England selectors spiked with Sunset Yellow

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For much of the year England’s selectors are Uncle Alan and Auntie Cynthia, who always go to the Marks and Spencer coffee shop. On the average trip to town, they might stop in there two or three times to break up the afternoon. They will walk past any number of other coffee shops to go there but it will never once occur to them to try one out.

Alan and Cynthia have their coffee shop and they’re sticking with it. Alan has a white coffee. Cynthia has a pot of tea. They don’t always have something to eat, but if they do, they have toasted teacakes.

When England’s selectors arrive for the first Test in the subcontinent, all that goes out the window. Suddenly they metamorphosise into a pack of toddlers raked to the eyeballs on Sunset Yellow. Confronted with an oversized laminated menu, no-one has a clue what they’re going to do.

How many batsmen? How many bowlers? How many spinners? How many all-rounders? No-one knows. As for who those players might be, it could be anyone. Even the squad itself only gives a rough idea who might be selected.

It’s all very exciting.

The thinking at the moment is that England will go with three pace bowlers and three spinners, of whom most will be all-rounders of some standard or other. Somewhat oddly, however, it is the batting decisions which have been attracting more attention.

Perhaps it’s because batsmen tend to get a run (in the side) whereas bowlers are more likely to be chopped and changed. A week ago, the decision was between Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett. It now seems likely that the selectors have hit upon the innovative solution of selecting both and binning Gary Ballance.

Whether this comes to pass or not, who can say? Opinions change rapidly when there hasn’t yet been a first Test to firm things up a bit. A hamstring strain for a pace bowler could precipitate a whole series of knock-on changes that would result in Jos Buttler opening the batting. A nasty bout of dengue fever for someone might see Ballance back in the side as second spinner, batting at nine.

All we can say for certain is that we can forget about the coffee, tea and teacake order for at least the next few months. This is no bad thing. Life is all about making arbitrary decisions in the hope that everything will somehow be fine.


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  1. In other news, the pink ball is proving a little troublesome:

    Sir Viv says “I don’t think they have fully sussed the right ball just yet and the jury is still out with the changes in shape and discolouration of the ball, but once they get that right the future may look a little bit brighter” (like the ball).

    Waqar Younis meanwhile says “We haven’t fiddled with it too much from the beginning and I don’t think we need to do too much”.

    1. Hmmmm, Mickey Arthur also “saw it get soft quite quickly” but he’s getting on a bit so maybe that’s not such a surprise.

    2. Everyone’s been saying much the same thing since before the Australia day-nighter. Seems like the ball’s basically fine but they’d prefer it to be better.

  2. It makes me very sad to think that Ballance will be out of the side just as I’ve discovered his wonderful Guerilla Cricket jingle. (For the uninitiated: “He’s got a face like a fat bloke who’s just climbed the stairs, Gary Ballance.” Set to music.)

    It makes me even sadder to think that they’ll have neither him nor Vince nor Trott nor Hales to bowl the over before lunch when the opposition’s openers have shown no signs of getting out whatsoever. Lancastrian/Northamptonian supporters, any confirmation as to whether either of your boys bowls a bit of shod?

  3. In broadcasting news, it seems that TMS will be on air for the test matches. So Guerilla is an additional luxury if you prefer Wankhede (or in this case Chitty-Chitty-Gong-Gong) jokes to the regular TMS whimsy.

    In telecommunications news, Ivan Meagreheart the Smart Phone did indeed retire from all forms of communications today. Ivan said, “I could have had an app that would accurately have predicted my retirement date.” Ivan then sang, “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…” just before he shut down for the last time.

      1. I think that lyrical question is a rhetorical one, Balladeer.

        But if Daisy were to have answered it for Ivan, I suspect that she would have said, “you might anagramatically/nominally be smarter than the average phone, Ivan, but with only 4G of storage, you don’t cut the mustard for me nor for Ged any more.”

  4. It seems a bit harsh to Ballance to be dropped from the side when he’s finished not out from his 2 innings of the tour!

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