September 24, 2010

Ashes

Drop Cook, play Morgan

George Binoy

England are taking Eoin Morgan to Australia and Duncan Fletcher, writing in the Guardian, says its critical that they fit him into the team at No. 6 for the first Test.

If England are going to fit Morgan in, obviously someone else will have to make way. The men to look at here are the No2 and No3 in the order, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott. I think Cook should be the man who is dropped. I have written before about the qualities Cook brings to the team apart from his ability as a batsman. The management clearly like him as a character and see him as a good influence on the team. But the runs Trott has scored in international cricket since he came into the team outweigh those criteria. On top of that the one major concern I would have about the English batting is their propensity for sudden collapses. They have not managed to shake off this habit, as we saw again and again in both the recent Test and one-day series. Trott, like Morgan, seems to be a cool player in a crisis, with a steady temperament and an ability to handle pressure.

In his analysis of England's Ashes squad for the Telegraph, Shane Warne says the visitors' success could hinge on how Graeme Swann performs. He also throws light on why Chris Tremlett could prove crucial for England if he bowls with the right attitude.

Graeme Swann is the No 1 spinner. He is the most improved cricketer in the world and has had another good summer. For me he is the key to the Ashes. If Swann is successful, England will do well in Australia. I believe that because when it is hot and sunny in Australia and England are bowling on flat wickets, he is going to bowl a lot of overs. Australians sometimes struggle against good off-spinners, so he will play a massive part ...

... I captained Tremlett for a long time and I tried everything to get him to be more aggressive. In the nets he is the best bowler in the world, bar none. He is unplayable. But trying to get that form and aggression out in the middle was hard.

I tried everything. I was nice to him and supported him. I tried to be nasty by batting him at No 11 to make him angry. But he was just a bit soft. There was nothing nasty about him and he was a great fella but he needed to toughen up and get a bit more aggressive. His body language was awful. To play international cricket his body language had to improve and he had to learn the difference between a niggle and when there is actually something wrong with your body.

I hear and read cricketers who have never played in Australia say that the crowds, media and Aussie players will not get to them. Well, we will see, writes Angus Fraser in the Independent.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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