Mike Holmans May 3, 2009

Who selects the English team?

Interpreting anything that happens through the prism of the coach being Lord High Everything does us all a disservice
30

If I were Geoff Miller, I think I’d be a little miffed at the coverage given to the various England squads announced last week. There is scarcely a mention of the national selector who chairs the selection committee and acres devoted to the influence allegedly wielded by the newest addition to the committee, team director Andy Flower, whose imprint we are supposed to be able to discern.

Excuse me? The head coaching honcho, whether you call him coach, team director or Grand Panjandrum, spends his time working with whomever is in the current squad, giving him extremely detailed knowledge of today’s personnel while preventing him gathering much of interest about potential recruits.

Flower won’t have seen Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions or Tim Bresnan play much, if any, cricket over the last two years, so how can his imprint be seen in their selections?

There might be something in the picks of Graham Napier and James Foster since Flower came to the England job from Essex, but they have earned their elevation by performances in last year’s Twenty20 Cup, mostly played when England were busy losing ODIs to New Zealand and Flower was presumably fully occupied trying to inculcate the basics of shot-selection into Ian Bell.

Geoff Miller, James Whitaker and Ashley Giles are the men who watch county cricket and work out who looks ready for the big time, so why aren’t they given any credit for shaping the new-look England sides? I don’t see Flower’s squads here – I see Miller’s.

We became used to the coach wielding immense power in the Duncan Fletcher era, but it was a power that he did not really want. Reading Nasser Hussain’s account of selection meetings, it is apparent that the official selectors were weak and dithery, the inevitable consequence of which was that the one selector with a clearly thought-out view ended up getting his own way most of the time. Fletcher himself realised after a time that he had become so close to the regular members of the squad that he could not be dispassionate and stepped down as a selector.

The most important influence a coach can have on selection is essentially negative. After working with players identified by the selectors, the detailed knowledge gained enables him to identify the ones to keep, the ones to discard and the ones to send back to domestic cricket to rediscover their technique, desire or ideal waist measurement. What he can’t do is give more than a specification for the type of player the team will need to replace the ones who are not currently measuring up: it is the selectors’ job to identify them, not the coach’s.

The Schofield Report produced following the debacles in the winter of 2006-7 identified the selection process as needing a more professional structure. That has now been implemented, and it is already evident that the new players getting picked have been carefully watched. They have good records in domestic cricket, but not necessarily the best. They are presumably being chosen because they appear to offer that extra something which lifts a player to success at international level – and that can only be spotted by people who see them play, which the national team coach gets precious little opportunity to do.

While I disagree with much of my fellow columnist Michael 'Fox' Jeh’s thesis about international coaches being useful only as modes of transport, I agree very much that the cult of the head coach is becoming dangerously fetishistic, especially in England where people seem obsessed with finding the new Fletcher in the same way as we used to hanker after the new Botham.

Interpreting anything that happens through the prism of the coach being Lord High Everything does us all a disservice. Cricket is too complex for supremos. Credit Flower with the axing of Bell and Harmison if you like, but let’s praise (or blame) Miller, Giles and Whitaker for the players called up instead. Hold Flower to account for what the selected players do, but pay proper attention to how the selectors go about their business too.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Siddo on May 9, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    No matter whatever the poms do with their team the end result is the aussies are gonna beat the hell outtta the poms mate

    hehehe

  • Yogesh on May 6, 2009, 3:24 GMT

    Mike, Thanks for the enlightenment on Moores !! I just wanted to say about coaches and their failed teams giving more weight to Chappelli's theory on international coaches. Just that the words have sounded different.

  • Yogesh on May 5, 2009, 23:49 GMT

    But this over-importance to coaches is sadly becoming a global phenomenon perhaps except Australia. Only aussies seem to opine good selectors are more important than coach and they win half the battle. I remember reading more articles criticizing Hilditch and co than Nielsen. Other countries though sadly have been obsessed with Aussie coaches and seem to believe they hold magic wands. Seeing Moores-England, Greg Chappell-India and Buchanan-KKR, I agree even more with Chappelli. India did very well without a coach for a few months than they did with Greg Chappell.

    Though i hate to see them win, but just cannot stop appreciating the way the Aussies seem to keep winnning. Peter Siddle who has played hardly 10 tests seems to be more bullish than Bell who has played 40 odd tests. A well-prepared, settled England required every ounce to just cross the line. Can an unsettled, under-prepared England do it ? The same feeling which many of us had when Azhar-led teams went abroad in 90s.

    [Mike: To be fair, Peter Moores isn't particularly Australian.]

  • Yogesh on May 5, 2009, 23:35 GMT

    Bell doesn't seem to be short of technique, class or shots but there is that X-factor thats missing. Saying that, except for Pietersen no other English batsman at present seems to possess that. Saying that, I still think Bell might do the job at no.5 even if he underachieves. England finally seem to be getting rid of "lets put back the batch of 2005" obsession. And other obsession they need to remove is Freddie. When he is in form with both bat and ball, he is awesome and makes England look good. But that has happened only 3-4 years in his entire 10 year career.

    Mike, i am sad that a good article is being used by some fools putting themselves up for mockery and in the process spoiling our image. And i really do find interesting and dignified the comments of most english fans on many of the websites like Times, BBC etc. I second Jay in that Mike should remove such derusive comments unrelated to the main article. For people wanting to say their opinion/non-sense, Inbox/blogs are there.

  • Jackie on May 5, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Everyone seems to have the impression this is a new look team. Bell and Harmison were dropped from the team in Feb. Bopara was selected in Barbados so his selection is hardly a surprise. He is now replacing Shah who failed so completely. The two new bowlers are to replace the injured Flintoff and Khan who also comprehensively failed. So the team is not that different from the one who lost the Series and all but lost the ODIs. Everyone seems to have forgotten how Shah was hyped to replace Bell struggling at 3. Bell had a successful record at 5 but was moved to 3 because of Vaughan's resignation. It is one of the mysteries of cricket that instead of moving Bell back to 5 and trying another batsman at 3, KP? Bell has been dropped from the team. So we have lost one of our better batsman who is now scoring loads of runs for his County as his form improves. We can ill afford losing a batsman of his calibre. As for Bopara at 3. So far he has done nothing in Test cricket to justify it.

    [Mike: Apart from getting a hundred in forceful style on his last appearance, you mean?]

  • Jay on May 5, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    All guys who are blowing their trumpets about India ,dont forget India went through a very bad patch just before Ganguly took over as captain. History teaches us that every team has its good and bad days. If India is doing better than England at present,doesnt mean this has to be the case forever! The history of cricket from 1970s till now teaches us that different teams have dominated in different eras. So will fools stop petending they know it all,and stop creating disharmony and disrepute to majority of indian fans,who are passionate but never believe in deriding anyone. The current England team has a fresh look to it,lets see how well they do!Sit back and enjoy! Dear Editor,can such distateful e-mails like the ones by Mr.Saptarshi be deleted from this site. Cricket is supposed to promote harmony,his e-mails are like Terrorist attacks !!!

  • Vikram Maingi on May 5, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    Another strange decision about the English Selection Committee: Paul Collingwood will lead England in the forthcoming T20 World Cup and he is the same person who stepped down from LoI captaincy last year, once Micheal Vaughan decided to step down as the Test captain.

    [Mike: This is down to Flower, who persuaded Collingwood that it was only going to be for three weeks, after all, so could Colly do everyone the favour of doing the job just for the T20WC, and we'll see where we go after that, pretty please? The problem is that there's no-one else in the squad who is sure of a place and has any leadership background.]

  • Tushar Thakkar on May 5, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Fellas, apologies for the poor attitude displayed by some of my fellow country men (Indians) in their comments. These ignorant buffoons in no way represent the majority opinion of cricket lovers in India.

    Now, with that out of the way, I believe the English selectors have done a good job given the limited experienced resources that they have. Injuries to key bowlers like Flintoff and the patchy form of the batsmen, barring Pieterson, means new players need to be picked to maintain the pressure on the current ones. The only risk that the selectors run is of returning to the chop and change policy of the mid ninties, when almost every player in county cricket got a game. The Darren Pattinson example is actually quite alarming and is a reminder of the approach that has harmed English cricket for so long. In fact, in the past 15 years, the only time English cricket was doing well was when they had a balanced team and a strong captain... something the selectors would do well to remember

  • Stan on May 5, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    As a South African, I do feel that England selectors have an extremely difficult job as the player pool in England is overclogged with Kolpaks and South African expats, and diluted with over-the-mill players that have been hanging onto their spots for way too long (such as Gallian, Ealham, Croft, Hemp, Loye, Law, Crawley, Cork, etc.). These players are unlikely to ever make an impact on the national side again and I would like to see County Cricket place a greater emphasis on youth development.

    It is no wonder England selectors are stealing Irish players... I would highly recommend they poach Essex’s Ryan Ten Doschate.

  • Justin on May 4, 2009, 23:06 GMT

    I for one am interested in the makeup of the team because I am Australian!! If they had named a team with Bell and/or Harmison I would've laughed....but I have no idea about these other fellos other than a bit of Bopara. New guys can sometimes come in and have immediate effect.....Sidebottom was highly successful a year or two ago..Siddle was extremely good in his second series....Ishant Sharma was very good against Australia in his first series. Cricket has never been more interesting....Australia smashed India at home, India smashed Australia at home...South Africa smashed Australia away, Australia smashed south africa away. The only team holding onto their old fellas is the Indians....but they are running out of time before they retire and may never be better ranked than 3. Englad did the right thing.....but no one should really get any pats on the back until we find out if it worked!! Ashes is still and will always be the only test series Australians and Englishmen care about

  • Siddo on May 9, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    No matter whatever the poms do with their team the end result is the aussies are gonna beat the hell outtta the poms mate

    hehehe

  • Yogesh on May 6, 2009, 3:24 GMT

    Mike, Thanks for the enlightenment on Moores !! I just wanted to say about coaches and their failed teams giving more weight to Chappelli's theory on international coaches. Just that the words have sounded different.

  • Yogesh on May 5, 2009, 23:49 GMT

    But this over-importance to coaches is sadly becoming a global phenomenon perhaps except Australia. Only aussies seem to opine good selectors are more important than coach and they win half the battle. I remember reading more articles criticizing Hilditch and co than Nielsen. Other countries though sadly have been obsessed with Aussie coaches and seem to believe they hold magic wands. Seeing Moores-England, Greg Chappell-India and Buchanan-KKR, I agree even more with Chappelli. India did very well without a coach for a few months than they did with Greg Chappell.

    Though i hate to see them win, but just cannot stop appreciating the way the Aussies seem to keep winnning. Peter Siddle who has played hardly 10 tests seems to be more bullish than Bell who has played 40 odd tests. A well-prepared, settled England required every ounce to just cross the line. Can an unsettled, under-prepared England do it ? The same feeling which many of us had when Azhar-led teams went abroad in 90s.

    [Mike: To be fair, Peter Moores isn't particularly Australian.]

  • Yogesh on May 5, 2009, 23:35 GMT

    Bell doesn't seem to be short of technique, class or shots but there is that X-factor thats missing. Saying that, except for Pietersen no other English batsman at present seems to possess that. Saying that, I still think Bell might do the job at no.5 even if he underachieves. England finally seem to be getting rid of "lets put back the batch of 2005" obsession. And other obsession they need to remove is Freddie. When he is in form with both bat and ball, he is awesome and makes England look good. But that has happened only 3-4 years in his entire 10 year career.

    Mike, i am sad that a good article is being used by some fools putting themselves up for mockery and in the process spoiling our image. And i really do find interesting and dignified the comments of most english fans on many of the websites like Times, BBC etc. I second Jay in that Mike should remove such derusive comments unrelated to the main article. For people wanting to say their opinion/non-sense, Inbox/blogs are there.

  • Jackie on May 5, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Everyone seems to have the impression this is a new look team. Bell and Harmison were dropped from the team in Feb. Bopara was selected in Barbados so his selection is hardly a surprise. He is now replacing Shah who failed so completely. The two new bowlers are to replace the injured Flintoff and Khan who also comprehensively failed. So the team is not that different from the one who lost the Series and all but lost the ODIs. Everyone seems to have forgotten how Shah was hyped to replace Bell struggling at 3. Bell had a successful record at 5 but was moved to 3 because of Vaughan's resignation. It is one of the mysteries of cricket that instead of moving Bell back to 5 and trying another batsman at 3, KP? Bell has been dropped from the team. So we have lost one of our better batsman who is now scoring loads of runs for his County as his form improves. We can ill afford losing a batsman of his calibre. As for Bopara at 3. So far he has done nothing in Test cricket to justify it.

    [Mike: Apart from getting a hundred in forceful style on his last appearance, you mean?]

  • Jay on May 5, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    All guys who are blowing their trumpets about India ,dont forget India went through a very bad patch just before Ganguly took over as captain. History teaches us that every team has its good and bad days. If India is doing better than England at present,doesnt mean this has to be the case forever! The history of cricket from 1970s till now teaches us that different teams have dominated in different eras. So will fools stop petending they know it all,and stop creating disharmony and disrepute to majority of indian fans,who are passionate but never believe in deriding anyone. The current England team has a fresh look to it,lets see how well they do!Sit back and enjoy! Dear Editor,can such distateful e-mails like the ones by Mr.Saptarshi be deleted from this site. Cricket is supposed to promote harmony,his e-mails are like Terrorist attacks !!!

  • Vikram Maingi on May 5, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    Another strange decision about the English Selection Committee: Paul Collingwood will lead England in the forthcoming T20 World Cup and he is the same person who stepped down from LoI captaincy last year, once Micheal Vaughan decided to step down as the Test captain.

    [Mike: This is down to Flower, who persuaded Collingwood that it was only going to be for three weeks, after all, so could Colly do everyone the favour of doing the job just for the T20WC, and we'll see where we go after that, pretty please? The problem is that there's no-one else in the squad who is sure of a place and has any leadership background.]

  • Tushar Thakkar on May 5, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Fellas, apologies for the poor attitude displayed by some of my fellow country men (Indians) in their comments. These ignorant buffoons in no way represent the majority opinion of cricket lovers in India.

    Now, with that out of the way, I believe the English selectors have done a good job given the limited experienced resources that they have. Injuries to key bowlers like Flintoff and the patchy form of the batsmen, barring Pieterson, means new players need to be picked to maintain the pressure on the current ones. The only risk that the selectors run is of returning to the chop and change policy of the mid ninties, when almost every player in county cricket got a game. The Darren Pattinson example is actually quite alarming and is a reminder of the approach that has harmed English cricket for so long. In fact, in the past 15 years, the only time English cricket was doing well was when they had a balanced team and a strong captain... something the selectors would do well to remember

  • Stan on May 5, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    As a South African, I do feel that England selectors have an extremely difficult job as the player pool in England is overclogged with Kolpaks and South African expats, and diluted with over-the-mill players that have been hanging onto their spots for way too long (such as Gallian, Ealham, Croft, Hemp, Loye, Law, Crawley, Cork, etc.). These players are unlikely to ever make an impact on the national side again and I would like to see County Cricket place a greater emphasis on youth development.

    It is no wonder England selectors are stealing Irish players... I would highly recommend they poach Essex’s Ryan Ten Doschate.

