England v New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord's May 11, 2013

Bresnan, Swann elbow their way back

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The ECB's elbow surgeon has earned his fee after both Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann returned to England's Test squad for the opening match of the season against New Zealand, at Lord's, following their successful operations in the first part of the year.

The pair both played their previous Tests in Nagpur during December. Bresnan then went for elbow surgery after the one-day series in India while Swann had his in March after being ruled out of the series in New Zealand.

Bresnan is the fourth pace bowler in a 12-man squad alongside the incumbent trio of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn while Graham Onions, who is playing for England Lions this week and was on tour in New Zealand, misses out. Although unlikely that he will make the starting XI, Bresnan could yet force his way past Finn whose form for Middlesex has not been entirely convincing early in the season.

As the impact of his elbow problem took full effect, Bresnan's Test form tailed off badly last year and he has taken two wickets in his last four matches at 210 apiece. However, he has started the season promisingly for Yorkshire with 11 wickets at 27.63 and reports are that his pace is back to somewhere near 2011 levels.

Geoff Miller, the national selectors, said: "Both Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan have worked hard to regain fitness following elbow surgery and have demonstrated through their performances for their counties that they are ready for the challenge of international cricket."

The other players who were on the most recent tour but not required for the opening Test are Chris Woakes, James Tredwell and Monty Panesar, while Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of this series and the Champions Trophy earlier in the month.

As expected, Jonny Bairstow retains his place as Pietersen's replacement in the middle order, having been drafted in under tough circumstances in Auckland after just one first-class innings, against India in Mumbai, since last September. His twin failures were predictable, and understandable, but he has impressed at the start of this season for Yorkshire and has done enough to ward off his nearest challengers.

Bairstow will also have fond memories of Lord's, the scene of his Test debut against West Indies last year and also his most convincing Test performance, when he made 95 and 54 against South Africa after, again, being an understudy for Pietersen. His technique has, at times, been picked apart at Test level but that is a rite of passage for young player.

England needed a monumental final-day rearguard to escape New Zealand with a 0-0 draw - Matt Prior, Ian Bell and Broad being to the fore - and that indifferent performance in a series they were expected to dominate ensured there would be no resting or rotating of key players for this series despite it being at the start of a hectic season.

"We will need to improve significantly on our performances in the recent Test series against them if we are to start the international summer on a positive note," Miller said. "This series provides a good opportunity for the players to show that they have learnt from the experiences over the winter."

England squad Alastair Cook (capt), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    @landl47/Si Baker - Agree that Finn maybe long term in our best bowling attack but does that mean he should continue in the side when he is out of form? Personally I thought he was really bad in NZ. I know (as with other strike bowlers) he has often been more expensive but he also looked less threatening. His average for that series was 39.2 which I think was flattering when you consider that in his 6 wicket hall 4 of the wickets were of the 7-11 in the line up. We kept underperforming players in the side since India (2011) on loyalty/past performance reasons and I feel it cost us. Surely guys like Onions and Woakes are better bets than Broad,Bres and Finn when they are injured or underperforming for any reason.

  • landl47 on May 15, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    @Si Baker: Yes, slip of the typing finger there. I meant to say 22 wickets at 30. Given that four of those games were on the road and the other was against SA, I too would say those figures are acceptable.

    Finn is a big guy and takes a while to get his rhythm right. It was noticeable in the ODI series against India how much better he was bowling by the end of the series than at the beginning. Now back in England, he has to adjust again from the conditions in NZ- not that big of an adjustment, admittedly, but late summer conditions in NZ and early spring in England aren't the same. I fully expect Finn to start hitting his stride over the next few weeks and to be in good form for the Ashes.

  • on May 13, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    @Landl47: hate to correct you re Finn, but actually he's taken 22 wickets @29.95 in his last five Tests. Personally, I'd view that as perfectly acceptable - especially given the opposition - were it not for the fact that quite a few of those wickets came from long-hops or in scenarios when the batsmen were hitting out late in the opposition's innings. It's not just that, though: it's also the fact that, since he had to remodel his run-up following the Clattering Stumps controversy, he's tended to bowl rather too short in order, I suspect, to neutralise the fact that his new, shorter approach to the crease seems to have cost him a couple of yards in pace.

