Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney January 1, 2014

England set to gamble on Borthwick

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England will make the first tentative steps into a new age as they reach the final Test in Sydney with the series long gone and a growing acceptance that the team that has served them so well needs refreshing.

To that end, Scott Borthwick looks set to become the first legspinner capped by England since Ian Salisbury was recalled against Pakistan in December 2000, a brief flirtation with leg spin which also saw Chris Schofield play two Tests earlier that year.

The fast bowler Boyd Rankin and the middle-order batsman Garry Ballance are also pushing for inclusion. If all three play, it will be the first time England have had three debutants in the same Test since Nagpur in March 2006 when Monty Panesar, Ian Blackwell and Alastair Cook all won their first caps.

It would complete a rapid rise to prominence for Borthwick. He had been due to return to the UK on Monday having played Grade cricket in Sydney - he played alongside Brad Haddin in one game - and is still due on the Lions tour of Sri Lanka in March. Now, at 23, he is going to be given the opportunity of filling the rather large shoes of Graeme Swann.

England are asking a great deal. With 28 wickets at 38 apiece in the last Championship season, Borthwick was 14th in the Durham bowling averages. While his batting was a revelation - promoted to No. 3 from No. 8 he scored 1,022 Championship runs - he is being picked more with a view to his spin bowling than his batting. He will, however, stiffen the tail - he could well bat at No. 8 - and improve England's fielding.

The experience of Simon Kerrigan is a concern. Kerrigan, who has a significantly better first-class bowling record than Borthwick (a bowling average of 26.68 compared to 31.29, albeit on generally more helpful Old Trafford surfaces) endured a horrendous debut at The Oval at the end of the previous series after he appeared to wilt in the face of a ferocious assault from Australia's batsmen.

It seems inevitable Australia will target Borthwick in the same manner, with Haddin, described as "a good fella" by Borthwick, suggesting the young legspinner will be "monstered".

"Leg-spin is hard," Borthwick admitted phlegmatically on Wednesday. "You've got to accept you are going to bowl bad balls, and blokes are going to come after you. You've got to a bit of fight, try to get competitive and spin the ball past them. When batters do come at you, it gives you a chance to get wickets."

Whether he plays as the main spinner or fulfils a role alongside Monty Panesar, who has reportedly been complaining of a tight calf, or even James Tredwell remains to be seen. The days when Sydney offered much turn are gone, so England could utilise Joe Root, who out-bowled Panesar in Melbourne, as the second spinner.

The relative success of Ben Stokes might yet be remembered as the only light amid the gloom of this series for England. While his century at Perth was the most memorable of his achievements, he has also shown burgeoning ability with the ball. Again, it would be a big ask, but he could be used as one of only three seamers if England feel the need to play two spinners.

If Rankin plays it is likely to be in place of Tim Bresnan and if Ballance plays it is likely to be instead of Michael Carberry. That would necessitate Root moving back up to the opening position - his third batting position of the series - and might well see Ian Bell promoted to the No. 3 position. Root has already batted in every position between two and seven in his 15 Tests and the dropping of Carberry, like the dropping of Nick Compton before him, would be an admission of failure on the behalf of the selectors.

Ballance looks a fine prospect. While he arrived on the tour carrying more weight than might be expected from a professional cricketer in this age, he scored 1,251 Championship runs in the 2013 season and has a first-class average of 53.33. The fact that he is Zimbabwe born will provoke some, although he was schooled in England, but of more relevance is the fact that he appears to have a solid game without obvious faults and, aged 24, could play a role for much of the next decade.

There were some raised eyebrows when England opted to skip nets and concentrate on fielding practice on Wednesday. To some, England's performances in this series have underlined how much work they have in front of them, though in reality there is little that one more net session could do to restore the balance of power at this stage.

It may be pertinent to note that when England won the final Test of the 2002-03 series having gone into the game 4-0 down, they spent the preceding days indulging thoroughly at New Year and enjoying games of football instead of nets. Sometimes a break is of more value than another net session.

While England explore new players, it might also prove worthwhile exploring the system and the coaches that are meant to produce them.

Since Jonathan Trott made his Test debut in 2009, England have brought 13 new players into their Test side. While several, the likes of Steven Finn and James Taylor, may come again, there should be a concern that of them all, perhaps only Root and Stokes have adapted to the level with anything like comfort.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that a gap has developed between domestic and international cricket that was not there when Matt Prior, Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Trott were scoring centuries on Test debut or when Bell and Kevin Pietersen were scoring half-centuries and James Anderson was taking a five-wicket haul.

The lack of developing young spinners and fast bowlers is a particular concern. The ECB have employed specialist coaches for several years in such positions but, while national head coaches and captains are subject to great public scrutiny, those operating at developmental level seem to live a somewhat cosy life just below the radar. But it is faults at those levels that eventually weaken the national side.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • YorkshirePudding on January 3, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    @Raja Khan, actually Moeen Ali is not a Leg spinner he bowls Right arm Off breaks. Yes he was the leading FC run scorer with an average of 62.5, but played in Division 2, however he scored only 125 runs more than Ballance who played 6 fewer innings.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    Have to say I agree with woodgreen. As much as I like him as a prospect, Joe Root should be dropped and Carberry remain as an opener. I do think Carberry was at fault at the MCG, batted negatively when Cook needed a partner but overall, he has looked pretty comfortable batting again a fired up Johnson. By the way, who else thinks Nathan Lyon did not bowl well enough to take 5 wickets at Melbourne? The English certainly helped his cause.

  • CricketCoachDB on January 2, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer two good points that I agree with about pitches and time of games. Not having a pop, I agree, he certainly CAN bowl! And as a leggie, he has great prospects as a potential wicket-taking bowler in Australia in the future. Although most spinners faced similar problems with English pitches aside from maybe Raynor and Kerrigan. He actually took his career best figures relatively early in the season. What concerns me is that as the pitches got drier and more conducive to spin, he actually bowled less and less and got more and more expensive: at the same time, his batting was getting better and better. Without seeing him much bar some T20, it looks statistically like a bowler either hitting a really bad run of form or getting the "yips". I almost expected him to say that he was concentrating on his batting. It's certainly an odd time form-wise to select him for a Test debut, but I suppose they have no faith in Monty or Kerrigan. Lets hope he flourishes as an all-rounder.

