We don’t want to get anti-Andrew Strauss because we quite like him, but his selection in England’s team for their final warm-up worries us.
Either it’s his last opportunity to earn a place in the Test team or favouritism’s crept in. Strauss was dropped because of poor form and hasn’t recovered it. His rival for a Test place, Owais Shah, hit 96 in his last innings, averages more in first-class cricket and during the last county season averaged 70. Strauss may have more Test experience, but he’s averaged 27 since he touched down in Australia last winter.
How is Andrew Strauss ahead? Apparently he’s amiable and a good team player. Of course he is. Even we’d be good-natured and garrulous if you indulged us as England indulge Strauss.
Shah’s more prickly of course, which is hardly surprising when he’s only ever been given two one-off Tests and his current rival only has to catch a plane heading to the right country in order to win his place back.
England might be embarrassed about having had to drop a centrally-contracted player, but they should be more embarrassed about this non-meritrocratic shammery.
That’s assuming that that’s what’s happening – which isn’t necessarily the case. We just like to believe everything we read, because we’re mindless.