warmups vs performance in the series? We all know failure to perform brilliantly in warmups is not of great import, they’re there as glorified practice sessions really, but surely they’re not totally irrelevant to the actual series performance.

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    • dannycricket November 9, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      It feels like it would be impossible to work out statistically, since the opposition can be anyone from the local school to the champion first class team. I suppose I might be placing too much on the game’s importance when I look at how England are playing. It’s just that I’d expect a Test team to dominate such an inexperienced Australian XI, and for whatever reasons they aren’t.

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      • thelegglance November 9, 2017 / 9:24 pm

        I do vaguely remember the 86/87 side having catastrophic warm ups. Wasn’t that why the can’t bat, can’t bowl can’t field stuff made sense?

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        • dannycricket November 9, 2017 / 9:28 pm

          Yeah, according to Wikipedia, England had lost 14 consecutive games until they won the second warmup in Australia, and they only escaped the third warmup with a draw due to rain.

          I guess this means that England are going to win the series easily. Don’t know why I was so worried.

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        • Mark November 9, 2017 / 10:13 pm

          It was a throw a way line by Martin Johnson in The Independent. (A guy who wrote some very funny pieces about English cricket) It followed some very poor warm up games.

          Those were the days when the English media didn’t take their talking points from The ECB and could make jokes. It backfired on him because Englamd played well in the tests. Maybe he helped by firing the players up? These days it’s either hero worship or cold shoulder.

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          • man in a barrel November 10, 2017 / 12:52 am

            A team with Botham and Gower should not be easily discounted. The fact that Broad, Gatting and everyone else played well does not help. But Australia have Warner and Smith to combat Cook and Root. Starc versus Anderson. Broad will last 2 Tests. I make it 2-1 to Australia. Two poor sides

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          • SimonH November 10, 2017 / 9:06 am

            “Broad will last 2 Tests”.

            There must be concerns about him when he was apparently the poorest bowler in the first warm-up match, they have all these injuries in the squad and he still isn’t playing in the second warm-up match. Of course he didn’t play any CC after the last Test because of a foot injury.

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      • Deep Purple Fred November 10, 2017 / 7:56 am

        I suppose you’re right Danny, too many variables to draw any conclusions. I’m pretty sure the champion Australian teams of the past had some poor warmups too. But you would prefer to see your team swatting aside the second rate opposition at this point, which England is struggling to do. Giving the medical staff a good work out though!

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  3. Mark November 9, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Perhaps all these injuries are a way of getting Stokes back in the side as quick as possible?

    This should be a joke, but my cynicism about England know no bounds.

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    • dannycricket November 9, 2017 / 10:18 pm

      England’s bowling injuries do make it more likely that Stokes will join the squad at the first opportunity if he isn’t charged, I think.

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  4. man in a barrel November 9, 2017 / 11:56 pm

    So… Are the convicts’ Bill asking our Plods to stumble around and waste some time before bringing charges? Large amounts of money are in play here. Even though Stokes is at best a marginal player. If 2 teams are equal, he might make a difference. Marginal in the true sense

    Like

  5. quebecer November 10, 2017 / 2:45 am

    Oh and how we all loved to point out how it was the Aussie quicks who were always injured.

    Right. Scraps of hope. Here we go.

    Yep.

    Aaaany second now.

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    • quebecer November 10, 2017 / 2:52 am

      Oh stop being such a misery, quebecer.

      Malan and Stoneman have been working hard for years for this, and deserve a bit of belief. Both of there games suit the conditions, after all. So what if Ali does come back completely out of touch for the 1st test? Woakes will have had some time in the middle and Overton and Curran are no mugs with the bat either. Plus, that Curran lad has some moxy to him – as, I think, does Mason Crane, btw. And it looks like Jimmy is getting some reverse, and that is hugely important. If we can get movement with the old ball, we might be able to show the fragility in their batting line up.

      Plus, this is sport. We don’t know whats going to happen. That’s why we play.

      That’s all I’ve got.

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      • metatone November 10, 2017 / 8:27 am

        Great attempt. The bowling tho… so hard to believe…

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      • Deep Purple Fred November 10, 2017 / 8:30 am

        That’s all you got? Not much, is it?

        I wanted to help you out so I did a bit of research on these new young guys. I got off to a bad start, because it turns out neither of them are quite so young, best case scenario is a few years service from them, at best.

        Not sure about Stoneman, but I persevered and I think I’ve got something encouraging! Malan was educated at Paarl Boys High School and made his first class debut in South Africa. Yes, England has been able to draw on the colonial network once more! Excellent pedigree, he should be fine in Australia.

        Of course, Curren has quite the Antipodean pedigree too. I enjoyed his cricinfo profile where his coach says he’s “like Steyn, although not as fast”.

        Also, Collingwood can always step in again if needed. He’s done well in Australia in the past.

        There’s hope yet!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Deep Purple Fred November 10, 2017 / 12:46 pm

        See, things are looking up already, you rolled the schoolboys today!

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        • quebecer November 10, 2017 / 3:24 pm

          Malan has been on the radar of a few of us for a while. Gary Naylor and I (and someone from this blog although I can’t remember who) all happened to be at a game at the Oval some years ago for a Middlesex T20. Middlesex were in deep trouble and some 20 year old I’d never heard of strode out and proceeded to hit one of the most remarkable centuries I’ve ever seen. The sheer quality of his shots caliber of his hitting was astounding for such a young player. The fact that he was English (kind of, a bit) was very exciting.

          He did well enough in his first few seasons but fell in to a really poor stretch that lasted, well, years. I remember reading how he was struggling, and almost despairing. But his reaction was to work hard, buckle down, get through it, and get better. So, no, not a young pup really. Stoneman and Malan are similar in they have been through the mill a little, and worked hard at their own games to work out why they weren’t having the success they wanted and come up with their own solutions for their own games.

          I’ve a lot of respect for that kind of thing. It’s quite like the path someone like Jonathan Trott took to the test team.

          Vince is a different thing, however, and has his place on being liked by Andy Flower rather than having earned it through any domestic performances. My money would be on Malan and Stoneman being better suited to what they’ll face in this series.

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          • Deep Purple Fred November 10, 2017 / 11:37 pm

            Oh good shot sir, played with the straightest of bats. Ignore that chirping.

            OK, I’ll take it seriously. And yes, I too respect that sort of effort.
            Hussey was along the same lines. I don’t read sports autobiographies, but I read his, and I wish I hadn’t, it was so agonising. What these guys go through and put themselves through is beyond most of us.

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  6. Sri. Grins November 10, 2017 / 4:53 am

    England should win 3-2 or 3-1.

    I hope it brings Q and Danny enough hope.

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    • oreston November 10, 2017 / 7:30 am

      Well they’ve just collapsed from 79-1 to 124-7 in their warm-up game. I’d love to learn more about the basis for your optimism!

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      • dannycricket November 10, 2017 / 7:38 am

        Right now it’s presumably that England had a terrible leadup to the 86/87 Ashes and won them. Warmup games don’t really count for anything, but it’s not very promising…

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        • oreston November 10, 2017 / 8:08 am

          …and this is at Adelaide – about as close as they’re going to get to familiar conditions.
          I don’t think they’ll lose this game, and maybe Jimmy will prosper in the CA XI second innings if the weather stays as it is, but the batting looks as fragile as ever.

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          • pktroll (@pktroll) November 10, 2017 / 9:58 am

            I know I may be stating the bleedin’ obvious here but messrs Starc, Hazelwood and Cummins only need to stay fit and it will be a very comfortable win. Can’t see Cook prospering against that pace attack, let alone a few more inexperienced folk. Joe Root needs to get out of the habit of his pretty little fifties too, although much of the criticism in the press has been meted out to Stoneman, who has tended to dig in more before getting out so far on this tour.

