Commentary May 27, 2007

Game needs to heed warning signals

One of the alarming features in world cricket is the lack of cutting-edge bowlers. The current Test at Headingley is a prime example with West Indies' pacemen hovering around the 80-mph mark and being thrashed at four-an-over. England have had to trawl the county scene for fit bowlers while most of the world's best fast bowlers are suffering injuries due to the amount they play. In The Sunday Telegraph, Scyld Berry delves into the problem and says ICC must take note otherwise the game is in major trouble.

Bowlers around the world - and not just in the West Indies and Bangladesh - are endangered, and the feebleness of the West Indian batting yesterday did not invalidate the point. One look at the ICC Test rankings should have been sufficient to tell the CEO as much.

However, England's plucking of Ryan Sidebottom out of county cricket for his second Test has proved a wise move. Steve James says it was an outstanding performance six years after his debut.

Yes, he has been consistent in county cricket, with an exceptional economy rate, but the worry was that he still could not swing the ball into the right-hander, as the most dangerous left-arm seamers and swingers always do.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo