The England Test squad for the Test tour of India is actually quite interesting

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“Root or Compton? Let’s have both and, er, James Taylor can go elsewhere to make room. He didn’t do much right or wrong, so maybe no-one will notice that he’s gone.”

Root and Compton. It’s nice to see a 21-year-old and a 29-year-old both being selected for the first time for almost entirely different reasons. It speaks of open-mindedness or something. There are a few other interesting selections as well.

Joe Root

We’re not entirely sure, but we don’t think we’ve ever seen Joe Root bat. Decent record and Graham Thorpe thinks he’s ace. That’ll do us.

Nick Compton

Lumpen, plodding and patient. It works for Cook and Trott. The third of those attributes is particularly important when batting on the first few days in India. While we can’t see him contributing much on day four or day five, hopefully he’ll already have done a job by then.

Eoin Morgan

Has presumably been recalled due to his ability against spin, which wasn’t in any way on display when England played Pakistan earlier in the year. To be fair, he generally succumbed to the straight one, so maybe a raging turner will give him a better chance. Despite the tone of this paragraph, we’re rather happy he’s back.

Monty Panesar

When it comes to Tests taking place in India, the home team takes a massive proportion of its wickets through spin. The away team does not. This is really quite important. Monty Panesar probably won’t play and we’re not really convinced there’s much merit in playing Samit Patel for his bowling (although we’ve time for his batting, funnily enough). All the same, should Graeme Swann succumb to old man’s elbow, we’d like a proper spinner to step in and there’s no way in the world we’d pick anyone over Monty.

Kevin Pietersen

Isn’t in the squad.


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  1. Tough on Taylor. Did they decide they shouldn’t have picked him in the first place? What did he do wrong between then and now?

    1. Perhaps they had a team building day booked in at an amusement park and they wanted to be able to go on the big roller coaster?

  2. I’d pick Monty over Swann in the playing XI if it comes to that. I don’t see Swann causing Indian players too many problems. Left-armers are relatively rare, and I offer without proof that Monty understands Indian pitches better.
    A good strategy is to pick both in the playing XI. But I don’t this happening, as playing two spinners is probably foreign to England (in terms of adjusting to the new balance etc.), but one never knows.

    1. Disagree with that – the two spinner strategy almost never works for teams touring India. Most wickets are usually taken by the quicks

    2. What are you basing that on? I don’t remember many non-Asian teams fielding two spinners against India. Monty and Swann would complement each other well (left and right arm spinners).

      If the ball doesn’t swing (as is usually the case in India), there’s not much to choose between Anderson, Broad, and Onions. Finn and Bresnan can bounce to a certain extent, but that’s not going to happen in venues other than Mohali.

      I could be wrong – never been much of a stats guy. But it seems to me Monty/Swann combo would be a better bet on most pitches than three four pacers who’re going to tire out.

    3. Youre right, I don’t think other non-asian teams have fielded two spinners. But why discount the other Asian teams? Over the years, they have probably produced better spinners, and I don’t recall them having much success with a two spinner strategy either.

      My point essentially was that although Indian pitches are supposed to be spin conducive, spinners, especially non-Asian spinners, don’t seem to do particularly well there (perhaps because they don’t get the kind of bounce that they are used to, or perhaps because the Indian batsmen use their feet against the spinners a little more than they are used to). So I don’t see Monty adding much to the attack.

      On the other hand, Indian batsmen often struggle against a disciplined and quick seam attack, even when there is no swing.

  3. Damn no KP! I was looking forward to seeing Broad, Swann and Anderson’s expressions after seeing the Indian crowd welcome KP home 🙂

  4. Quite interesting, but not all that interesting.

    Interesting analysis, KC.

    Quite predictable too. (The squad, not your analysis).

    Picking the side each time from that squad will be interesting too. And less easy to predict.

  5. There was a time when England would never consider anything other than playing two spinners in India. I always enjoyed the left-field selection for second spinner, like the selectors scrolled down through the International Cricket Captain player list and clicked on the first spin option they found.

    Shaun Udal, anyone?

    Also, in the past we had batsmen who could bowl a bit of tweak. Hick, Vaughan, Pietersen – they would get through a few overs and hold an end up. Nothing like that now.

  6. I reckon the selectors are very slowly trying to build an entirely culinary team. Cook, Onions, Root, Swann…erm…Bear’s Toe…

  7. No Strauss, no Pietersen. Without them that squad is potentially 120 runs short each innings, never mind each match. I can’t see the untried talent filling the gap, though I hope I’m wrong. Memory has it that new caps rarely succeed quickly enough. It takes time.

    And of course, Bell, Cooke and Trott (wasn’t that some form of medieval incantation to remove the bodily vapours?) can fail as easily just as anyone else.

    The solution I suppose is to play 8 batsmen in the hope that at least two of them get a score and let Patel and Panesar bowl the overs that Swann doesn’t.


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