It’s not cool to say that. But we’re not cool. We once did a live Twitter review of a cricket computer game while drinking real ale.
On the face of it, picking a Test side is simply a matter of finding your 11 best players and then saying their names out loud in front of some microphones, but in reality there’s far more to it than that. We’d say England’s selectors got it bang on leading up to and during the 2010-11 Ashes, so hats off.
Ian Bell at six?
Not strictly speaking a selectorial decision, but linked. Some people will say that Ian Bell should have moved up the batting order and while we think that’s ultimately a good idea, it wasn’t a bad move to leave him at six in this series.
England traditionally use number six as a dumping ground. All-rounders, wicketkeepers and debutant batsmen slot in there and four wickets down so often seems like it’s going to be five wickets down.
In the fifth Test, England lost their fifth wicket and because there had been a nightwatchman, Ian Bell strolled out in the form of his life. How dispiriting must that have felt for the Aussie bowlers? Bell promptly hit a hundred, as did Matt Prior, batting at eight.
That they achieved this from down the order probably had more impact than if they’d been batting at four and five. Plus, it didn’t undermine Paul Collingwood, which was wise (even if it didn’t actually work out in practice).
Ian Bell was in the side after a famously galvanising dropping. The same thing happened to Andrew Strauss. In effect, selection decisions made good players better.
Perservering with people
Selection and rotation of bowlers
Chris Tremlett – masterstroke. Tim Bresnan – masterstroke.
Picking the right players in the first place
James Anderson could have been abandoned plenty of times in years gone by. Graeme Swann was actually quite a leftfield selection when he first appeared.
Matt Prior was identified as England’s wicketkeeper some time ago and has ridden it out, even though barely a day goes by without someone pushing some county keeper’s case on the grounds that he hit a six in a Twenty20 match once. Foster, Kieswetter, Read, Davies? None of these would have been a patch on Prior in our opinion.
The players made the selectors look good, but the selectors allowed them to do that.