In years gone by, you wouldn’t have trusted the England selectors to identify the best cricketer on an episode of A Question Of Sport, but this batch, led by Geoff Miller, has earned respect. Even so, it doesn’t pay to get too clever.
Earlier this year, we said that Stuart Meaker was the only Surrey player we were interested in. We still are interested, but that doesn’t mean he’s England material right now this minute.
Meaker has been on England’s fast bowling programme for the last couple of years, so presumably the selectors feel they know him well enough. However, just as players shouldn’t be selected based on averages that can be skewed by a multitude factors, nor should they be identified based solely on their performances under lab conditions.
Meaker took 44 wickets at 22 in first-class cricket this season. Very good, but not exceptional and with that familiar proviso that he was bowling in the second division. However, he’s been selected for a one-day squad and he has taken just 19 one-day wickets in his entire career.
England’s selectors usually know what they’re doing, but we only hope they aren’t getting ahead of themselves. It might not seem like it with there being a match every other day, but international experience is a valuable commodity. It shouldn’t be spread around too liberally. Matt Dawson shouldn’t get a game, for example and Bill Beaumont DEFINITELY shouldn’t.