            Liked by 1 person

          • SimonH November 10, 2017 / 3:08 pm

            In all the talk of the Aussie attack, the last two Tests at the Gabba might be worth bearing in mind. Last year, Pakistan came within 39 runs of chasing down nearly 500. The year before Williamson made 140 for NZ. On both occasions, Australia had the same attack England are likely to face, except Cummins. It’s not impossible to score runs off them. Australia won both games more because they made huge scores and very quickly.

            England might be presented with a spicier pitch of course – but recent Gabba history hasn’t been the Australian attack blasting the opposition out for next to nothing.

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        • Sri.Grins November 10, 2017 / 12:38 pm

          No. I base my optimism on a great Root, backed by good (Cook, Bairstow, Moeen) further backed up by a good tail end batters. Bowling in the hands of Broad, Anderson, Woakes is quite good.

          It is interesting to see the pessimism expressed and maybe it is a combination of reversejinxing plus playing safe. 🙂

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          • Mark November 10, 2017 / 2:35 pm

            If England can cope with the Aussie fast bowlers then they have a chance. But England allowed the Aussies to score a lot of runs 4 years ago despite knocking over their top order. The trouble is there isn’t the swing and movement after the first 15/20 overs. Our bowlers are very good in certain conditions.

            I also think there their spinner will play a big role. England will look to get after him, if they can survive the pace attack. He is underrated and has caused England trouble before.

            If England can get runs on the board then they have a shot, but I hadn’t seen much in the last year to suggest they have a lot of runs in the team.

            I admire your optimism though!

            Liked by 2 people

      • Sri.Grins November 10, 2017 / 12:30 pm

        the scoreboard should answer that. England collapsed to 203 but the opponents are 70/7 🙂

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        • oreston November 10, 2017 / 1:17 pm

          Sure, the scoreboard doesn’t lie and the ball is clearly doing a bit. However – and with all due respect to Cricket Australia XI – England should be winning this game and winning it comfortably. The fact that they are doing so is, in the event, entirely down to the bowlers and not the sub-par batting performance. The Australian senior bowling attack is likely to expose England’s batting frailties even more starkly (…no pun intended!) Will England’s bowlers – whichever ones are still fit and available for selection – be able to counterbalance that and expose holes in the Aussie batting? Maybe, but I think Stark, Cummins, Hazelwood and Lyon will just prove too much of a handful on their home turf.

          Liked by 1 person

    • quebecer November 11, 2017 / 4:06 am

      Hi Sri. That’s an awfully nice prediction you put out there, so thanks for that. However…

      Actually, TheHarry over on BTL (the only English voice I fully respect there now) articulated my own thoughts exactly. Before the Stokes thing, I felt our 6-9 of Stokes, Bairstow, Ali, and Woakes were a real difference, and that they would essentially guarantee (well, that’s a bit strong, I admit) us being competitive. Unfortunately, post Stokes stuff, and now with Ali’s injury on top, I feel our only real advantage is gone.

      Much as I desperately want Stoneman and Malan to do OK (and they might), Cook looks awful right now, and he’s never played real pace particularly well. Root has enormous pressure on him with one of the biggest targets on his back imaginable, and I’m concerned there too.
      I thought Ball would be our best bet as fourth seamer, with his height and natural length suiting the conditions, but and ankle ligament damage is no joke for a quick bowler, and that is bad news because I feel just as Ball’s natural length suits the conditions, I feel Overton’s does not.

      We might well have a few players step up and make a name for themselves, but that doesn’t happen often touring Aus (not for English cricketers, anyway), and while the Aussies aren’t a complete side either, without any pessimism influencing or attempts at reverse jinxing, I think your predicted numbers will be the other way around – at best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sri.Grins November 11, 2017 / 8:22 am

        I agree with you that Stokes was a major loss. With Stokes, I would have predicted England to win 4-1 or 3-1. Simply because of his attitude in bowling and ability to change the match with his batting.

        Ali however is fit (as per guardian reports) and will play a part.

        Oz has its own issues bar the bowling which is marginally superior to England’s. I agree that bowling superiority counts but I feel England despite the absence of Stokes will do well because of its strong batting which looks better than Oz. 3-2 / 3-1 is my current assessment based on likely teams.

        Let us see. :-). I expect England to cross 350-400 most innings.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus November 12, 2017 / 8:55 pm

          Have you seen our batting recently? You are much more optimistic than I am.

          Cook had one great tour, but in looking at good pace dominated attacks, his form recently has been a bit duff. Especially Australia (15 tests since his last century) and South Africa (1 century this decade, I think – I know that’s mean as he scored one in the Boxing Day test in 2009). The fact is we need Cook to make big tons. Bloody big tons. Not look wistfully at 2010-11 and say he’s got a good record in Australia. Joe Root, lest we forget, was dropped on the last tour. That happened because he got found out a little, and was a rookie player. Of course, since then he had a super 2015 series. But now he’s a better player, but also the captain. Heaven knows what we will get. People want him at 3, just to make the workload harder! I see a more persuasive case for him being at 5 than 3! After that, it’s pot luck. We think Bairstow and Ali will be fine, if fit. Malan, Stoneman and Vince? Heaven only knows.

          400? I think we might make it once. Twice if we’re lucky. As you can tell SG, I’m not into optimism.

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          • dannycricket November 12, 2017 / 9:00 pm

            I’d be tempted to put a bowler (Curran or Finn) in the top order just to soak up a few overs of the new ball. England’s top order is so shaky right now that they expose the middle order to a new ball and fresh bowlers nearly every game. I certainly wouldn’t put Root at 3 if I could avoid it.

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  7. dannycricket November 10, 2017 / 8:43 am

    In other “news”, Jimmy Anderson has been named vice captain. Now obviously the role of vice captain is almost always pointless and ceremonial, but I can’t say he’d have been my pick. The only times I’ve heard about his leadership are when the “senior bowlers” essentially bullied fielders who dropped chances or misfielded the ball. Not really someone I’d put in a position of power in such a young and inexperienced dressing room.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine November 11, 2017 / 2:11 am

      I think he’s in that position of power anyway. He seemed always to be telling Cook what to do when Cook was supposedly captain and there haven’t been many signs of Root standing up to him. Anderson is hugely influential in that team and, I agree with you, not always to the good.

      Like

  8. Deep Purple Fred November 10, 2017 / 8:58 am

    And in other news, Gayle wants to sell his story on his defamation case to the highest bidder. Why am I not surprised? That headline was pretty much inevitable.

    Like

  9. Miami Dad's 6 November 10, 2017 / 11:09 am

    Woakes strikes for 4, Overton for 2, Anderson picks up 1 – reduce the opposition to 36-7. I suppose, really, England just need Woakes to have a crack head summer – averaging 18 with the ball, 35 with the bat, that sort of thing. Hold your catches, wait for Woakesy to do the rest. Solid, dependable Woakesy.

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  10. AB November 10, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Once the Autumn Internationals are done, I’m cancelling my sky sports subscription. What am I going to miss? Nothing.

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    • LordCanisLupus November 10, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      Isn’t the cricket opinion on Twitter utter fucking nonsense these days? More than ever.

      Like

  11. Scrim November 10, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    What’s a George Garton?

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    • dannycricket November 10, 2017 / 11:33 pm

      One more injury and we may find out.

      Looking at his record, a first class average of 36.47 after only 9 games in Division 2 hardly screams “Test-ready bowler” to me. By way of contrast, Josh Tongue in the Lions squad has a bowling average of 24.72 after 15 games (also in Division 2), whilst Saqib Mahmood is also in the Lions squad with a Division 1 bowling average of 29.00 after 4 games.

      Of course they’re all so young that their records barely tell you anything, but it does seem strange that they keep bypassing the Lions bowlers.