  • Justin on May 4, 2009, 23:06 GMT

    I for one am interested in the makeup of the team because I am Australian!! If they had named a team with Bell and/or Harmison I would've laughed....but I have no idea about these other fellos other than a bit of Bopara. New guys can sometimes come in and have immediate effect.....Sidebottom was highly successful a year or two ago..Siddle was extremely good in his second series....Ishant Sharma was very good against Australia in his first series. Cricket has never been more interesting....Australia smashed India at home, India smashed Australia at home...South Africa smashed Australia away, Australia smashed south africa away. The only team holding onto their old fellas is the Indians....but they are running out of time before they retire and may never be better ranked than 3. Englad did the right thing.....but no one should really get any pats on the back until we find out if it worked!! Ashes is still and will always be the only test series Australians and Englishmen care about

  • Eddy on May 4, 2009, 20:14 GMT

    Easy guys, relax a bit.

    I am a pakistani supporter and also support Australia.

    England is relying alot on overseas player both domestically and internationally.

    Top run getters and top wickets takers in Australia, Pakistan, west indies, south africa, india and sri lanka is usually a local player but when it comes to England its always an oversease player. Mushtaq Ahmed wasn't good enough to play for Pakistan but in english county cricket he is considered a legend.

    And somebody please tell Kevin Pietersen that he is not bigger than the game. He is just a bad example for good player who don't get chance to play at top level.

  • Martin on May 4, 2009, 18:10 GMT

    biswa ranjan, this is why supporters of other nations have problems with Indian cricket fans. You are so parochial it's untrue. If you followed World cricket, you would know that the reason Simon Jones has dropped off the radar is because of extensive and continuous injury problems. There has not been a period of a 3-6 week test series where the man has been fit since 2005 Ashes. As for Vaughan, most of your fellow bleaters laugh at us for considering him, so we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

  • Anonymous on May 4, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    Interesting article, but who will get the blame/credit after England win/lose. Looking back to the 2005 ashes, it was the coach who became a celebrated hero, nobody gave the selectors any credit at all.

    Whoever is responsible, I think it's a bold move to select based purely on merit, and the only justifiable one given the current performance of the england squad, be it in the Carribbean or India before then. Nobody is expecting miracles, but to be solidly competitive for now would be welcome. If we can perform well against the West Indies it would set a platform for an interesting series against the Aussies who have been toppled off their perch somewhat - it won't be 2005 - 2 teams at the top of their game, but the teams will be better blanced than most other times in the recent past.

    And seriously guys, if there is an interesting article about the Indian team on this site, bully for you - go read it and comment on that.

  • biswa ranjan on May 4, 2009, 17:18 GMT

    Mike ok u gave cricket to the world but nothing to cricket.u also originate football so many great star still poor show.but thing is that why these things happening.poor in cricket also in football in spite of so many great stars.I also want England to defeat Aus.but i am sure they cant.tell me where is Simon jones?U forgot him.That is the problem with Engilsh team.That is why no one scored 10000 or took 300 wicket.because they are not given enough chance.I think at least vaughn deserves a place.honestly tell me do u think england team is better than india team? can u compare sachin and dravid to any current english man?u got hick,thrope,stewart,atherton in last decade.still u couldnt won acess at their time.dont forget in 2005 u won a match by 2 runs only.otherwise result might be different.so forget about acess and T20 WC.think about 2011 WC.A chance might be their. one thing u people can never forget that Stuart broad over of 6 sixes.can u?And he is the best bowler in England.haha..

  • Nick on May 4, 2009, 16:49 GMT

    I think any attempt to shake up the sitting team is a good thing, picking on past reputation like which always seems to happen tends to just hold the team back more and more. There's three separate forms of Cricket now, logic would indicate one of the squads has to be used to trial players from County teams. Maybe that's the future of the ODI side, seeing as it's rapidly assuming third place in the format war.

    [Mike: Oooh, there's a lot of meat in that comment.