  • on January 2, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    How about Moeen Ali, he bowls leg spin, has learnt a few tricks from Ajmal. Not only does he bowl, was he not the Top Run scorer in the County Circuit? A real talent, how long will it take for the establishment to recognise a great talent? who could be the answer to England 's success. My opinion for too long, good players are burnt out on the County Set up.

  • on January 2, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    "The lack of developing young spinners and fast bowlers is a particular concern" Indeed, but it is also worth mentioning that one fast bowling prospect (Jamie Overton) who was selected for the EPP and left in England for conditioning work in the gym, is now out with an injury!! What muppets do we have coaching the rising talent? http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/story/703515.html

  • jmcilhinney on January 2, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    I think that it's a good move playing Borthwick. It seems that Monty might be hurt anyway but he's not the answer even if fit. England need a good spinner going forward and Borthwick is one of the prospects. He seems to have been concentrating on his batting lately but a Test call-up could be enough to inspire him to raise his game with the ball. Even if he's not good enough to be a genuine first spinner, if he can bat #3 for Durham then maybe he's good enough to bat #6 for England, or at least may become good enough. He's certainly worth a look anyway.

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 2, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    I think that if Australia play the same side to get 5-0 in this game they are only to be applauded for being so damned ruthless. I see it as a pathetic weakness on our part that instead of going for the jugular at the Oval and maybe having a better plartform for this series we soft pedalled it and gave Woakes and Kerrigan debuts. I regarded it then as 'typically' English to give the sucker an even break, even help him to his feet and wipe his face for him. Such good sportsmanship should not be regarded as good sport.. This is not some adaptation of a Jeeves novel, or an implementation of Kipling's trite phrase about failure and success. This is the Ashes and these days if you do not maximise opportunities the game rises up,laughs in your face and whacks you. Australia understand this. We do not!! Barring hell freezing over there will be no change for Sydney to Australia. We are saps.I heard Marks on Allott's show before Old Trafford saying it would be nice if Aus won.Happy,Vic?

  • YorkshirePudding on January 2, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    @dunger.bob, I agree England are not in a better position than Aus, we have a larger talent pool to pick from at FC level (18 FC sides vs 6 Aus FC sides) but that isnt necessarily a good thing.

    Sometimes Less is more, as the talent concentrates and competition for places is generally stronger.

    Aus have always produced competative sportsmen and women, especially when they are playing against England. at the moment I dont see who the emerging talent is in England. There are so many names mentioned mainly by pundits pushing players in thier old clubs (eg Boycott/Vaughan & Yorks).

    Mills looks promising, but i fear he could be come a Devon Malcom Mk II. Batting wise, Lees at Yorks looks ok but after only a handfull of games its difficult to say for certain.

  • woodgreen on January 2, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Carberry useless?2nd highest run scorer.Root should be dropped first and even then i cant see the point of dropping people for the sake of it.Give the side one last shot at redemption and then rethink in May.Basically we have the best players in England here,weve been thoroughtly outplayed by the better team whos fast bowlers have been at their best and too good for us.

  • dscoll on January 2, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Stokes has played one good innings, that's it. I don't see how that qualifies as adjusting to test cricket with "comfort"

  • YorkshirePudding on January 3, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    @Raja Khan, actually Moeen Ali is not a Leg spinner he bowls Right arm Off breaks. Yes he was the leading FC run scorer with an average of 62.5, but played in Division 2, however he scored only 125 runs more than Ballance who played 6 fewer innings.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    Have to say I agree with woodgreen. As much as I like him as a prospect, Joe Root should be dropped and Carberry remain as an opener. I do think Carberry was at fault at the MCG, batted negatively when Cook needed a partner but overall, he has looked pretty comfortable batting again a fired up Johnson. By the way, who else thinks Nathan Lyon did not bowl well enough to take 5 wickets at Melbourne? The English certainly helped his cause.

  • CricketCoachDB on January 2, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer two good points that I agree with about pitches and time of games. Not having a pop, I agree, he certainly CAN bowl! And as a leggie, he has great prospects as a potential wicket-taking bowler in Australia in the future. Although most spinners faced similar problems with English pitches aside from maybe Raynor and Kerrigan. He actually took his career best figures relatively early in the season. What concerns me is that as the pitches got drier and more conducive to spin, he actually bowled less and less and got more and more expensive: at the same time, his batting was getting better and better. Without seeing him much bar some T20, it looks statistically like a bowler either hitting a really bad run of form or getting the "yips". I almost expected him to say that he was concentrating on his batting. It's certainly an odd time form-wise to select him for a Test debut, but I suppose they have no faith in Monty or Kerrigan. Lets hope he flourishes as an all-rounder.

  • on January 2, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    How about Moeen Ali, he bowls leg spin, has learnt a few tricks from Ajmal. Not only does he bowl, was he not the Top Run scorer in the County Circuit? A real talent, how long will it take for the establishment to recognise a great talent? who could be the answer to England 's success. My opinion for too long, good players are burnt out on the County Set up.

  • on January 2, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    "The lack of developing young spinners and fast bowlers is a particular concern" Indeed, but it is also worth mentioning that one fast bowling prospect (Jamie Overton) who was selected for the EPP and left in England for conditioning work in the gym, is now out with an injury!! What muppets do we have coaching the rising talent? http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/story/703515.html

  • jmcilhinney on January 2, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    I think that it's a good move playing Borthwick. It seems that Monty might be hurt anyway but he's not the answer even if fit. England need a good spinner going forward and Borthwick is one of the prospects. He seems to have been concentrating on his batting lately but a Test call-up could be enough to inspire him to raise his game with the ball. Even if he's not good enough to be a genuine first spinner, if he can bat #3 for Durham then maybe he's good enough to bat #6 for England, or at least may become good enough. He's certainly worth a look anyway.

