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'England must be careful not to leave Monty on his own'
Geoff Boycott reacts to England's Ashes squad and talks about how Zimbabwe can hold on to their best players (28:33)
Producer: Raunak Kapoor
September 27, 2013
Bowl at Boycs
'England must be careful not to leave Monty on his own'September 27, 2013
Excerpts from the discussion below.
Raunak Kapoor: It's time for Bowl at Boycs here on ESPNcricinfo. The big news in England is that the Ashes squad has been announced. Yes, it's a rare occasion in international cricket with two back-to-back Ashes.
But before we get into the Ashes squad there's a question that comes from Kevin Jeffreys from Tokyo. Great to have people sending in questions from Japan as well, and the question relates to Zimbabwe, Geoffrey.
Kevin asks: Are you worried for teams like Zimbabwe and Ireland, that they can't hold on to their best players? What's the best way forward for them?
Geoff Boycott: Yes. I should be worried and we should all be worried. Because what we want to do is hope they get better so they're more competitive against the big boys. And I think the only way to stop the drift of players moving away from these countries, particularly like Ireland to England, is to make the residential qualification harder.
The ICC regulation is that you serve four years residential. Well, it's always been my opinion that that's not enough. England is a perfect example We've been used for quite a while now by certain players as a convenience.
These players grow up in other countries, and they aren't English in any shape or form but they come to us to further their international careers and they want to play international cricket.
Our English cricket board recognise this by saying that in future our residential qualification in England will be seven years. Now personally, I'd make it ten years. I know it's a judgement call, but I applaud the ECB's decision to increase it.
We're getting far too many Irishmen, South Africans in our team, and there's nothing wrong with being born in another country, but I think we'd all like countries being represented by people who have grown up in that country. Race, creed, colour, religion is not an issue.
If countries can just absorb anyone, from anywhere, after just four years, then you might as well open the floodgates and let each country play whoever the hell they want. It'll then just be money and expediency of countries just wanting to win at all costs and they'll sign up the best players.
|"If it was a toss up between Monty Panesar and James Tredwell, I hope you've got a two-headed coin cause I'll be calling heads for Monty. It's not even a contest"|
RK: Right, let's go on to the big story that I mentioned at the start of the show, the England Ashes squad, and the first question relating to the squad comes from Mick Thomas in Chicago.
He asks: Are England missing out on other talented fast bowlers by only picking the tall ones? How big a difference would height make in Australian conditions? Also, while we're on the subject of bowlers, what do you make of Monty Panesar's comeback, given all the personal problems that have dogged him this season?
GB: I think there is a specific reason why they've been picked. First, they're the better bowlers we have. The other one is Onions, which I've always talked about. They give him the opportunity to play on some pitches in England and he's absolutely devastating but they don't pick him.
But you have to remember that Brisbane and Perth could be the hardest and bounciest pitches in the whole series. And it is a fact, if guys deliver with a high arm-action and are tall men to start with, it can be very disconcerting to batsmen if the ball is on a good length and coming down from that height. The ball will occasionally surprise the batsman and get big on him.
To the spinners, if it was a toss up between Monty Panesar and James Tredwell, I hope you've got a two-headed coin cause I'll be calling heads for Monty. It's not even a contest. Tredwell's a nice county bowler and he's had his moments in one-day cricket and he's had his other moments when he's got whacked.
Test match cricket, it's a no-brainer. Monty, he's there to bowl, can bowl, get him bowling. The only thing about Monty is, you have to make sure he's not left on his own in a room, brooding, thinking what the hell is he doing there carrying the drinks all the time and so forth.
So it will depend on some of the other players and the management to make sure he's involved with everything, not just the team practices. It's the time afterwards. Make sure he's not on his own. I don't see any other spinner in England who is good enough to take his place at the moment.
RK: Yes, even sections of the English media that were questioning Monty's comeback were all unanimous in saying that he is undoubtedly England's second-best spinner. And with the likes of Simon Kerrigan doing himself no favours when he got the opportunity in the last Ashes Test at The Oval…
GB: What did you say, Simon Kerrigan? Simon Kerrigan couldn't bowl my mum out! Listen, I ain't had a net practice for 20 years, I bet I could bat against him!
RK: Let's go to the question of the week, and it comes from Chris Andrew in the UK, I'm sure it's one Geoffrey would enjoy, considering it's about two Yorkshiremen.
GB: Quite right: more Yorkshiremen in the team, that's what I say! Just remember, England have always been strong when there have been Yorkshiremen in the side.
RK: Geoffrey, from what you've seen of Joe Root, should he continue to open the batting for England in Tests? Also, do you believe Gary Ballance is the solution to England's No. 6 problem?
GB: Joe Root will open. Look, he's a very talented young man. Everybody saw him in the middle order, saw him for Yorkshire. The kid is good, let me tell you. Good temperament, concentration, wide range of shots, the kid is good, and he'll get better.
People like me have been saying over a year ago, that you should be wary of pushing him up the order. I saw him at Yorkshire, and sometimes he got done early against the new ball, then he got in and he's got the class and talent.
This summer, Joe got seven failures, one fifty, one not out and one huge memorable hundred at Lord's. But early on in that innings, he nicked one that had gone in between the keeper and first slip, when Haddin and Clarke left it for each other, and Joe was smart enough and good enough to make a big hundred. But he could have had eight failures. So that's a problem. We all know he's talented, and really, he's been shoved up the order too soon
When it comes to Gary Ballance, I was slightly surprised he got picked for the Ashes but not totally. He may not play in any matches because Bairstow is still in the squad as a No. 6 batsman. Also, you've got [Michael] Carberry. If they choose at some stage to open with Carberry and put Root at six, then neither Bairstow nor Ballance would play. So they've got options.
But I say this about Gary Balance: I brought him from Derbyshire, a few years ago. The biggest plus about him is that he's had two top-class seasons for Yorkshire - not good, top class. He gets runs when Yorkshire are in trouble. It's a fantastic quality to have. So he has earned his place. I'm slightly surprised, not a lot, but he's a tough cookie under pressure.
RK: Lastly, Geoffrey, could he go on to become the best ever Yorkshireman with the initials "GB" to play for England, or is that impossible to achieve?'
GB: Impossible to achieve!
RK: There you go. Short and precise from Geoffrey Boycott. Do send in your questions via our feedback form and Geoffrey Boycott will be back in about two weeks time to answer them. Thank you very much for listening.
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