England vs. Pakistan, 2nd Test, Preview – Feeling Hot Hot Hot

So we’re back down to the Bramsgrove bowl for the 2nd Test and thankfully this time none of the players decided to have a little detour. Naturally the headline leading up to this Test has been the withdrawal of Ben Stokes for the rest of the series, which of course is a huge blow, but pales into insignificance when dealing with obviously a serious family issue. I was pleased on the whole with the reaction on social media with the majority wishing him well, which of course they should, cricket is a game that has bought us much joy (and agony too) and Stokes has played a major part in that, but family must and will always come first. I believe I can speak for the collective in wishing the Stokes family all the best whatever they are currently going through. It was also sad to see Dan Lawrence leave the squad due to a family bereavement especially when there was a decent chance he might have made his debut; thankfully there is still plenty of time for that whenever he is ready to re-join the fold.

So with Stokes and Lawrence out, this provides Zak Crawley with an opportunity to try and cement his place in the side, as you’d expect him to slide in at number 3 and let Root go back to his favoured position of number 4. I’ve been a little surprised about how much criticism Crawley has had in absentia, with various people on social media highly critical of him whilst suggesting he shouldn’t be in the squad in the first place. Now of course it’s natural for people to push their own favourites, Gary Ballance and Sam Northeast are names that crop up time and again, but I do find the criticism of Crawley a little baffling. He easily outplayed Joe Denly in the 1st Test against the West Indies and after getting a duck in the first innings of the 2nd Test was then asked to throw the bat in the hope of quick runs in the 2nd innings. Personally I’ve been pretty impressed with Crawley, he looks like he has a natural flow to his game that keeps the scoreboard moving and hasn’t really looked overawed by Test Cricket despite being only 21. I think there is definitely enough there to warrant being given a decent crack in the side and I’d certainly pick Crawley over Ballance, who has shown that he hasn’t the technique or the mental fortitude for Test Cricket, every day of the week.

As for the rest of the side, the batting line up now picks itself with Buttler remaining at 6; however the bowling line up is one to watch with interest. Despite the heroics of Buttler and Woakes at Old Trafford, our tail looks awfully long against what is a very good Pakistan bowling line up, so I do wonder if England are tempted to pick Sam Curran to shore up the batting and to offer a bit of variety to the attack, but then who do you leave out with Woakes, Broad and according to Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson all set to play. Jofra Archer seems the most likely to be left out, but if so, there must be a temptation to play Mark Wood, to give England a proper pace option. It was interesting that Root has come out already and said that Jimmy is going to play considering the back to back nature of these matches and the fact that a 38 year old Anderson hasn’t played particularly well all summer. Could it be thought of as misconstrued loyalty to a player who has been England’s finest fast bowler for over a decade but perhaps is no longer in England’s top 3 pace bowlers these days? Naturally it would be wise not to write to Jimmy off as he has proved time and time again that he is a quality bowler, but there will certainly be added pressure and scrutiny if he does indeed play at the Aegeas.

As for Pakistan, it will be interesting to see how they respond after losing a match they both dominated and should have won. Certainly Pakistan teams of the past may have let that affect them mentally after such a loss, so Misbah and his coaching staff will have needed to do a lot of work with the team to get them back in the right frame of mind. I have the upmost respect for Misbah, so if anyone can lift this team back up after Old Trafford, then he would be the man to do it. It will also be interesting to see what the make-up of the Pakistan team is in Southampton, as they looked a little top heavy with Shadab batting at 7 and then not really contributing much with the ball. Dependent on the pitch they made decide to go with the extra batsman, a certain Fawad Alam, who despite having an average of over 50 in Pakistani domestic cricket, has consistently been overlooked for selection. It will also be interesting to see if they shuffle their quicks, as playing the same fast bowlers in 3 Tests in such a short period of time is draining. If they do, then I’d expect Naseem Shah to drop out, not because he isn’t a fantastic prospect, more that they don’t want to injure a 17 year old proper fast bowler by over-bowling him. The last thing Pakistan need is for him to pick up a stress fracture and be out for a long period of time.

So fingers crossed that the storms stay away from Southampton, though I’d quite like them to come to London and we get a full day’s play tomorrow. As ever thoughts and comments are much appreciated.


14 thoughts on “England vs. Pakistan, 2nd Test, Preview – Feeling Hot Hot Hot

  1. edbayliss Aug 12, 2020 / 5:15 pm

    I prefer to call it the Concrete Bowl. Bransgrove Bowl does have alliteration, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean Aug 12, 2020 / 5:16 pm

      I do like a bit of alliteration. Could easily call it that soulless ground in the arse end of nowhere..


      • Rohan Aug 13, 2020 / 4:05 am

        The corporate concrete crater of cronyism!


  2. dannycricket Aug 12, 2020 / 6:33 pm

    I do wonder if England considered selecting Foakes in Stokes’ place, rather than Zak Crawley. It would have had the effect of improving England in the field, and I’m not sure it would have had a significant detriment to their batting strength.

    The bowling attack is interesting too. None of the pace bowlers would play three games back-to-back in an ideal world, but it’s hard to leave Broad or Woakes out in the form they’re in this summer. Root has publicly stated that Anderson will play, so that leaves Curran, Robinson and Wood all fighting to fill Archer’s spot in this game. As the West Indies showed, not rotating your bowlers can come back to bite you.


    • Sean Aug 12, 2020 / 6:45 pm

      Foakes isn’t even in the 14 man squad. It’s clear that Ed Smith doesn’t rate him, which is a real shame. Strong likelihood that Foakes plays no red ball cricket this summer.


      • dannycricket Aug 12, 2020 / 6:50 pm

        Which will hurt him next season, if he doesn’t break into the England team over the winter. Already, I’ve seen articles where people rule Jack Leach out of England contention because he hasn’t played a ‘competitive’ game this summer.


        • Sean Aug 12, 2020 / 6:52 pm

          Oh absolutely. I’d tell Ed Smith where to stick it if I was Foakes. Been absolutely cocked about.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rohan Aug 13, 2020 / 4:07 am

            I think Foakes has been abysmally treated. Test century to his name, by far the better glove man compared to Buttler and Bairstow and looks a good temperament and player; deserved a decent run in the team I thought….


        • dArthez Aug 13, 2020 / 10:59 am

          There is much rejoicing about that in Sri Lanka and India.

          I mean, would you not want to have Buttler keeping for your opposition, when you provide spin-friendly tracks?


  3. Rohan Aug 13, 2020 / 4:20 am

    I have found it very interesting the dynamics of the Broad – Anderson axis this summer.

    First Broad came out firing after being dropped and made it clear it was wrong. He was very forthright in his views in this. His response seemed to be roundly applauded and well greeted in the MSM.

    Then, after a very poor performance, Anderson came out firing and as with Broad, was very forthright with his views. He was then immediately, as alluded to on here, backed by Root.

    I was thinking about the above, what if Archer, Woakes or A N Other said the same if they had been dropped, or after a bad game. Would they be afforded the same privilege as Broad and Anderson? I very much doubt it, especially with regards Archer who I think gets very unfair press.

    Moreover, they both seem to be creating their own narrative for deciding when they quit and retire, whilst setting personal goals for achievement (I don’t have a problem with the latter – goals for achievement). This is reminiscent of what was acceptable for Cook and Prior, but not Bell, Pietersen etc. Many would say Broad and Anderson have earned this right and yes, they do have very good records no doubt, but it all smacks of double standards, inconsistency of treatment and ‘face fitting’ again, which is poor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Aug 13, 2020 / 8:01 am

      The thing with Broad’s interview is that he backed it up in the next game. And the two after that. No one cares if you do that.

      I am sympathetic to Anderson’s situation. Normally, he’d enter the Test season with four or five games for Lancashire under his belt and would be honed and match fit. I’m not sure that this has been great preparation for him this summer, and wouldn’t rule out him coming back as good as ever next year.


      • Mark Aug 13, 2020 / 12:28 pm

        Broad and Anderson are part of the old guard Cook era. As you say Broad did back it up with winning performances, but the way his rant was treated by the media before he had been re picked and performed showed that there are different rules for certain players. The media have their favourites as do selectors.

        It is still true, as it has been for many years that certain players have faces that fit a certain England group think. While others seem to be playing for their place every time they take the field. You can argue that both Broad and Anderson have earned the right to be treated differently. However, I don’t believe any player should be able to put their own career and stats above the team. But the ECB let that boat sail with Cook. In my view if he hadn’t decided to retire he could still be playing if he wanted to. The media had made him un droppable. A ludicrous state of affairs,

        Butler, with his match winning innings has probably now guaranteed his place for another 20 test matches. Wasn’t he an Ed Smith super pick?Although he is at least far more affable and humble than some others I could mention.


        • Rohan Aug 13, 2020 / 1:53 pm

          Spot on Mark, exactly what I was trying to get across….


  4. dArthez Aug 13, 2020 / 4:53 pm

    At least an improvement over the last innings shambles. But still about 250 runs short of being worthy of the name ‘batting lineup’.


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