    Like many others I certainly see him as a long-term regular, but I really think it'd be best for all concerned were he to go back to county cricket for a few weeks in order to work out how best to recapture his old pace within the physical limitations imposed by that new run-up.

  • SirViv1973 on May 12, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    @carlp, I agree with you to a certain extent, although I am happy to see Bresnan return to some good form for Yorks following the elbow operation i'm not sure there was any need to rush him straight back in to the side. However in terms of Woakes, he has been in and around the Eng camp for the last few months & I thing the general consensus is that in terms of test cricket his bowling isn't strong enough to be the 3rd seamer. He does offer something with a bat but if he is to find his way in to the eng side it will need to be because of his bowling as I don't think there is much chance of eng playing a 5th bowler. In terms of Onions I would have had no problem with his selection as I think our pace bowling depth will be tested over the back 2 back ashes series & despite his fine FC stats I still think there are a lot of questions about him at tests level. However its Roland- Jones who I would have loved to have seen get his chance.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 12, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    There is too much of an acceptance of balls sailing down the legside these days. Bowlers should not stray leg of leg and middle. Ten legside wides should result in being dropped not praised-Finn being the main culprit, though Anderson does it occasionally. Quick bowlers should be quick not medium unless conditions indicate. If the bowlers are ever in doubt they could watch South Africa's 635-2 dec. as a master class in how NOT to bowl. Batsmen need to turn the score over not scratch around like nervous chickens. And that is only three ways in which England need to look at themselves. Add in negating defensive fields unless absolutely essential and England may start to play better cricket. Continuity may be great BUT sometimes the threat of being dropped can work like a treat. Regarding players the best bowler in this season on TV looked like Roland-Jones. He uses his body a lot and maybe could do so more.

  • on May 12, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Same old. Shame the selectors didn't view this series as an experimental testing-ground for the Ashes, but I suppose they (understandably) didn't want to take any risks against such a decidedly awkward side. Personally, I'd have gone for Woakes (FC batting average: 39) at Seven behind Prior at Six, slotted the more technically sound Taylor in ahead of Bairstow, & included Toby Roland-Jones & Reece Topley (left-arm swing: welcome variety) ahead of Bresnan & Finn (who's been bowling *way* too short for quite a while now), but I can see why, on this occasion, ultra-conservatism carried the day.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 12, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    @landl47 (post on May 12, 2013, 6:37 GMT): I'm usually a firm believer in the old cliché "if something aint broke, don't meddle with it..." - but when a team (i.e. England) has, of late, struggled to take 20 wickets and hasn't looked like being able to do so for so long, I would say something is wrong/amiss. Now why are the selectors being so stubborn and filling in the gaps in the team with batsmen only? Why not at least TRY another bowler who can bat a bit, never mind a genuine all-rounder that I know is hard to come by? Why put so much pressure on 'so-called' front-line bowlers that, in some cases, are only returning from injury/surgery? I for one want something different by England, and the sooner the better.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    @Si Baker on (May 12, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

    TBH , I don't see picking Bresnan and Finn above Woakes and Onions as "not taking any risks".

    Finn didn't look great in NZ and Bres didn't look good in most of 2012 and suddenly after a couple of good county matches he's back in. I'd say it's as big a risk picking a player who's been poor for the last year (on past performances combined with a couple of CC matches this season) above a guy who has been Mr Consistent with bat and ball for the last 12 months