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 2, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    I think that if Australia play the same side to get 5-0 in this game they are only to be applauded for being so damned ruthless. I see it as a pathetic weakness on our part that instead of going for the jugular at the Oval and maybe having a better plartform for this series we soft pedalled it and gave Woakes and Kerrigan debuts. I regarded it then as 'typically' English to give the sucker an even break, even help him to his feet and wipe his face for him. Such good sportsmanship should not be regarded as good sport.. This is not some adaptation of a Jeeves novel, or an implementation of Kipling's trite phrase about failure and success. This is the Ashes and these days if you do not maximise opportunities the game rises up,laughs in your face and whacks you. Australia understand this. We do not!! Barring hell freezing over there will be no change for Sydney to Australia. We are saps.I heard Marks on Allott's show before Old Trafford saying it would be nice if Aus won.Happy,Vic?

  • YorkshirePudding on January 2, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    @dunger.bob, I agree England are not in a better position than Aus, we have a larger talent pool to pick from at FC level (18 FC sides vs 6 Aus FC sides) but that isnt necessarily a good thing.

    Sometimes Less is more, as the talent concentrates and competition for places is generally stronger.

    Aus have always produced competative sportsmen and women, especially when they are playing against England. at the moment I dont see who the emerging talent is in England. There are so many names mentioned mainly by pundits pushing players in thier old clubs (eg Boycott/Vaughan & Yorks).

    Mills looks promising, but i fear he could be come a Devon Malcom Mk II. Batting wise, Lees at Yorks looks ok but after only a handfull of games its difficult to say for certain.

  • woodgreen on January 2, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Carberry useless?2nd highest run scorer.Root should be dropped first and even then i cant see the point of dropping people for the sake of it.Give the side one last shot at redemption and then rethink in May.Basically we have the best players in England here,weve been thoroughtly outplayed by the better team whos fast bowlers have been at their best and too good for us.

  • dscoll on January 2, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Stokes has played one good innings, that's it. I don't see how that qualifies as adjusting to test cricket with "comfort"

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on January 2, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    It is always fantastic to see leggies playing in the Ashes, although it will be strange if they are not in green and gold. If Borthwick or Rashid play at some stage I wish them well and hope they are ready.

    If either of them make it, I will be waiting for the recycled Warne ditties from the Barmy Army and the strangled calls of "Go Warnie!" from Aussies.

  • Arrow011 on January 2, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Bring Ballance in for the useless Carberry * Borthwick instead of Tremlett. England needs 2 spinners playing all the time, anyway they are getting whacked allover the park, why not play 2-3 spinners & surprise the Aussies? Spin alone is the weakness of Australia. Go & spin the web around them.

  • dunger.bob on January 2, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    @ YorkshirePudding: I'll go along with that. We once had a bloke by the name of Peter Toohey. He was an absolute stand out in the Shield and expected to dominate in Test cricket. .. Never happened of course. That's why you probably thought to yourself "Peter who?".

    However, I've got to say that we do seem to have some promising talent emerging down here. 90% of them won't make it, but for the first time in quite a while there are some decent batting prospects and it gives me hope for the future. .. I just can't accept that England are that much better placed than we are. If you are then you are in really good shape I'd say.

  • YorkshirePudding on January 2, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    @dunger.bob, its always difficult to say what talent is waiting especially at the FC and grade/semi-pro levels, as not everyone can make the step up due to the pressure while there are those that thrive under the pressure and out perform thier lower level stats.

    For that reason Its always difficult to say where any team will be in 3+ years, as talents can quickly emerge that throw predictions off, as an example 3-5 years ago you had people like Lyth and Rashid at yorks, and Hildreth from Somerset (among others) being touted as international, while the likes of Stokes, Root, Taylor, Ballance and Bairstow were not on the radar.

  • on January 2, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    @mehulmatrix, the problems with Kerrigan and Panesar aren't related to their actual bowling. Kerrigan had a nightmare, which happens - look at Warnie's first few tests, not exactly stellar, but I think the concerns about his mental strength (Salisbury had the same problem, he was a very good bowler actually, but couldn't cope with any sort of real pressure). Panesar had social problems (polite) which caused him to be released by Sussex mid season, which you don't do to the best spinner in the country without good reason. I don't know if Borthwick has the guts for it or not - it's always a possibility with leggies.

  • dunger.bob on January 2, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @ Land47: Can't agree that England has better young players than us. Your test side struggled every step of the way on this tour and that includes the warm ups where we were playing blokes who'd barely played a first class game yet. Carters being a prime example. He took a casual 90 odd at a good rate off some of England's current and fringe test players. .. He wasn't the only young unknown to surprise your guys either. .. I'm happy to say that England and Australia's up and coming talent is about equal, but deep down I'll be thinking we have you in a corner and damned if we'll let up until until this thing is flogged right out.

  • YorkshirePudding on January 2, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    @CoverDrive88, completely agree, those players on Central contracts dont play enough FC games as they seem to be on the international merry-go-round. England had it about right pre 2009 when players would be regularly released to play domestic cricket either side of international series, which allowed batsmen to regain form and bowlers to maintain or gain confidence.

    England have had a problem with the Number 6 position since colly retired and bell moved to 5, since 2011 we've had at least 5 players put in that slot for various lengths of run (Morgan, Bairstow, Bopara, Root, Stokes).

    If root is to be a long term opener he needs to be kept in that position, not moved around the order like Bell was in the early part of his career.

  • landl47 on January 2, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    You can use selective stats to show what you want; the last 13 players to make their debuts for England may not have produced regular England players yet, but the 13 before that produced Prior, Broad, Swann, Bresnan and Trott. The game really didn't change that much over that period. Strauss, Bell and Pietersen made their debuts successively; that doesn't mean for a brief period England produced very good players, it's just the way it goes.

    England has a very good crop of young players now (much better than Australia's youngsters), but they'll take time to mature and some of them won't make it. Test cricket sorts out the best players from the merely very good and it's rare for a side to have even 11 top quality players at once. Not even SA has that at the moment.

  • SoyQuearns on January 2, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    @200ondebut: Not really. David Warner had around 1300 first class runs at over 55 when he debuted. This was significantly better than most other FC batsmens output around that time.

    His debut came after a run of form that saw him hit serveral BIG hundreds including his FC high score of 211. He played T20 for Oz after hitting 160 off 110 and 90 off 50 in the One Day Domestic competition just weeks earlier. If anything, Warners inclusion in the test team was a paint by numbers selection based on form and potential. The T20 inclusion was a little left field given his inexperience but even then his form was there and his style suited T20 perfectly, so why not...