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      • SimonH November 11, 2017 / 1:46 pm

        Garton played for the Lions last season against SA at Worcester (he got better write-ups than figures of 2/90 suggest someone should) and he played for them against SAA (bowling all of 5 overs in 2 matches).

        One might draw certain conclusions that impressing a certain coach counts for more than taking a hatful of D2 wickets (which applies not only to Tongue but Archer of Sussex if he’s eligible) but I couldn’t possibly comment.

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    • quebecer November 11, 2017 / 2:01 am

      I must admit, I was wondering if a George Garton was something like a PrinceAlbert, but it seems he’s a cricketer. Left armer, young, got some pace.

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      • oreston November 11, 2017 / 4:00 am

        “I must admit, I was wondering if a George Garton was something like a Prince Albert…”

        This probably says far more about you than it does about him 🙂

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        • quebecer November 11, 2017 / 4:14 am

          Excuse me, Sir! Are you suggesting I was going to get a George Garton too? The contents of a man’s trousers are his own personal kingdom, and should not be open to speculation even in the infernal information age we now live in. Decency and propriety, Sir, decency and propriety!

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          • oreston November 11, 2017 / 9:51 am

            Methinks ye do protest too much!

            Like

      • Sophie November 11, 2017 / 11:26 am

        You learn so much on these cricket pages.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. oreston November 11, 2017 / 4:10 am

    So the final wicket goes down (Jimmy doing his usual trick down under of keeping his average up by cleaning up the tail…) with the wee rapscallions of Cricket Australia XI skittled out for 75.

    I think we can all rejoice at that news, be assured that everything in the English garden is rosy and that these preparatory skirmishes are putting the team in fine fettle for a famous Ashes victory. Or not…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Deep Purple Fred November 11, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    The last piece of the puzzle falls into place for the Australian men. Elysse Perry will bat at 6, and also provide cover for any fast bowler injuries.

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  14. Scrim November 11, 2017 / 6:04 pm

    Alyssa Healy at 7 as well, very good with the gloves and made a solid 40 odd. c: +Healy b: Starc could be the first great husband-wife combination in test cricket.

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    • Deep Purple Fred November 12, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      She’s Ian’s daughter, right? Generations of Healys tormenting the English, first with the gloves then the microphone.

      Although if we’re raiding the Women”s team for a keeper, might be worth checking if Sarah Taylor has an Australian Grandmother.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rooto November 12, 2017 / 5:40 pm

        I’d take Taylor as keeper in a heartbeat.

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        • dannycricket November 12, 2017 / 7:04 pm

          I’m curious about how good Foakes is as a keeper. Since he hasn’t played for England, I haven’t seen anything of him but he’s supposed to be the best (men’s) keeper in England.

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          • oreston November 12, 2017 / 8:17 pm

            Reputedly the best young (male) keeper in England. Spoken of highly by Alec Stewart (for whatever that’s worth…) First Class average of nearly 42 with the bat, which is better than Vince or Malan – just saying. I’d give him the gloves, slot him in at 7 or 8 and let YJB realise his potential as a specialist batsman at no. 5.

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          • dannycricket November 12, 2017 / 8:19 pm

            Yeah, that would be my pick too. Not that I’ve ever seen him bat or keep, of course.

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          • LordCanisLupus November 12, 2017 / 8:46 pm

            On the rare occasions I’ve seen him he’s been a more than decent, solid bat, who might need to show it next year now we are Kumar-less. As a keeper, you don’t notice him, or I haven’t, which is a pretty good sign of neatness and tidy skills. But I’m not a keeper, whereas our friend TLG is and will give a much better assessment when he sees him.