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    @SamuelH - Totally agree with you there. As a Somerset fan it didn't affect us but I can only fully sympathise (in particular) with Bears fans. Obviously Chopra wasn't going to get a gig but you'd have thought Wright may have had an outside chance and Woakes (in a rational world) have a good chance. Not sure what you thought of Woakes vs Somerset but I thought he was by far the best Bears bowler on a flat pitch. Also Warwicks ordered ECB to rest Woakes for an early season game. Personally I think we overdo our resting players anyway but I'd have thought that would have indicated he was part of their plans. You know I want to see a 5/1/5 and by accommodating an extra bowler you could also see how Woakes or Onions measure up vs the regular pacers.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    @Landl- Yeah , maybe I'm being a bit harsh on Finn and maybe I'm expecting too much from him due to the hype he seems to get , but having said that in NZ (which was his most recent test series) - Yes he took that 6 for but 4 of those wickets were of the tail and even with those figures his series stats weren't impressive. His pace seemed to be down and while often strike bowlers are not the most economical he prob looked the least threatening of our pacers. I know it's hard to judge on 1 performance but when Onions and Finn bowled together Onions took 4-88 and Finn 3-109. Re Bres , he had by and large a woeful 2012. Yes he may have been injured but then surely Eng selectors should be lambasted for playing a bowler whose form is affected by injury. It's not just a case of Eng bowling unit ripping through the opposition every time but in the last year or so our pacers have looked alot less penetrative

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    @landl47/Si Baker - Agree that Finn maybe long term in our best bowling attack but does that mean he should continue in the side when he is out of form? Personally I thought he was really bad in NZ. I know (as with other strike bowlers) he has often been more expensive but he also looked less threatening. His average for that series was 39.2 which I think was flattering when you consider that in his 6 wicket hall 4 of the wickets were of the 7-11 in the line up. We kept underperforming players in the side since India (2011) on loyalty/past performance reasons and I feel it cost us. Surely guys like Onions and Woakes are better bets than Broad,Bres and Finn when they are injured or underperforming for any reason.

  • landl47 on May 15, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    @Si Baker: Yes, slip of the typing finger there. I meant to say 22 wickets at 30. Given that four of those games were on the road and the other was against SA, I too would say those figures are acceptable.

    Finn is a big guy and takes a while to get his rhythm right. It was noticeable in the ODI series against India how much better he was bowling by the end of the series than at the beginning. Now back in England, he has to adjust again from the conditions in NZ- not that big of an adjustment, admittedly, but late summer conditions in NZ and early spring in England aren't the same. I fully expect Finn to start hitting his stride over the next few weeks and to be in good form for the Ashes.

  • on May 13, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    @Landl47: hate to correct you re Finn, but actually he's taken 22 wickets @29.95 in his last five Tests. Personally, I'd view that as perfectly acceptable - especially given the opposition - were it not for the fact that quite a few of those wickets came from long-hops or in scenarios when the batsmen were hitting out late in the opposition's innings. It's not just that, though: it's also the fact that, since he had to remodel his run-up following the Clattering Stumps controversy, he's tended to bowl rather too short in order, I suspect, to neutralise the fact that his new, shorter approach to the crease seems to have cost him a couple of yards in pace.

    Like many others I certainly see him as a long-term regular, but I really think it'd be best for all concerned were he to go back to county cricket for a few weeks in order to work out how best to recapture his old pace within the physical limitations imposed by that new run-up.

  • SirViv1973 on May 12, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    @carlp, I agree with you to a certain extent, although I am happy to see Bresnan return to some good form for Yorks following the elbow operation i'm not sure there was any need to rush him straight back in to the side. However in terms of Woakes, he has been in and around the Eng camp for the last few months & I thing the general consensus is that in terms of test cricket his bowling isn't strong enough to be the 3rd seamer. He does offer something with a bat but if he is to find his way in to the eng side it will need to be because of his bowling as I don't think there is much chance of eng playing a 5th bowler. In terms of Onions I would have had no problem with his selection as I think our pace bowling depth will be tested over the back 2 back ashes series & despite his fine FC stats I still think there are a lot of questions about him at tests level. However its Roland- Jones who I would have loved to have seen get his chance.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 12, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    There is too much of an acceptance of balls sailing down the legside these days. Bowlers should not stray leg of leg and middle. Ten legside wides should result in being dropped not praised-Finn being the main culprit, though Anderson does it occasionally. Quick bowlers should be quick not medium unless conditions indicate. If the bowlers are ever in doubt they could watch South Africa's 635-2 dec. as a master class in how NOT to bowl. Batsmen need to turn the score over not scratch around like nervous chickens. And that is only three ways in which England need to look at themselves. Add in negating defensive fields unless absolutely essential and England may start to play better cricket. Continuity may be great BUT sometimes the threat of being dropped can work like a treat. Regarding players the best bowler in this season on TV looked like Roland-Jones. He uses his body a lot and maybe could do so more.

