September 10, 2013

England's enviable perfect balance

How did the Ashes holders get their side just right?

England skipper Eoin Morgan has refuted suggestions that the "balance of the side" was wrong in Sunday's heavy defeat to Australia at Old Trafford.

An Official Team England Team Selection Spokesperson Analyst Operative, speaking on condition of anonymity and that quotes would be totally made up, further defended the team.

"Very much so. I think that we got the balance of the side right. If you look at it, we've covered our bases in all the right areas.

"We've got two lads from South Africa and a couple of Irishmen. Ben Stokes has come in from being born in New Zealand and he's slotted in nicely at No. 8.

"Obviously, he's ginger as well, so that's a big tick in certain affirmative-action boxes, if you know what I'm saying. I think I'm right in saying that gingers count as a minority?"

Even if it does transpire that gingers are not an oppressed people or endangered species, England feel that the XI selected on Sunday was a well-rounded outfit.

"We've got five lads who have a nickname ending in 'y' and I think Trotty, Rooty, Morgany, Stokesy and Finny have a lot to be proud of in terms not just of their performances but of having a nice, easy nickname that gives you a good blend of flexibility and easy to rememberability.

"Obviously Carberry-y has taken some time to settle in the team but there's no reason to suppose he can't overcome having a name that is a bit difficult to add a 'y' to the end of. He's too good a player to go without getting a good nickname for long.

"Look at Ravi-y Bopara-y. He was in and out and never really settled with a nickname on account of a few technical issues with a name ending in a vowel, but he's worked incredibly hard and now he's really come into his own as a hard-hitting contributor with a deceptively explosive 'The Ravster' handle."

The spokesman felt that the team was a good mixture of lads who can bat, lads who can bowl, and lads who are a good lad to have around the place and very much in the mould of a Gilo type.

"If you look at a Gilo type, like Gilo for instance, you've got a lad who not only chipped in with a few handy runs down the order and got through his overs, but gave you 110% in the field and was brilliant value in the 19th hole afterwards.

"If we had a team of 11 Gilo types, that would be very much so an ideal line-up in this format, especially if you could add in a smattering of 11 of your Paul Collingwoods.

"Basically, the perfectly balanced team would be 11 Gilo types mixed in with 11 of your Paul Collingwoods. What an XI that would be. Or a XXII."

"In terms of your more modern player, someone like a Stokesy gives you the all-round abilities of a Gilo type with the qualities of your Paul Collingwoods. Obviously the batting and the bowling can be added further down the line, but overall we very much feel that if there's one thing this ODI side definitely has, it's balance.

"Obviously the only thing that's really missing is Gary Ballance, who is a great lad and very much in our thinking if we can find a way to get him in the side without upsetting the balance of the rest of the team."

The spokesman confirmed that positives had been taken and we would move forward and learn from the experience.

More balanced insights in CrickiLeaks: The Secret Ashes Diaries, here