    #Nothingtodowithballs

  • CoverDrive88 on January 2, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    The really important point raised here is the last one - the increasing gap between international and domestic. The marketers love continuous internationals but the result is more top players not playing in domestic cricket and a significant and on-going decline in standards. In due course that will mean lower international standards as well. Then where will the game be? I've said it before but I'll say it again - players like Border and Greg Chappell made regular appearances in grade cricket and played almost all Shield games. And overseas players like Viv Richards and Botham played seasons in the Shield. That would have had massive benefits in terms of experience for younger players. Not too much later and people like Ponting and Clarke almost never play Shield, let alone club cricket, and there are no overseas players. There is a serious risk of the greedy administrators and marketers killing the goose that lays the golden egg, or at least crippling it.

  • mehulmatrix on January 2, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Well,seems like a gamble that is bound to be bad for team and Borthwick. Players should be picked on performances majorly, rather than x-factor. Kerrigan has a good record, but was tonked in one game, so not be considered again? So many players like Kallis, Attapattu, Kohli, Warne,etc took time to settle. At early stage they need backing & confidence. Also Carberry at least has been steady, Cook has not scored much. I think even a move like resting Cook and handing over captaincy to Bell can be a good change. Captaincy of Cook also has a lot to be desired, doesnt seem to back his players. Also now Monty not the best spinner in Eng? Defeats seem to put thinking of all in a spin!

  • on January 2, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    I agree that Joe Root is seen as the future of england in every discipline. He fields at slip and drops catches, fields short leg with limited experience, when not occupied with over shadowing englands only international quality spinner. He also kept wicket in a warm up game I believe. He has no place in the england team as he is vunerable as a batsmen and his non turning spinners could be replaced by kp, who may actually take a couple of wickets. He showed in melbourne that he is poor around the off stump and did not to play, leave or defend

  • on January 2, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    I suspect the 2015 Ashes will be between two very different sides - not a bad idea for England to blood some new players. Both sides have 12 tests before then, with a good mix of stiff and (likely) weaker opposition, it will be interesting to watch what develops.

  • Jagger on January 2, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    I think it is a disgrace the older Australian players in Australia's team are calling for no change. Talk about self-serving! A 4-nil drubbing handed to England is enough. Time to blood some youngsters and give them a feel of beating England.

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 2, 2014, 0:24 GMT

    11 for Sydney,please selectors. Cook, Carberry, Bell, KP, Balance/Root,Stokes, Prior,Borthwick, Broad,Anderson,Finn. I say either Balance or Root because I just do not know Ballance's capabilities. RToot might work because he could free up at 5. I certainly do not want him higher for a while.

  • class9ryan on January 2, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    Quite a bit of problems for England.... We might see Buttler in tests soon the way they are going and one Ashes loss... the team looks completely unsettled

  • RednWhiteArmy on January 2, 2014, 0:13 GMT

    Carberry should be dropped because the aussies have figured him out. Around the wicket and OUT!

  • SoyQuearns on January 1, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    Attention invisible English forum hounds who disappeared after the first test hiding we Aussies dished out and haven't resurfaced since - you used to mock at us for our inability to readily and easily replace Shane Warne.

    We used some good, some bad and some concerning methods to try replace him, only to realise the obvious and inevitable fact - you can't replace him.

    Swann is no Warne, heck, he retired to spare his average from drifting over 30 that's very obviously true, but the English domestic scene is VOID of spinners.

    Kerrigan is the only one with a decent average and we know what happened when he was last used - absolute embarrassment.

    Your county stocks are threadbare (especially when you discount the NZ and SAF elements to your 'local' talent) with regard to pace and swing bowling (you have no fast bowlers and nobody who can swing it at more than 104km/h), have an embarrassing 'backup' of spin and have maybe 3 batsmen who can bat for more than an hour.

    Enjoy wallowing.

  • dunger.bob on January 1, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    If they do play the young leggie and our blokes go after him (which is almost a given), Cook/Flower will have 6 or 7 fielders patrolling the fence within an a over of the first lusty blow. Shane Warne himself would have trouble picking up wickets with the fields the Poms resort to at the first sign of trouble.

    Panesar should be pretty much at his peak at 32, but he looks very low on confidence to me. ... Flip a coin England.

    Ps. By all accounts the Sydney strip has quickened up a bit and isn't quite as spin friendly as it used to be. Like most Aussie pitches the biggest weapon the spinners can have is lots of overspin to take advantage of that extra bounce. Lateral spin tends to take a back seat here. .. I haven't seen Borthwick bowl so have no idea what he's like, but it's usually easier for leggies to get the ball to bounce than offies, so for that somewhat spurious reason I'd go with Borthwick. Definitely not both though. It'll be over in 3 days if you do.

  • millsy24 on January 1, 2014, 22:16 GMT

    So, all of a sudden Monty has developed an injury. Wow, big surprise there. It was obvious to everyone in Melbourne that the captain didn't want him in the team. It was totally under used and the ultimate insult was that Root bowled before him and bowled way more overs. Root is obviously the golden haired child and can do no wrong. I don't think I have seen to many negative things by the commentators about him, yet they continually have a go at pretty much every other player in the team.

  • on January 1, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    Average of 53 and he's not been playing? Get him in there. I would have thought if they were willing to pay the air flights for Kerrigen and Borthwick that they might have been better spending that dosh on Onions and Compton.

    Cook Root Bell KP Ballance Stokes Bairstow Broad, Finn, Anderson, Panasar

  • on January 1, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    What's with the whole "batsmen don't score centuries on debut anymore" line? Was it not good enough that Stokes scored a ton in his second match? Steven Finn was mightily impressive in his early appearances for England too, I thought, but he's been let down badly. Carberry too has been more than solid enough and I thought Compton also went pretty well early on before being pushed aside... I think the county circuit is probably strong enough to get players up to standard, it's what happens next that is the problem, guys like Finn and Compton are the evidence.

  • Nutcutlet on January 1, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    It's quite likely that Eng is entering a period of flux, when several players will be given fairly extended runs in the side to see if they are genuinely Test class. This may well mean that the number of centrally contracted players is reduced to a small number as only a minority of the current team can be confident of retaining their Test places (Cook, KP, Bell, Broad, Jimmy, Stokes & probably Root). How anyone else can be given a 12 month contract under the present circumstances defeats me. Eng needs to find an opener, at least one top-order batsmen, a 3rd seamer, a w/k and a spinner. The selectors need to go on a long & leisurely walk round the counties and draw up a long list, before getting down to a short one. There will be players that will be tried and fall short after their trial periods, but a proper Test team will emerge in time. Meanwhile, Borthwick, if he is to play at the SCG, cannot have dreamed of appearing in the Ashes this time. Good luck to him. The quest has begun.

  • Legster on January 1, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    I'd say that Monty is a proven test match winner when the pitch turns quickly - his entire approach to bowling consists of driving the ball into the surface at a pace the batsmen cannot get down the pitch to him at; this tour he's bowled too many short balls and flight has been non-existent, even if he did produce one or two beautiful deliveries to get rid of Michael Clarke and Steve Smith in Adelaide.

  • disco_bob on January 1, 2014, 21:26 GMT

    With the series comprehensively won and the knowledge that inflicting more psychological damage on England is irrelevant, I hope that Australia does not try to 'monster' Borthwick for the sake of it and instead plays balls on their merit because in the end it is important for this team going forward and for the national psyche that we complete the series with a five to nothing clinical drubbing. It would also be satisfying if we can get through without a mini batting collapse.

  • on January 1, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    i think the reasoning behind Borthwick's selection is both straight forward and fair enough. Nobody in English Cricket is a like for like replacement of Swann as a cricketer or Bowler alone. Panesar plays on spinning wickets in partnership with swann and is successfull and will continue to be so im sure but. He bowls 6 stock deliveries an over - has no guile or variation at all. As a four man attack he would need to bowl consistently dry and on all surfaces must make himself difficult to score off. Failure to do that renders him useless to the team. Joe Root could theoretically do the same job. Borthwick offers a potentially attacking option which given the success of Stokes as a bowler, or at least promise, isnt very risky in a 5 man attack . Should Borthwick fail, he will still be a good field and could score the odd test ton here or there. Kerrigan im afraid fits the same bill as Panesar.

  • CricketingStargazer on January 1, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    @CricketCoach08 He still averaged 16 overs per match and only played 3 more CC1 matches than Ben Stokes. That's more than an occasional bowler and, not what you would ask of someone who you "know can't bowl"! Incidentally, his strike rate of 57 is quite respectable.

    You need to factor in that (a) half the CC1 games were played in early season, on green pitches, before the T20 break and that (b) Chester-Le-Street is hardly a spinner's paradise at any time. Not exactly conducive to a young spinner who is learning his trade.

    Anyway, my only point was that that the very strongly made statement that Durham know that he can't bowl was perhaps not in accord with the facts as known.

  • on January 1, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Never seen a decent English spinner in Australia - don't think anything will change

  • Murali_the_greatest on January 1, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    Ok, in the India series that Panesar and Swann both played in, it is actually difficult to compare because they didn't play in all the tests together. Monty was not selected for the 1st test in Ahmedabad. However in England's 2 victories which took the series, Monty took 16 wickets as opposed to Swann's 11, so he played a greater part in winning the series and that's the impression that came across What I didn't realise is that the average and SR of Swann in the series as a whole were actually SLIGHTLY better than Monty's. So apologies for getting that wrong but the point remains that Monty is proven test match winner unlike either of his competitors who look likely to usurp him (highly questionable selection policy).

  • CricketCoachDB on January 1, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer Borthwick played in more games than any other Durham bowler. When he played at the same time as young spinners Buckley (FC) and Pringle (OD), the two youngsters bowled more than Borthwick-who was generally hit out of the attack. In quite a few innings when he was the only spinner selected, Borthwick didn't bowl at all. His batting has been an absolute revelation and he deserves to be a candidate as an all-rounder, but he seems to have lost a lot of confidence with the ball in the last year. I fear that the Aussies might make mincemeat of him, but he might make some runs.

  • KiwiPom on January 1, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    I know that Michael Carberry isn't the most talented opener England has ever had but he'd be the last of the batsmen I'd drop. He is after all pretty much the only one who actually wants to be there.

  • thiruven on January 1, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    Root has been caught out with limited strokes. If someone needs to be dropped, it would be Root and not Carberry.

  • on January 1, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Think oz made the mistake more than twice - there's a whole collection of spinners not really given a decent go between Warne/MacGill retirement and Lyon. If they do play Borthwick, Rankin and Ballance - and they'd do well to do worse than those they are replacing (!) they need to have identified them as long term prospects and persist with them. People tend to forget Warne's introduction to tests - 1/150 vs India, 0/107 vs Sri Lanka and so on - and Borthwick is not Warne (but he can bat).

    If they do play them we have the same problem as the Woakes/Kerrigan test viz. you do not have enough reliable bowlers. As bowlers you have Anderson and Broad, okay, then Stokes, Rankin and Borthwick who have three (?) tests between them and a few ODIs. Whilst this might work as a future attack, it's asking a lot of them now to pretty much all start at the same time.

  • CricketingStargazer on January 1, 2014, 18:35 GMT

    @Cyril_Knight: "Borthwick can't bowl, Durham know this." If so, one wonders why they made him bowl more overs than anyone other than Onions, Rushworth and Stokes last season. Maybe slightly overstating your case? Maybe they see something in him that you do not?

  • on January 1, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    I agree with those saying Carberry doesn't deserve the cut - only KP has more series runs and no-one else has so often manged to get themselves in or looked as comfortable. Carberry has managed to get to 30 on 5 occasions, more than any other England batsman (KP 4, Bell 3, Cook 3, Root 1, Stokes/Trott 1 and Prior/Bairstow 1). The biggest problem for England is their 1st innings failures, where Carberry's performances are even more acceptable compared to his team-mates; in all 4 1st innings Carberry has got to 30, compared to KP 1, Bell 1, Cook 1, Root 0, Stokes/Trott 0 and Prior/Bairstow 0. Obviously 30s do not win Test matches, and he would certainly need to turn more starts into big scores to stay in the team long term, but how can he be dropped on this evidence? Yes, he was fairly shotless at the MCG, but was showing the application so obviously lacking in some others. I would make room for Ballance at the SCG by resting Root. If Carberry misses out the selectors have truly lost it.

