Ashes to Ashes

The announcement of the Ashes party last Tuesday was big news, but I can't say I got too excited about it. There was little about it that was unpredictable or annoying. I would have liked to see Stuart Broad go instead of Liam Plunkett, and I'm really not sure what Ashley Giles is doing there when he hasn't bowled properly for a very long time, except to confirm many people's uneasy feelings about Fletcher's devotion to him, possibly to the detriment of the blessed Monty. And while Tim de Lisle was right to raise the question of whether Trescothick, after being ruled out of the Champions Trophy by 'stress-related illness', should have been considered fit to go on what will be an infinitely more stressful tour of Australia, I always knew he would be there.

As for the captaincy, well, it's usually good to have consistency from selectors, and they've at least been consistent in picking Flintoff, having originally announced that he would skipper the side in Australia prior to the Pakistan series. I do, though, have my doubts. Although Flintoff captained the side well in India, he was guilty of drastically over-bowling himself in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's in May, and the only other serious contender, Andrew Strauss, did little wrong against Pakistan (apart from that delayed declaration at Lord's, which still annoys me). A difficult choice, but I would probably have gone for Strauss.

It'll all come out in the wash later in the winter. And it'll sure as hell be fun.


harrowdrive said...

I'm hoping Giles is there as an experienced Ashes winner rather than the first choice spinner. There again, England do have a problem at No.8 that Giles solves.

Brian Carpenter said...

You're right, Harrowdrive. But then he hasn't batted for the best part of a year either and I have my doubts about how many runs he'll get in Oz. I'd certainly be surprised if he made enough to outweigh the fact that Panesar would surely take more wickets. But there's no question that Giles's batting potential is a major part of Fletcher's thinking and could see him into the side ahead of Monty, certainly if Giles starts better with the ball.

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