    There is also value in maintaining a settled team rather than chopping and changing all the time. I think what's important is that those in the XI understand that while they aren't likely to get dropped for one bad match, they have to keep performing to keep their places.

    But I don't see where logic enters into using one squad for trialling players. If the three forms of the game are distinct and demand differing skill sets, how is picking someone for a 50-over game going to tell you much about whether he can play a Test innings? The only sure way of finding out whether someone is good enough to play T20 (for instance) is to pick them for a T20 game.]

  • relax on May 4, 2009, 16:49 GMT

    you guys need to chill and smoke sum...lol

  • levi on May 4, 2009, 16:35 GMT

    Hi Mike, good article as always, I wish your strong arguments and good insights weren't all reduced to Indian bloggers trashing all other teams with poor diction and punctuation, reducing the original subject to an irrelevance. Surely the blog keeper can remove any articles that don't address the actual subject. I mean what has Englands team selection got to do with India? Soon all blogs could take the same form. Interesting piece followed by irrelevant arrogance.

    [Mike: I tend to publish nearly all comments on my pieces unless they are downright offensive. It is not uncommon for tangential discussions to go off in interesting directions - even if this one has not. But if people whose only contribution is to say "My team is better than your rubbish one" feel like demonstrating that they really are stupider than the rest, who am I to prevent them making fools of themselves?]

  • Vinish on May 4, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    Hey, what is the moderator here doing for the comments by different people? Why you guys don't have and use your personal blogs rather than vitiating the atmosphere here ar cricinfo platform?

    Admin, please help!

  • Sandy_bangalore on May 4, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    Mr Saptarishi, Cricket is one of englands legacy when they left us in the 1947. No england, and we wouldnt even be the one sport country that we are at the moment. You are one of those new breed of Indian supporters who wants to indulge in games of one-upmanship with english and aussie supporters. Thankfully people like you are in a minority and you can continue with your pea-brain size ways as long as you like. Wonder if there are doctors who treat cases of 'delusionitis'!

  • biswa ranjan on May 4, 2009, 16:04 GMT

    India and soth africa will rule the cricket world hence after.u English people you forgot 5-0 lose to India so easily.Freddie and KP are the most costly player of IPL.where is their performance?This arrogant nature is dragging England team down.English fans please tell me how many English men scored 10000 runs?how many took more than 300 wickets?how many world cup u won?how many champions trophy?how many asses in last 20 years?Never dare to compare ur team with team India.U are miles behind us. now reply me what u gave to cricket??

    [Mike: Ever thought where the game originated, old son?]

  • Captain Swing on May 4, 2009, 14:41 GMT

    If you are Indian Saptarshi you must reconcile yourself to being a citizen of a billion bodied basket case which still receives aid from the UK. I seem to remember that the current Indian team faced with a less than flat deck in the second home Test v South Africa last year were all out for beggar all in 18 overs. They don't seem to like quick bowling.

  • Saptarshi on May 4, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    Jhonny Mc India has won 2 world cups 20-20 included and world championship of cricket in 1985 in its 60 years of existence. What has England won? India produced arguably one of the best test batsmen Gavaskar who scored everywhere and did not whinge about so called dodgy pitches. No one is asking u to watch IPL but methinks its better than watching ashes and any of those small Indians is still better than ur lousy stuart broad and unfit freddie. If u call people like laxman, dravid and sehwag with inflated average then u should start watching baseball.

    [Mike: OK, we get it. You're not interested in England. Now run away and play somewhere else and leave this discussion to those of us who are.]

  • venkat on May 4, 2009, 13:52 GMT

    Selection is a simple art of putting a best eleven out in the middle based on form,experience,combinations and conditions. I call it an art because if logic were to become the cornerstone of selectoral success then we would have scientists selecting cricket teams. Reading most of the English press, there has been a lot of garbage about the selection being a statement of intent from Andy Flower. Michael Vaughn has not made a run, Bell doesnt look like making a run and Shah is warming the IPL benches. So the best option was Bopara. The fast bowling situation was as simple, with Steve Harmison not bowling a spell of note in the series in the carribean. The larger point here is, selection that has been dispassionate and purely based on merit, talent,future potential and form has always worked.The coach should have as little effect on the game as possible. Least being selection.

