Who should England drop? Who will fix the team?

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England will be tempted to screw up their one-day plans and start again, but that would be the wrong move. There’s a reason why people talk about building a side. It’s because there’s no perfect, fully-formed team that’s just waiting to be compiled through correct selection.

But what about [insert name of false saviour]?

The English cricket backslapathon has led to some players being talked about as if they’re superstars based on scant evidence and England should learn from that.

Jonny Bairstow was proclaimed a world-beater based on a 21-ball innings. This series has shown that he is no such thing. He is a young, inexperienced batsman and he has no mastery of the art of batting in India because it’s actually pretty new to him.

England were said to be building their one-day bowling attack around the variations of Jade Dernbach, yet what does he know of bowling to master batsmen in India? He’s played most of his cricket in the second division of the County Championship. So too Stuart Meaker who hasn’t yet indicated why he’s a better bet than the other eight or ten England fast bowlers who’ve played for the national side in the last year or so.

Magic bullets

There are no magic bullets. Replace Jonny Bairstow with Jos Buttler and you’re swapping one naive-yet-promising batsman with another. Discard Scott Borthwick for Adil Rashid and you’re doing almost exactly the same as when you rejected the latter in favour of the former. Maybe they’ll turn into great players, but it’ll take time.

Jonathan Trott isn’t perfect, but maybe he’s England’s best bet at number three. Ravi Bopara had a dire series, but he averaged 65 in the previous one. Maybe he’s progressing overall. James Anderson has a poor one-day record in India, but he had a dire Test record in Australia before last winter. Maybe he’ll bowl well if there’s a score on the board and he isn’t completely knackered.

Are we saying lower your expectations, settle for less from the national team? Sort of. We’re saying that sometimes it’s about improving the players you’ve got rather than looking elsewhere for ready-made solutions. If other players are spectacularly amazing, you generally know about it.


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. Steve Borthwick would be an intersting choice, especially for that bear wrestling you talked about a week or so ago:


    Scott Borthwick would be more of a like-for-like replacement for Adil Rashid IMHO.

    I still think Adil Rashid has time to come through – look how old Swann was when he became a great player and ceased to be a county-trundler bell-end who had once been the great hope but had instead had a disastrous one-off tour with England?

  2. I’m confused. Why is everyone downbeat? Didn’t we just win the last series 4-0? We haven’t lost a series since the West Indies in early 2009, and that was down to one bad session and then some flat pitches.

    1. Exactly, Daneel. But it is the English cricket fan’s nature to seek out the negatives from an ocean of positives. In theory, England could be #1 test team in the world, world T20 champions, and with a recent series victory over the ODI world champions, and yet I would guess that people would still see a largely experimental team losing heavily in the hardest place for any away team to play as a reason to be despondent.

    2. Could be seen as a plus in some ways. Cook must have learnt heaps from this and the young batsmen will know they have to work hard on learning to play spin better.

  3. Monty Panesar would’ve been a good pick for this tour. Indian conditions would’ve suited him admirably.

  4. good point about the magic bullets kc.

    alastair cook was still a 50-50 pick in some people’s eyes (maybe just me) before the last ashes and he had played around 60 tests by then. but they stuck with him and now he’s our most consistent batsmen next to trott. i hope they dont discard bairstow like they did rashid just because he failed to live up to the ridiculous hype

    1. Finally someone has something insightful to say

      Now who has any photos of cats being indifferent to this pointless series?

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