  • on May 12, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Same old. Shame the selectors didn't view this series as an experimental testing-ground for the Ashes, but I suppose they (understandably) didn't want to take any risks against such a decidedly awkward side. Personally, I'd have gone for Woakes (FC batting average: 39) at Seven behind Prior at Six, slotted the more technically sound Taylor in ahead of Bairstow, & included Toby Roland-Jones & Reece Topley (left-arm swing: welcome variety) ahead of Bresnan & Finn (who's been bowling *way* too short for quite a while now), but I can see why, on this occasion, ultra-conservatism carried the day.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 12, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    @landl47 (post on May 12, 2013, 6:37 GMT): I'm usually a firm believer in the old cliché "if something aint broke, don't meddle with it..." - but when a team (i.e. England) has, of late, struggled to take 20 wickets and hasn't looked like being able to do so for so long, I would say something is wrong/amiss. Now why are the selectors being so stubborn and filling in the gaps in the team with batsmen only? Why not at least TRY another bowler who can bat a bit, never mind a genuine all-rounder that I know is hard to come by? Why put so much pressure on 'so-called' front-line bowlers that, in some cases, are only returning from injury/surgery? I for one want something different by England, and the sooner the better.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    @Si Baker on (May 12, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

    TBH , I don't see picking Bresnan and Finn above Woakes and Onions as "not taking any risks".

    Finn didn't look great in NZ and Bres didn't look good in most of 2012 and suddenly after a couple of good county matches he's back in. I'd say it's as big a risk picking a player who's been poor for the last year (on past performances combined with a couple of CC matches this season) above a guy who has been Mr Consistent with bat and ball for the last 12 months

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    @SamuelH - Totally agree with you there. As a Somerset fan it didn't affect us but I can only fully sympathise (in particular) with Bears fans. Obviously Chopra wasn't going to get a gig but you'd have thought Wright may have had an outside chance and Woakes (in a rational world) have a good chance. Not sure what you thought of Woakes vs Somerset but I thought he was by far the best Bears bowler on a flat pitch. Also Warwicks ordered ECB to rest Woakes for an early season game. Personally I think we overdo our resting players anyway but I'd have thought that would have indicated he was part of their plans. You know I want to see a 5/1/5 and by accommodating an extra bowler you could also see how Woakes or Onions measure up vs the regular pacers.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    @Landl- Yeah , maybe I'm being a bit harsh on Finn and maybe I'm expecting too much from him due to the hype he seems to get , but having said that in NZ (which was his most recent test series) - Yes he took that 6 for but 4 of those wickets were of the tail and even with those figures his series stats weren't impressive. His pace seemed to be down and while often strike bowlers are not the most economical he prob looked the least threatening of our pacers. I know it's hard to judge on 1 performance but when Onions and Finn bowled together Onions took 4-88 and Finn 3-109. Re Bres , he had by and large a woeful 2012. Yes he may have been injured but then surely Eng selectors should be lambasted for playing a bowler whose form is affected by injury. It's not just a case of Eng bowling unit ripping through the opposition every time but in the last year or so our pacers have looked alot less penetrative

  • on May 12, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    I suspect that Bresnan will be carrying the drinks. It's right that they brought him back into the fold, but Finn is the man in possession.

  • landl47 on May 12, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    It's strange that every country's supporters always want something different, on the assumption that if it's different it will be better. I can understand other country's supporters creating imaginary holes in England's side, but why do we do it ourselves?