  • Anonymous on May 4, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    Exactly, to be really honest here, the Aussies for the last 10-15 years have been the only team clearly ahead of the others. The Indians get carried away too easily. Beat all the other teams convincingly by a margin of 2 tests per series over atleats 4-5 years and then cocky if you want to. Right now, all the top 7-8 teams are fairly the same, with the one in form on a given day beating the other. The England team is a growing one. I for one would urge our selectors to get over the Flintoff issue and look forward. We have Harris, Finn and Rashid to follow the present attack and I believe we are definitely on the upswing here. The results will follow over the next couple of years. And it was a mighty great decision on Andy Flower's part to get rid of Bell. He has the strokes but not the mental attitude to play at the very top.

  • jatin on May 4, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Performance alone does not justify following. However, one point I would like to make about English cricket and English press in particular- people are either black or white- very few are gray. Picture this- Pietersen was appointed captain, and one article said-"The turbulent times require a leader like Pietersen who has a vision, drive and an in-your-face-attitude." Then after all the you-know-what, Strauss was handed over the captaincy. Then- "The turbulent times require Strauss to be the captain- some one with a laid back attitude, who can actually identify where we are going wrong." All you writers desperately try to paint a rosy picture of what is essentially down in the dumps. All you fans, nothing against you. I used to feel the same during whitewashes down under. Here is hoping that England play above pedestrian, and here is praying that the English press write above pedestrian.

  • Johnny Mc on May 4, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    Nice article and congratulations to the England selectors for picking seasoned county players with form behind them. As for the comments above from Saptarshi-what on earth has India given cricket apart from Sachin? They BCCI backs Zimbabwe to the hilt and we have to endure an Indian 20/20 league full of little Indians who will never make the grade(fodder) and last of all,plenty of inflated batting averages from batsmen playing on roads year in year out.

  • Saptarshi on May 4, 2009, 12:15 GMT

    Martin if that's the case so be it. I have heard a zillion times from despo english journos about the 2005 ashes being the greatest test series. Gimme a break man. Beating Australia at home without Mc Grath whats the big deal. The greatest test series was the one played between west indies and pakistan in west indies in the mid 80's. 86 if I am rite. So get over it. No one cares about your team or your lousy cricket. I for one would not mind England being demoted to associate status cos their cricket is plain rubbish.

  • Adam on May 4, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    The author is English, that's why he cares about English cricket. So am I, that's why I care about it. It's not our fault they're rubbish

  • Martin on May 4, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    For God's sake mate, you might not care but some of us actually live in England and follow the team. If you don't care, why read the bloody article and then comment on it? Typical 'Ravi Shastri' attitude on display from yet another Indian with a quickly growing superiority complex.

  • Saptarshi on May 4, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    don't know what is this hoo haa over England team. Honestly I don't give a toss. They are a lowly ranked team and I for one will not stay up late night to watch the boring ashes anyway. Get over it guys no one cares a damn about english cricket. They can't even beat a under strength carribean team.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Saptarshi on May 4, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    don't know what is this hoo haa over England team. Honestly I don't give a toss. They are a lowly ranked team and I for one will not stay up late night to watch the boring ashes anyway. Get over it guys no one cares a damn about english cricket. They can't even beat a under strength carribean team.

  • Martin on May 4, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    For God's sake mate, you might not care but some of us actually live in England and follow the team. If you don't care, why read the bloody article and then comment on it? Typical 'Ravi Shastri' attitude on display from yet another Indian with a quickly growing superiority complex.

