Jekyll and Hyde

As the fallout from England's first winter selection begins to gather, I thought this, by Mike Selvey, was a typically thoughtful appreciation of Harmison, whose career at Test level now looks dead and gone.

Selvey may be partially right in that England may end up missing Harmison in South Africa more than they now expect, but what they'll miss will be more the wistfully-recalled Harmy of blessed memory (Kingston, 2004) than the arrhythmic, Jekyll and Hyde trundler of too many recent encounters.

Elsewhere, I can't disagree too much with the selection of Steve Davies, but that of Luke Wright and the bypassing of Joe Denly look dubious.

If there's one thing Alastair Cook needs now it's not promotion (to the ODI squad) but competition.


Cricket Betting Blog said...

Agree about Joe Denly, think it is high time Cook got a kick up the backside, two centuries against West Indies in the last 20 odd months just isn't good enough.

This selection shows he is all but guarenteed for all 4 tests already after another average series against Australia.

Denly also could have given the selectors another option in their troublesome number 3 slot if plan A dosen't work out with either him or Cook batting there.

Was surprised with Luke Wright's call up as well, didn't think the selectors would have seen him as test class.

Maybe we're in for another bout of 'lets try and find a player who dosen't exsist' in an endless pursuit of a like for like replacement for Flintoff.

If there is no such player out there - as there obviously isn't - then just move on with the players we have and adjust the team accordingly, ie decide whether or not to play Prior at No.7 with six batsmen or not.

His selection does make me wonder if Broad's knee problem is slightly worse than is being let on, he didn't look right in the Champions Trophy to me.

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks for the long comment. All agreed, especially the fact that no notice at all seems to have been taken of the way Cook's been batting over the past year, when, much of the time, he's looked like a walking wicket. The message seems to be that he can play as poorly as he likes for as long as he likes without any risk of being dropped.

Besides which, I think Denly could be really good.

Cricket Betting Blog said...

Agree, I think Denly could be good, he hasn't looked out of his depth in any of the one day internationals he has played in so far.

The only thing missing was a couple of real impact innings like Kevin Pietersen's in SA in 2005, when his 3 ODI hundreds forced the selectors to pick him for the Ashes series.

Another point I forgot to mention on Cook is that teams have now worked his out and the top bowlers know how to get him.

What the answer is, I don't know. Would a long stint in County Cricket really do him much good? He will be in the firing line in SA and unless Flower and co have done (and are still doing) a lot of work on his technique you can only see him struggling out there as well.

Brian Carpenter said...

No, I don't think a long stint in county cricket would do Cook that much good, although, as Essex were promoted it would at least be in Division One.

He made a couple of tons late in the season in the Pro40 and it was mentioned that he'd been working hard with Graham Gooch, but yes, we'll see just how much good that's done in SA.

Don't get me wrong, I think he's basically a very good player with a lot of mental strength (see many past posts on the blog), but there are times when you just have to think about looking elsewhere

David Mutton said...

It will be interesting to see if Cook progresses in the next couple of years under Andy Flower. He seemed to go backwards under Moores' tenure and before that in the dog days of Fletcher. Maybe the Essex connection will help him?

Brian Carpenter said...

I think he'll do okay in the long run as he has tremendous mental strength and patience for a player who's still quite young (and plenty of past runs in the bank, let's not forget), but the past year has revealed quite a lot of technical issues.

I'm sure he's working hard - and I'm sure Flower trusts him to come good - but the SA trip may be a tour too soon and I'm not sure what the alternatives are if he fails in the early Tests.

I'd agree that Denly hasn't made a watertight case in his ODIs so far but he definitely has something and would provide a right-handed opening option.

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