  • Cyril_Knight on January 1, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Borthwick can't bowl, Durham know this. If England think he can then Flower and co really must go.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on January 1, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    Cook, KP, Bell, Root, Balance, Stokes, Bairstow, Broad, Finn, Rankin, Monty. Anderson looks shot as does Bresnan, time for changes in last test. KP has opened in ODIs and maybe at the top will let him hit with impunity and not get stuck with the tail. Balance has a good county record and a test debut will do him good. Monty needs confidence badly

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on January 1, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    Why Borthwik ? Where's/why not Kerrigan? Or maybe even Panesar 1ce more? Another OTW-'One test wonder'??

  • Legster on January 1, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    @clarke501 Panesar and Swann's figures in India were not similar, Panesar's figures were significantly better, ( as they were when the duo bowled in the UAE against Pakistan).

    Nope, you're outright wrong with respect to India, and you don't understand the meaning of "significantly better" -

    Panesar vs India last year - Average - 26.82, Economy -2.49, Strike Rate - 64.5 Swann vs India last year - Average - 24.75, Economy - 2.55 , Strike Rate - 55.7

    Panesar vs Pakistan - Average - 21.57, Economy- 2.14, Strike Rate - 60.4 Swann vs Pakistan - Average- 25.07, Economy-2.83, Strike Rate - 53.0

    In India especially Swann was way more potent, taking two overs less to strike per wicket compared to Monty, and taking two runs less to do so. Even in Pakistan Swann's strike rate is markedly superior - the evidence does not lend credence to Panesar being significantly better.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on January 1, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    200ondebut- Correction. Test cricket is about 2 things -ball and bat. Well,essentially !! -:)

  • AJ_Tiger86 on January 1, 2014, 16:42 GMT

    @Murali_The_Greatest: Get your facts right before accusing others. In the test series in India last year, Swann took 20 wickets at an average of 24.75, while Panesar took 17 wickets @ 26.82. And you're telling us Monty's figures were "significantly better" than Swann's? Monty has averaged 85 in this Ashes series, and 70 in the series in NZ earlier this year. He is a VERY ordinary spinner who shouldn't be anywhere near a test XI. Kerrigan, Borthwick, Tredwell, Adil Rashid, Briggs are all better spinners than Monty.

  • on January 1, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    Scott Borthwick is a talent, would be a perfect fit for England in home conditions. So get him in the team. Borthwick and Stokes could lead to a strong batting line up. Which we need at the moment......

  • 200ondebut on January 1, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    If you picked by 1st class records Dave Warner wouldnt be playing - he played for Oz before playing a 1st class match. Test cricket is about two things - balls.

  • counterpoint87 on January 1, 2014, 15:31 GMT

    england should bring back jade dernbach.

  • ThatsJustCricket on January 1, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    Playing Borthwick certainly is a big gamble. Aus made this type of mistake twice with Cameron White and Steve Smith. That almost destroyed Smith's career. Feel sorry for the young man. Borthwick looks all set to have a one test career just like poor Kerrigan.

  • KDLarsen on January 1, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    I don't get why Carberry is suddenly getting the drop. He's had some solid first innings, and he's hardly the only one with consistent second innings failures. His scoring rate should be insignificant, as every match on this tour has ended with at least one session to spare - and in those matches, it has been England trying to hang on for a draw.

  • Murali_the_greatest on January 1, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    @clarke501

    Panesar and Swann's figures in India were not similar, Panesar's figures were significantly better, ( as they were when the duo bowled in the UAE against Pakistan). Dhoni made specific mention of Panesar as the most troublesome England bowler India had faced in the India series. As for NZ series, the pitches gave nothing to the spinners and there is no reason to believe Swann would have bowled any better than Panesar. As for Melbourne, Panesar was not bad, he was simply not given the ball! On a pitch giving nothing for the spinners his figures were 1-59 off only 17 overs. Shane Warne was appalled at Monty's treatment in the 2nd innings, not being given the ball until AUS' final victory surge. At the SCG he may get considerably more help from the surface and have an opportunity win a game for England but don't be surprised if the England team management take that opportunity away from him and give his place to a spinner of lesser calibre and credentials. @pvwadekar -agreed

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 1, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    This team is earmarked as a big mess in my view. Who will they play? Does it really matter? It is really hard to have confidence in any of the combinations. Batsmen do not score hundreds on debut any more,as pointed out. That is asking a bit much in reality but it has to be asked whether those put forward for Tests are anything like ready? The last few retirements have left big holes which we have shown ourselves up to be confused over filling them. Collingwood then Strauss.now Swann and maybe Trott. Age and maybe ability count against Carberry but he has one or two attributes which are place saving-he does at least make starts and he tries to make runs. The various incumbents of no.6 have really not thrilled but Stokes will hopefully fill that one. Post Swann, Panesar has already almost gone,and Borthwick is next to try.He can bat so hopefully he can do the deed,but it will be hard.Very.3rd seamer is another dodgey one. I'd cast caution to the winds and play Finn.

  • anton1234 on January 1, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    If Harris is to be rested then they may as well play Pattinson. Pattinson has showed his fitness already in couple of T20 games.

  • markatnotts on January 1, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    It would be rather odd to play Borthwick as a spinner,from what I have seen it him he is becoming more of a batsmen that bowls, a bit like Steve Smith! In all honesty he needs to score stacks of runs for Durham and get more bowling under his belt to become a number five or six for England!

  • shillingsworth on January 1, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    When Prior, Cook, Strauss and Trott were making 100s on debut, did Plunkett, Mahmood, Shah, Lewis, Blackwell, Kabir Ali, Batty, Ed Smith etc 'adapt to this level with comfort'? James Anderson may have taken a 5 wicket haul in his first test but it was against Zimbabwe - it was another 4 years before he had 'adapted'. If the work of development coaches is to be scrutiinised, I hope it will be

  • CricketingStargazer on January 1, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    The BBC is reporting that Monty has (a possibly convenient) calf injury. Before condemning dropping Monty, he has not had a great last 12 months: dropped then released by his county, playing now in Division 2. His finest feats in the last few years have always come with Graeme Swann closing-up the other end for him. As the senior spinner in the 4th Test he looked more of a threat to his own side than to the opposition. He can't bat and can't field (his fielding is now, sadly, infinitely worse) - if he can't act as a wicket-taking bowler, he doesn't really add much to the side! When Joe Root has two spells before Monty gets a bowl it doesn't say a lot for the captain's confidence in him (and, yes, Alistair Cook is also an Essex player).