  • Adam on May 4, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    The author is English, that's why he cares about English cricket. So am I, that's why I care about it. It's not our fault they're rubbish

  • Saptarshi on May 4, 2009, 12:15 GMT

    Martin if that's the case so be it. I have heard a zillion times from despo english journos about the 2005 ashes being the greatest test series. Gimme a break man. Beating Australia at home without Mc Grath whats the big deal. The greatest test series was the one played between west indies and pakistan in west indies in the mid 80's. 86 if I am rite. So get over it. No one cares about your team or your lousy cricket. I for one would not mind England being demoted to associate status cos their cricket is plain rubbish.

  • Johnny Mc on May 4, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    Nice article and congratulations to the England selectors for picking seasoned county players with form behind them. As for the comments above from Saptarshi-what on earth has India given cricket apart from Sachin? They BCCI backs Zimbabwe to the hilt and we have to endure an Indian 20/20 league full of little Indians who will never make the grade(fodder) and last of all,plenty of inflated batting averages from batsmen playing on roads year in year out.

  • jatin on May 4, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Performance alone does not justify following. However, one point I would like to make about English cricket and English press in particular- people are either black or white- very few are gray. Picture this- Pietersen was appointed captain, and one article said-"The turbulent times require a leader like Pietersen who has a vision, drive and an in-your-face-attitude." Then after all the you-know-what, Strauss was handed over the captaincy. Then- "The turbulent times require Strauss to be the captain- some one with a laid back attitude, who can actually identify where we are going wrong." All you writers desperately try to paint a rosy picture of what is essentially down in the dumps. All you fans, nothing against you. I used to feel the same during whitewashes down under. Here is hoping that England play above pedestrian, and here is praying that the English press write above pedestrian.

  • Anonymous on May 4, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    Exactly, to be really honest here, the Aussies for the last 10-15 years have been the only team clearly ahead of the others. The Indians get carried away too easily. Beat all the other teams convincingly by a margin of 2 tests per series over atleats 4-5 years and then cocky if you want to. Right now, all the top 7-8 teams are fairly the same, with the one in form on a given day beating the other. The England team is a growing one. I for one would urge our selectors to get over the Flintoff issue and look forward. We have Harris, Finn and Rashid to follow the present attack and I believe we are definitely on the upswing here. The results will follow over the next couple of years. And it was a mighty great decision on Andy Flower's part to get rid of Bell. He has the strokes but not the mental attitude to play at the very top.

  • venkat on May 4, 2009, 13:52 GMT

    Selection is a simple art of putting a best eleven out in the middle based on form,experience,combinations and conditions. I call it an art because if logic were to become the cornerstone of selectoral success then we would have scientists selecting cricket teams. Reading most of the English press, there has been a lot of garbage about the selection being a statement of intent from Andy Flower. Michael Vaughn has not made a run, Bell doesnt look like making a run and Shah is warming the IPL benches. So the best option was Bopara. The fast bowling situation was as simple, with Steve Harmison not bowling a spell of note in the series in the carribean. The larger point here is, selection that has been dispassionate and purely based on merit, talent,future potential and form has always worked.The coach should have as little effect on the game as possible. Least being selection.

  • Saptarshi on May 4, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    Jhonny Mc India has won 2 world cups 20-20 included and world championship of cricket in 1985 in its 60 years of existence. What has England won? India produced arguably one of the best test batsmen Gavaskar who scored everywhere and did not whinge about so called dodgy pitches. No one is asking u to watch IPL but methinks its better than watching ashes and any of those small Indians is still better than ur lousy stuart broad and unfit freddie. If u call people like laxman, dravid and sehwag with inflated average then u should start watching baseball.

    [Mike: OK, we get it. You're not interested in England. Now run away and play somewhere else and leave this discussion to those of us who are.]

  • Captain Swing on May 4, 2009, 14:41 GMT

    If you are Indian Saptarshi you must reconcile yourself to being a citizen of a billion bodied basket case which still receives aid from the UK. I seem to remember that the current Indian team faced with a less than flat deck in the second home Test v South Africa last year were all out for beggar all in 18 overs. They don't seem to like quick bowling.