England Squad Watch – part one

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Who plays for England these days? NO-ONE KNOWS. They don’t even have a coach and the uncertainty pours down from there, covering everyone in a sticky, unctuous goo that at first you think might be some sort of over-ripe berry that’s fallen from a tree, before realising that there’s no skin and the consistency’s too uniform and no, no, no, this came out of the back of an animal!

Matt Prior

Hurray! Matt Prior scored a hundred. Middlesex were all out for 105 and then Matt Prior made 125 off 138 balls on the same pitch.

Matt Prior is still far and away the best England wicketkeeping option and our firm belief that he will score plenty of runs at the start of the season is already not-entirely-wrong.

Steven Finn

Hurray! Steven Finn took 6-80 in the same match and actually took Prior’s wicket (eventually). Finn’s probably not going to be rushed back into the Test side, but most of us are happy to see that he’s commenced a slow walk in its general direction.


We will be very, very surprised if Sam Robson doesn’t open the batting against Sri Lanka in the middle of June. We reckon his winter performances for the Lions mean that all he needs to do is show vague competence for the next couple of months and he’ll be given a chance. Against Sussex, he made 11 and 1.

Technically, Michael Carberry is the incumbent. If Robson doesn’t perform well, England will be able to retain Carberry, pretending that was the plan all along. Against Worcestershire, Carberry made a duck.

Middle order

There’s a strong feeling that Eoin Morgan has been earmarked for Test selection, perhaps to make up for the excitement shortfall resulting from Kevin Pietersen’s absence. We’ve even seen it suggested that he might have inadvertently sacrificed some of his one-day majesty through focusing on Test-specific training.

Morgan went one better than Carberry against Sussex and was bowled for a golden duck.


Peter Moores’ bid to be the man to turn around England’s shoddy batting must surely be hampered by the fact that his Lancashire side still can’t ruddy bat after years and years of being turd. They made 144 thanks to 42 not out from Tom Smith, who is no longer an opener but a number seven.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Eoin Morgan’s Test-specific training should probably involve being at the crease for more than 7 mins in a match.

    Anyon, Magoffin and Lewis seem to be a handful in early April, but I can’t see them doing enough to launch a Sussex title challange.

    1. That is assuming Chris Jordan spends most of the summer with England, I should add.

    2. hey, i wasn’t kidding when i said they should pick me. i was considered a very promising fast bowler when i was 9 or 10.

    1. Warwickshire are playing students. They call them first-class matches, but we don’t agree and therefore don’t pay attention.

    2. You don’t mention them much when they play proper sides, to be fair. Lancashire this, Lancashire that. Change the record.

  2. The Peoples Republic of NZ is currently in possession of a very pleasant but seemingly pointless family that’s apparently very important to you lot. We will return them in exchange for either the repatriation of Ben Stokes or a solid opening pair. We await your response.

    1. Do NZ really need Stokes, though? Anderson and Neesham seem just fine. And it’s not like England have a surplus of openers. Could probably get Nick Compton, though.

      Speaking of, Latham’s got to be opening in WI, right? Who’ll be there with him? Do they stick with Rutherford or Fulton, or bring Guptill back?

    2. I’d take Compton in a heartbeat, always thought he looked solid in that series here. Think he was pretty poorly treated in the end. All-rounders is probably one of our strongest areas at the moment with Anderson & Neesham available, but i’ve got a feeling Anderson particularly may be a bit injury prone.
      As for the openers in WI; he seems to be average in tests but i still think Guptill has too much class to be left out, although opener may not be the spot for him. I’d take him as 1st batting cover. As much as i like Fulton, i think he might be the one to go, and Latham/Rutherford combo should be given a good long run together.

    3. Ryder’s a better option than either Neesham or Anderson though, a quality batsman that can bowl a wee bit as required. I’m thinking we’d benefit more from a Steve Waugh than a Andrew Flintoff in the current line-up. Anderson’s role against WI and India was really to fill in time while the others had a break – weren’t most of his wickets due to mental lapses?

      Back to England though, is it a given that Prior will be Bairstow’s replacement? Something very odd happened during the Australia tour to too many of England’s better players, and while I still haven’t forgiven him for not getting out in Auckland last year, Prior’s demise has been hard to watch.

    4. Hate to say it but i think we need to start accepting that Ryder most likely won’t be back. Until i hear him publicly admit that he’s an alcoholic & can never drink again, then i don’t see how he can either get the support of the team or hold himself together for long enough to make it.
      I agree that Anderson seems an average bowler at best, but i think he’s good enough to play anywhere outside the sub-continent. otherwise, i’d be tempted to give Redmond a run at 6; excellent bat & under-rated spinner.

    5. Tell you what, you can keep the parasites and have Compton, if we can have Kane Williamson.

    6. We absolutely adore our Royal Family over here, so much more so when they are a very long way away from here.

      Their strange use of vowels should make them seem and feel very much at home on your delightful antipodean islands.

      Please keep them with our compliments.

    7. Kane Williamson is not for sale, not for swapping, and is impossible to kidnap. We do have a Papps, Fulton, Sinclair combo deal that’ll knock your socks off though. We’ll take a KP, it’s not like you’re using him.

      JonJ – I think you’re dead right about Ryder, but where there’s hope and all….

    8. Anderson’s fine as a fourth seamer, though with Neil Wagner in the team he doesn’t exactly provide much variety. Still, he’s young, he can bat, and he’ll take a few wickets. That’s got to set him up for a decent run in the side, at least until he hits a run of terrible form. And then Neesham can take his place. It would be nice if Ryder could be counted on, but that doesn’t look likely in the near future.

      Going over the NZ best XI in my head was actually pretty enjoyable, because nine spots are pretty much nailed down. All that’s left are the openers, and to decide whether Sodhi plays or a fourth seamer (probably Neesham). That’s a pretty nice situation to be in barely a year removed from the SA debacle.

    9. “a solid opening pair”

      – and where would england find one of those, just out of interest..?

  3. Liam Plunkett has done his bit for England’s hopes by breaking Jonny Bairstow’s finger, I see.

    Well done, that man.

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