A can’t-make-our-minds-up England squad

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Chris Woakes and his adapted web slingers

So it looks like either Finn or Tremlett will replace Tim Bresnan for the fifth Test, unless England decide to play a second spinner, in which case Simon Kerrigan will get a game. Or, if they can’t make their minds up which way to go, they might end up picking five bowlers, including Chris Woakes as an all-rounder.

That’s the way we’re reading it anyway.

Spin thoughts

If you’re not going to pick Monty Panesar, then you should at least pick a Lancastrian, so this is okay. Kerrigan hasn’t played a great deal of real cricket this season – what with having been sentenced to one season in the second division and all – but he’s done well in the first division in years gone by.

Monty is apparently a bit wobbly. It seems he’s divorced his wife and gone a bit wayward in response to that. He was already on a final warning with Sussex prior to his pissy fit and now they’re looking to sack him.

All-rounder thoughts

Chris Woakes’ first-class record is extremely good and on the face of it, he promises both runs and wickets. However, whenever we actually see him play, he always strikes us as being one of those all-rounders who isn’t likely to deliver either. His batting’s improved loads, but he’s not an exceptional batsman, while his bowling errs towards relentless steadiness.

He’s kind of like an expensive futon which doesn’t really work as a sofa or a bed. It’s not the best of both worlds. It’s an unsatisfactory version of both worlds which occupies less space.


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  1. Indeed, I have a futon and I find your assessment bang on, KC.

    I had previously attributed my futon’s inadequacies to the fact that it was inexpensive, but having read your article I realise that this is a characteristic of futon’s generally, even the expensive ones.

    In the fullness of time, I think Chris Woakes might prove to be a bit more useful than my futon.

    Although, when a friend decides unexpectedly to stay after an evening out, as happened just the other week, the inadequate futon might still prove more useful than a borderline test cricketer at that particular juncture in those particular circumstances. The futon might then be said to be a horse for the course selection.

    Am I understanding this analogy properly?

    1. I don’t know Ged. Given a choice to be on top of a futon or a test cricketer, I’d gladly choose Isa Guha.

    2. At least the futon didn’t ask obvious and irritating questions sporadically throughout the evening, inducing even Daisy to say things such as, “she does look good, but that’s about all I can say to explain why she got the job”.

      I suspect also that my friend’s missus would have had a thing or two to say had we provided my friend with Isa Guha rather than the futon that night.

      I’m not sure that Isa Guha would have been ecstatic about the arrangement either – although back in the day…

  2. As Chris Woakes takes up less space and is easily foldable could we hide him under Kevin Pieterson’s ego or Tim Bresnan’s butchers apron? When the umpires are distracted by a particularly challenging hot spot Chris could sneak in a quick innings or over.

  3. I think you’ve grossly underestimating the value of relentless steadiness KC. Relentlessly steady players are the ones that keep you in the game when your ‘mercurial’ players are having their wide-to-second slip sort of days rather than a 7-for-12 sort of day.

  4. Test match bowling average better than any of Anderson, Broad or Bresnan.


    Don’t underestimate the power of the Mark side.

    Woakes gets picked for limited overs cricket with a pretty awful record, which I can only imagine that’s because they want him to get international experience before playing Tests. Otherwise I have no idea what he’s doing in ODI squads. Give him a game, what the hell. He at least does pretty well in first class cricket. Can’t see why he couldn’t be a decent third seamer even if he never opens the bowling.

    Monty and Tredwell are both having pretty poor years, but I suspect Panesar will be on the plane to Australia (and probably happily back at Wantage Road).

    I never really understood the idea of naming squad players you’re never going to play – do they really gain much from a couple of net sessions with the first XI?

  5. It’s a method to get fringe players training with the squad for a closer look and test combinations.

    It’s a good job England don’t actually let insecure fan babble like ‘trying to look decisive’ become part of their decisions.

    1. Premature decisiveness is counterproductive. We’ve no problem with the bet-hedging described above.

  6. I see Monty has been fired by Sussex, to “give him every opportunity to put his personal and professional life back on track.”. Yeah, I’m sure being made unemployed will help him.

    I was not surprised to hear that Rory Hamilton-Brown was drinking with Monty in the nightclub.

    1. Allan Lamb is another one of those inappropriate double-consonant geezers. Huge discount on everything he says.

    2. Is the official position of the KC Commenters’ Club (KCCC) regarding the double consonants only apply to first names? Otherwise, one of our own (*cough* Ladd *cough*) would be in trouble.

    3. Allan Lamb’s opinion is masterful in its contradiction. Young Joe Root (10 Tests) would be better off learning his cricket down the order. In order that this could be achieved, bring in young James Taylor (two Tests) as opener.

    4. On top of that Root is (allegedly) an opener. Taylor’s always played in the middle order, usually 4 and lower.

      May as well just swap Bairstow and Root.

    5. Actually the double-consonant problem mostly applies to surnames, DC – Ballance and Buttler being the topical examples.

      I was wondering when someone would highlight the seeming hypocrisy of Mr Ladd obsessing about it. But as Ladd is a pseudonym, reality is hidden behind a veil of secrecy. (Thank goodness.)

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