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          • oreston November 13, 2017 / 2:41 am

            For me it’s simply about strengthening the batting order as a whole. A non-wicket keeping Bairstow at 5 would undoubtedly do that, while Foakes’ first class record demands that he be given the opportunity to prove himself good enough at least at 7 or 8. So if I had anything to do with it 5,6,7 & 8 would be YJB, Moeen, Woakes & Foakes. In a Stokes-less squad that looks to me about as good a lower middle order as we have available (of course with the caveat that Foakes is as yet unproven at that level). This would mean that Malan, Vince and Ballance would all be competing for the ever-troublesome no. 3 berth. Sadly there’s not a lot we can do about that. I know it probably won’t happen… Unless just maybe if things start off really badly and desperation breeds a sudden willingness to try something different by the time we get to the WACA.

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        • LordCanisLupus November 12, 2017 / 8:48 pm

          As has been said, if we were picking a keeper for his glovework, Foster would have a hundred caps. As much as I loathe the Essex so and so.

          BTW, why isn’t Porter being mentioned as a replacement bowler? I don’t care if he isn’t express, he’s had the season of his, and many other’s lives. Sometimes we do overthink this. If he’s injured, please ignore me….

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          • dannycricket November 12, 2017 / 8:56 pm

            You could at least see the logic when we were picking specialist batsmen with substantially better first class records than the specialist keepers, now that’s no longer true there has to be at least an argument that picking Foakes wouldn’t harm the batting strength of the team but would improve the fielding.

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          • LordCanisLupus November 12, 2017 / 9:00 pm

            Is Foakes a test class batsman?

            You only ever find out when you play them at that level. If he isn’t test class, then when you have a test class batsman keeping wicket, you are not improving the team unless that keeper is playing cymbals, which YJB isn’t. But it’s a point we’ll only ever prove if Foakes plays. Which he won’t if YJB stays fit. Adam Gilchrist, I don’t think, ever played as a non-keeper in the test team, did he?

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          • dannycricket November 12, 2017 / 9:06 pm

            Right now, “Test class” batsmen for England means averaging about 30. In the past three years Lyth, Hales, Vince, Duckett, Hameed, Jennings, Westley, Malan and Stoneman all average 32.00 or less. If Foakes can average 30 as well, why not pick him and move Bairstow to 5?

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          • LordCanisLupus November 12, 2017 / 9:09 pm

            Because we should never give up looking for players who can average 40?

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          • dannycricket November 12, 2017 / 9:15 pm

            Right now we’re looking in the places which didn’t work before, and of the three likely to start (Ballance appears to be the odd one out) literally none of them even have a first class average above 40. Unlike Ben Foakes.

            Of the five batsmen fighting for their places, Ballance and Foakes have the highest first class averages and are the least likely to play.

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          • SimonH November 13, 2017 / 9:16 am

            Porter’s been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.

            Whether they’d have selected him because of their pace obsession is another matter. Philander, Rabada, Mohammad Asif, Harris and Siddle all have very good records in Australia in the last decade or so and aren’t exactly in the MJ/Thomo pace bracket.

            Like

          • Scrim November 13, 2017 / 10:29 am

            @SimonH – I know he was a bit out of form for the England tour, but Rabada was extremely quick last summer in Australia. 145kmh+ all day long.

            Your point about speed not being the be all and end all still stands though.

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      • Scrim November 13, 2017 / 9:40 am

        Alyssa is Ian’s niece.

        Back to who actually might be keeper for Australia… someone asked me a couple of weeks ago who the contenders outside of Wade and Nevill were, and I said Alex Carey is the only one, the rest are rookies. Since then, Cam Bancroft has emerged. He is usually a specialist batsman in first class cricket, and is well regarded – averages 37. However he does keep in limited overs cricket, and has kept for Australia in a T20 match. He has taken the gloves for WA in the last two matches, and in 3 innings opening the batting has carried his bat for 76*, 86, and is currently 151*.

        Wade failed again today, Nevill and Carey haven’t batted yet but also haven’t scored much either in previous weeks… I honestly don’t know much about Bancroft as a keeper, but he might have leapfrogged all three.

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  15. SimonH November 12, 2017 / 9:07 am

    Anyone looking for a cricket book for Christmas…. Haigh’s book on Packer, ‘The Cricket War’, has just been re-published.

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