    On his side, remember that Scott Borthwick plays half his matches on the lush, green pitches of Chester-Le-Street and that if he can take wickets there, he must have some ability. I was skeptical about Ben Stokes (and was wrong). Give Borthwick a try.

  • on January 1, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    @Nicholas Donnelly 'Panesar has been dreadful for a number of years now', is this the same Monty Panesar who took 17 wickets at 26.82 in India last winter, and 14 wickets at 21.57 in the UAE against Pakistan the winter before? He may be out of form but he is still the best spinner in England. Borthwick might be worth a go as a second spinner, surely Steve Finn should be picked ahead of Boyd Rankin though. Carberry has looked good for the most part and done better than Cook and Root, deserves to play this test and then England can re-assess at the start of the English summer. Ballance looks good but should really be playing for Zimbabwe, if their set up wasn't such a basket case.

  • geoffboyc on January 1, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    There are several spin bowlers with a better first class record than Scott Borthwick but who have never crossed the selectors' minds; what is the point of throwing him in now with little to gain? Surely, in this situation, there's an argument for telling the players who got England into this state to try and retrieve things a little. It would be good to see what Ballance might do, but who would he replace if not Carberry or Root?

  • uknsaunders on January 1, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    I think this points to England future direction. Play 4 seamers with one being an allrounder. The 5th spin bowler will be somebody who can bat but chip in on helpful surfaces. For the most part this is fine for playing in England.

  • shillingsworth on January 1, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    @Murali_the_greatest - Panesar didn't outbowl Swann in India, they had very similar figures for the series. How he was bowling a year ago is irrelevant. Since then, he had a poor tour of New Zealand, in which the 'better than Swann theory' took a bit of a knock and was left out in favour of Kerrigan not only because of off field problems but, more pertinently, because he was bowling poorly. By all accounts, he was dreadful at Melbourne. I'd say it was anything but clear that he is England's premier spinner.

  • milepost on January 1, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    It doesn't matter who they pick, this series will be their second whitewash in 5 series, that's quite an achievement. I'd like to see him get a go, it will help with the 6's tally. Carberry deserves his place, he's done nothing wrong and don't forget has been opening against the best opening pair of bowlers in the game.

  • Cubitt on January 1, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    I'm more concerned about England speed at dumping players. Taylor, Kerrigan, Woakes, Compton (possibly now Carberry). What have some of those guys done wrong? England seem to think that unless you get a good score or a big wicket haul in match 1, you're finished. Borthwick had an economy of 3.90 last season, he'll probably be targeted, it's just a matter of whether he can pick up the odd wicket while going for runs.

  • pvwadekar on January 1, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    England's strategy is so strange and convoluted .. why take Monty in the first place if you are not going to play him at SCG and introduce a "leg spinning all rounder". What happened to Adil Rashid - wasn't he a leg spinning all rounder? ? Why do players of British Asian get a raw deal in UK. Owais Shah, Sajid Mahmood, Adil Rashid, Ravi Bopara, Ajmal Shahzad . On the other hand players like Baristow, Root get plenty of opportunities. Ian Bell was initially a flop but was persisted with till he got his game right, so why weren't Owais or Bopara given enough lee way ? Very sad to see this situation in UK.

  • oze13 on January 1, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    Borthwick has just finished a 6 match spell in Sydney Grade cricket averaging 31 with the bat and 35 with the ball. Have Cook and Flower taken leave of their senses? That will be a yes!

  • on January 1, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    ummm... why would you drop Carberry? England's problem has not been poor opening stands

  • 11_Warrior on January 1, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    1) Carberry 2) Root 3) Bell 4) KP 5) Ballance 6) Stokes 7) Prior (C) 8) Broad 9 ) Renkin 10) Anderson 11) Borthwick. Cook need a BREAK.

  • 64blip on January 1, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    It is a gamble, and at long odds too. How about England lose the toss, Borthwick's on after about 20 overs against well set batsmen and gets dispatched to all parts. Second dig he's not given the ball and dismissed as never good enough in the first place. Any takers? Personally Monty (and other senior players) should take any of the stick that'll be handed out and the selectors can then wait to see who's performing at the start of next season and pick them.

  • oze13 on January 1, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    If this is true Cook and Flower have truly lost the plot. What has this lad done to deserve selection in a Test Match? Absolutely ridiculous. Kerrigan MkII.

  • Rj_Kiwi on January 1, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    It wont matter - 5-0 coming up.

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Borthwick appears to be a desperate attempt to try something different. Although his batting has improved significantly, his bowling has not, & I fear he will get some serious abuse from the Aussie batters if selected.

    England's bowlers must find some way of containing the Aussie batting lineup, bowling some maidens & exerting pressure. If they cannot do that, it doesn't matter, the match & the series will be over in 4 days.

    Cook is a fine batsman. He is not captain material, I do not see an alternative within the current squad. England must fine someone to lead them in the Summer & beyond.

    Not good times to be an England supporter. The ODI series where we will be soundly beaten, & the T20 World cup in foreign conditions.

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    Give a chance to rankin and ballance and avoid brothwick as monty need more games and faith from Cook. Rankin is good and need a go in longer formats. Switch Bairstow with Stokes. My 11: Root Cook Bell KP Ballance Bairstow Stokes Broad Anderson Rankin Monty. Oz 11: Rogers warner Watto Pup Smith Doolan/Bailey Haddin MJ Sidds Ryno Lyon For odis: Warner Finch Watto Pup Bailey Maxi Haddin Faulkner Pattinson NCN/MJ(rest) X

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Disappointed about the lack of mention towards Rachid whom plays for Yorkshire. He has played for England, I believe? Yorkshire have got two useful spinners, of contrasting styles, who can both bat rather well. I would like to see them do well for the future. We talk about new ball bowlers pairing up well, such as Hoggard and Harmison for England (one swing, one not), so really, surely we do need to add an emphasis on getting spin-twins going. Just because England isn't known for it's dusty pitches, does not mean we cannot encourage it. Part-timers who get overlooked doesn't give them the opportunity to put forward their cause. Endorsing partnerships isn't just with the bat, but with the ball. I have high hopes for England's spinners, even if Graeme Swann (well, he can't) or Monty Panesar or Scott Borthwich aren't going to be chosen. Sometimes, you just need to look to who works with who and where. That'll answer questions, even if it asks for much more to be queried in a near future.