    Even a level-headed fan like JG2704 is prone to do it, saying that Finn hasn't done much in tests in the last year. You mean apart from the 6fer he took in the last test England played, the 4 wickets he took in the only test he played in India (which England won) and the 8 wickets he took at Lord's against South Africa? In his last 5 tests Finn has taken 22 wickets at 20 apiece; how much better do you expect someone else to be?

    I'd like to see our bowlers ripping through the opposition in every game, but test cricket isn't like that. I think Finn, Anderson and Broad are currently our best three seam bowlers and Swann is undoubtedly our best spinner. We may not win with them but I can't see anyone else doing better.

  • simon_w on May 12, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    @Si Baker -- yeah, pretty much exactly what you said... :)

  • on May 12, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Same old. Shame the selectors didn't view this series as an experimental testing-ground for the Ashes, but I suppose they (understandably) didn't want to take any risks against such a decidedly awkward side. Personally, I'd have gone for Woakes (FC batting average: 39) at Seven behind Prior at Six, slotted the more technically sound Taylor in ahead of Bairstow, & included Toby Roland-Jones & Reece Topley (left-arm swing: welcome variety) ahead of Bresnan & Finn (who's been bowling *way* too short for quite a while now), but I can see why, on this occasion, ultra-conservatism carried the day.

  • Robster1 on May 12, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    Panesar's flat bowling for Sussex this season really confirms he should only be used as the second spinner on a rare Bunsen in England or on tours to the sub continent. Welcome back Swann.

  • on May 11, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    @JG2704

    That's a fair analysis. England punched above their weight in India (where winning is traditionally very difficult) while Aussies performed well under par. Of course, England being unable to win a single game against New Zealand in the following series was a very, very ordinary performance. England MUST win comprehensively 2-0 against NZ at home. It is also an ideal time to trial a couple of players on the fringes of the team (bowlers more than batsmen) and see what they can do.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 11, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    Again, all the talk about using this series as a chance to try new things/players has been overlooked. I wonder will England stick with the same team throughout the entire series now...

  • JG2704 on May 11, 2013, 20:13 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy on (May 11, 2013, 17:09 GMT) - I still think Woakes is more deserving of the all rounder spot. Definitely a better batsman and arguably a better bowler

  • JG2704 on May 11, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    @Optic on (May 11, 2013, 12:37 GMT) I'd say it's totally fair. Since India 2011 (in tests) we've had one par series (WI) one above par (India away) and the rest have been under par - to different degress and we've been picking the same under performing players in those series. Broad showed promise in NZ but Finn showed very little - in fact has not shown that much in the test arena period. I'm quite happy for England selectors to persist with poor form players if Eng are winning (like they did with Cook back along) but not when we're losing/drawing series we should be winning - if we're as good as we're supposed to be. I'd have Woakes in as an all rounder at 7 (Prior at 6) with our other 4 bowlers being Swann,Broad,Jimmy and Onions.

  • SDHM on May 11, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    Kind of renders the current Lions game going on irrelevant, doesn't it? Poor Graham Onions has to wonder what on Earth he has to do to get a gig - he's only the leading wicket taker in the country again, for Heaven's sake. 3 matches since coming back from surgery is no time to judge a player, so I think Bresnan can count himself very lucky indeed. I'm glad to see him back bowling well, but no way should he have leaped back ahead of other so quickly. That said, judging by the way Finn is currently bowling, I'd much prefer Bresnan to be playing on Thursday than Finn! Swann, whilst a welcome return, is a gamble too - don't think he'd be there if Panesar or Tredwell had gotten some wickets early doors this season, but both have been disappointing.

  • Tigg on May 11, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    For crying out loud. I'm glad Bresnan is back up to his old pace but I'd hardly say 3 matches, 13 wickets @27 is enough to automatically regain a squad place. The main competitors (Onions and Woakes) have 21 @27 and 12 @24 including decent performances against New Zealand. Sorry Bres, but prove your fitness for a few more games before you slot back in.

