31.7.06

Read for Jones

Well, having wanted Chris Read to replace Geraint Jones for much of the last two years, I've got mixed feelings now it's finally happened.

Jones's keeping has been a lot better this season and he was virtually flawless at both Lord's and Old Trafford. His batting, though, has become increasingly hesitant, and I felt that his inability to get a shift on at an important time had a lot to do with England's delayed declaration at Lord's. As Geoff Boycott, in his characteristically compassionate and understated way, said on TMS during the Lord's Test: 'He's gone from being a batsman who can't keep to being a keeper who can't bat'.

Truth is, he's now a pretty good keeper who's simply going through a very bad trot with the bat, and I feel slightly sorry for him, having worked so hard to improve what was (correctly) perceived as his weakness, only to find that his form in the stronger part of his game has deserted him.

The timing of the change is surprising. With only two more Tests before the resumption of the battle for the Ashes, I had largely given up hope of seeing Read recalled, and, considering Jones's improvement behind the stumps, the more conservative move (and how frequently do English cricket selectors spurn the conservative option?) would have been to stick with the Kent man.

I doubt if it was rationalized (or even discussed) in these terms, but the move smacks of an attempt by the selectors to settle the argument once and for all. Time for Read to put up or shut up. Avoid any fatal errors with the gloves and make a few runs and you'll arrive in Brisbane as first choice, fail in either department (but especially with the bat), and you won't. Come back Geraint, all is forgiven.

As I've said before, I've got a natural affinity with Read as I've watched him since he first got into the Devon side at the age of sixteen, but I've become slightly concerned about some of the stuff that's been written about him in the press, which may have led people to believe that he's some sort of cross between Alan Knott, Bob Taylor and Jack Russell.

He's a good keeper - but not a great one - and he's always been able to bat, an area of the game which unquestionably let him down during his previous flirtations with the Test side. He's worked on that, made plenty of runs, and deserves a go. But the pressure will really be on.

This is Chris Read's big opportunity. I just hope it's not too big.

6 comments:

harrowdrive said...

I'm a Read fan because he is the better keeper.

Jones is, at best, a tidy keeper, but his technique is lacking standing up to spin and he dives too much for one handed catches that could go to first slip 2 handed.

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks for the comment, harrowdrive. I agree - 'tidy at best' just about covers Jones. Which, given how poor he was, is almost an achievement. The diving in front of first slip is a persistent fault - the fact that Marcus is such an excellent first slip usually gets him off the hook.

harrowdrive said...

Brian, I Agree about Tres.

Nothing against Jones, he is, by all accounts, a hard worker and shapes up well with bat and gloves.

That said, he is technically poor for a top class keeper. He comes up too early when standing up and takes the ball on his heels rather than the balls of his feet.

Ankur said...

Hi! I'm a fellow cricket blogger and this is the first time I've noticed you on the blogosphere - welcome!

I am personally backing Read too, Jones's batting form has been woeful of late. But I feel Fletcher will go for Jones in the Ashes, unless Read makes some big runs.. Fletcher's the kind of guy who is more bothered about a keepers ability to bat and although Read did make 30 odd - he did give the odd chance..

Brian Carpenter said...

Many thanks for the comment, Ankur. Although I'm a Read man I fear you may be right, although I'm sure Chris will also get the chance to show what he can do at The Oval. I've no doubt, though, that Fletcher really prefers Jones.

I'm a new blogger(though not new to writing about cricket)and am glad I'm starting to pick up a few comments. I'd be interested to know how you found the site, and hopefully you'll come back.

Thanks again.

Ankur said...

I came across this blog due to a link from another cricket blog - don't remember which one and don't worry I'll definitely be back!

Cheers!

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