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Leg Spin is hard work but there is no need to bowl bad balls if you have a mechanically sound bowling action. Anil Kumble hardly ever bowled a bad ball, Shane Warne rarely and Stu Mcgill very ocassionally. It is only bowlers like Imran Tahir with poor actions who put themselves under pressure.

  • on January 1, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    I would stick with Carberry at this point. He has looked solid if unspectacular, but batsmen need time to get themselves settled at this level. On a couple of occasions he has been well set at times when the batting lineup has fallen apart around him, and this cannot have helped him. Borthwick is worth a try at this stage. Panesar has been dreadful for a number of years now, can't field and is a complete number 11. Borthwick will hold his own at 8 and is at least as good a leggie as Smith. Just for giggles, why not leave Bresnan out for Ballance, why not??? Bat to 9 with Broad at 10 and England just might make it to 350!

  • Murali_the_greatest on January 1, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    Anyone but Monty Panesar then (who is clearly England's premiere spinner after Swann's retirement). Panesar bowled England to victory against India less than 1 year ago but scarcely credited for this (out bowled Graeme Swann in that series). Then Kerrigan was picked instead of him and now Borthwick will probably be picked in his place (inspite of Borthwick having only taken two 5 wicket halls in his entire 60 1st class match career and having an Econ rate of 3.7 in 1st class matches). Looks like Borthwick would struggle to even offer control. If he were picked on potential, he could play alongside Panesar but the pitch would have to be a real turner to support that.

  • on January 1, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    Torn here between having nothing to lose and protecting him. I am not sure what there is to gain by Borthwick playing. Pick a load of quickies and buck the trend

  • on January 1, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    why not stephen finn instead of bresnan

  • milepost on January 1, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    England seem to want Australia to help end as many English cricket careers as possible this trip. Obviously they need to make wholesale changes, normal Ashes service has resumed.

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  • milepost on January 1, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    England seem to want Australia to help end as many English cricket careers as possible this trip. Obviously they need to make wholesale changes, normal Ashes service has resumed.

  • on January 1, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    why not stephen finn instead of bresnan

  • on January 1, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    Torn here between having nothing to lose and protecting him. I am not sure what there is to gain by Borthwick playing. Pick a load of quickies and buck the trend

  • Murali_the_greatest on January 1, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    Anyone but Monty Panesar then (who is clearly England's premiere spinner after Swann's retirement). Panesar bowled England to victory against India less than 1 year ago but scarcely credited for this (out bowled Graeme Swann in that series). Then Kerrigan was picked instead of him and now Borthwick will probably be picked in his place (inspite of Borthwick having only taken two 5 wicket halls in his entire 60 1st class match career and having an Econ rate of 3.7 in 1st class matches). Looks like Borthwick would struggle to even offer control. If he were picked on potential, he could play alongside Panesar but the pitch would have to be a real turner to support that.

  • on January 1, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    I would stick with Carberry at this point. He has looked solid if unspectacular, but batsmen need time to get themselves settled at this level. On a couple of occasions he has been well set at times when the batting lineup has fallen apart around him, and this cannot have helped him. Borthwick is worth a try at this stage. Panesar has been dreadful for a number of years now, can't field and is a complete number 11. Borthwick will hold his own at 8 and is at least as good a leggie as Smith. Just for giggles, why not leave Bresnan out for Ballance, why not??? Bat to 9 with Broad at 10 and England just might make it to 350!

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Leg Spin is hard work but there is no need to bowl bad balls if you have a mechanically sound bowling action. Anil Kumble hardly ever bowled a bad ball, Shane Warne rarely and Stu Mcgill very ocassionally. It is only bowlers like Imran Tahir with poor actions who put themselves under pressure.

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Disappointed about the lack of mention towards Rachid whom plays for Yorkshire. He has played for England, I believe? Yorkshire have got two useful spinners, of contrasting styles, who can both bat rather well. I would like to see them do well for the future. We talk about new ball bowlers pairing up well, such as Hoggard and Harmison for England (one swing, one not), so really, surely we do need to add an emphasis on getting spin-twins going. Just because England isn't known for it's dusty pitches, does not mean we cannot encourage it. Part-timers who get overlooked doesn't give them the opportunity to put forward their cause. Endorsing partnerships isn't just with the bat, but with the ball. I have high hopes for England's spinners, even if Graeme Swann (well, he can't) or Monty Panesar or Scott Borthwich aren't going to be chosen. Sometimes, you just need to look to who works with who and where. That'll answer questions, even if it asks for much more to be queried in a near future.

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    Give a chance to rankin and ballance and avoid brothwick as monty need more games and faith from Cook. Rankin is good and need a go in longer formats. Switch Bairstow with Stokes. My 11: Root Cook Bell KP Ballance Bairstow Stokes Broad Anderson Rankin Monty. Oz 11: Rogers warner Watto Pup Smith Doolan/Bailey Haddin MJ Sidds Ryno Lyon For odis: Warner Finch Watto Pup Bailey Maxi Haddin Faulkner Pattinson NCN/MJ(rest) X

  • on January 1, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Borthwick appears to be a desperate attempt to try something different. Although his batting has improved significantly, his bowling has not, & I fear he will get some serious abuse from the Aussie batters if selected.

    England's bowlers must find some way of containing the Aussie batting lineup, bowling some maidens & exerting pressure. If they cannot do that, it doesn't matter, the match & the series will be over in 4 days.

    Cook is a fine batsman. He is not captain material, I do not see an alternative within the current squad. England must fine someone to lead them in the Summer & beyond.

    Not good times to be an England supporter. The ODI series where we will be soundly beaten, & the T20 World cup in foreign conditions.

  • Rj_Kiwi on January 1, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    It wont matter - 5-0 coming up.