  • whoster on May 11, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    No surprises in the squad, and it's good to see Bresnan back. If he's back to full pace as some suggest, then he's got a lot to offer England. He's a big-hearted competitor and good for team morale; and hopefully his elbow problems are now behind him. Out of the pace bowlers, only Anderson is sure of his place. Finn and Broad both have something to prove, so there's certainly places up for grabs. Bairstow deserves the batting spot vacated by KP, and I don't think anyone can argue with Root's place after some terrific knocks already this season for Yorks and The Lions. In batting and spin bowling England are strong, but one or two questions need to be answered in the pace department.

  • RednWhiteArmy on May 11, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    @mitty2 Why you keep talking about Finn, he wont be in the side dont worry. Bresnan, on the other hand, has apparently recovered from elbow surgery, is back up to pace & deserves his place. After all he has form against australia, doesnt he, sport?

  • Puffin on May 11, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    Good to see Swann back, but there are too many weak links in the squad to be comfortable, a good opposition will cause them trouble I think. They'll be relying on a few star players a bit too much, which is worrying because they aren't always able to carry the duds.

  • jmcilhinney on May 11, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    @AlexfromPessac on (May 11, 2013, 9:13 GMT), good question. Given that Root is an opener by trade and has said that he thinks of himself as an opener, there's a fair bet that they'd move him up the order and bring someone else in in the middle. Alternatively, Carberry's decent innings against NZ for the Lions might be enough to get him a gig if they didn't want to expose Root to the added pressure.

  • jmcilhinney on May 11, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @George Collins on (May 11, 2013, 8:59 GMT), if the gaping hole you're talking about is at the #5 and #6 spot then you might want to check out the scorecard in the current warmup game between NZ and the Lions. It's only a warmup but I'd say that NZ's middle order is more of a worry right now.

  • Mitty2 on May 11, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    And @optic, as I speak Steven Finn is 0/80 off 20 overs, he truly has motored on from tests hasn't he!

    @clarke501, the statement was a bit off, but I could go on to much greater depth on why an attack featuring two inconsistent, or 'hit or miss' bowlers in Finn and broad will never be prosperous. (How are anderson and swann meant to dominate when they have two leaking bowlers that they have to take up the slack for?) Topley has potential no doubt, but he was just a name that rolled off the tongue to emphasize a point.

    Ignoring my attempts at justification, on the actual squad, you'd have to agree with @JG2074. There wouldn't possibly be a better time to debut woakes or play onions into some international form, especially when considering england's general success in tests in may.

  • Optic on May 11, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    @JG2704 Not really fair to say that really is it, how quickly did they drop Finn during the Ashes, how quick did they drop Bopara during the Ashes before, how about Morgan after the UAE. It's also the consistent selection policy that has enabled us to rise to the top of the wold in all 3 formats at one time or another the past year. The fact is cream always rises to the top, as we have seen in Joe Root, who got his chance in India after Thorpe had been impressed with his batting in the EEP games. For my money Woakes would be a non factor in Test cricket, he's not fast enough or tall enough and doesn't do enough with the ball to compensate.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 11, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Early season at Lords-what is there not to want about Onions? Weird decision when you consider that CC performances are the only guide they have had. For the rest the squad picked itself.

  • Optic on May 11, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    @CarlP Bresnan was barely good enough at his peak, lol don't talk wet. He certainly showed more than Onions up until he got his elbow trouble he'd taken 41 wickets at an average of 23 in his first 10 tests. The fact is because I've seen both bowl at Durham this year, is that Bresnan was faster and more threatening especially when the pitch went flat. Onions it's sad to say has lost his pace since his back troubles and has trouble picking wickets up and flat wickets around the Counties even in the Championship and we saw what happened to Bresnan when he lost his pace. Seriously people who are talking Bresnan down haven't seen him bowl this year and maybe the selectors want to see how he's responded to his surgery before the Ashes.

  • landl47 on May 11, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    The England selectors have stuck with the squad that has been together for a while now. The batting looks pretty robust, with all the batsmen having made runs this season and Root and Bairstow currently putting together a good partnership against NZ. The bowlers haven't been quite as impressive; Broad has looked the best of them, but with Swann and Bresnan coming back from injury and Finn being a big unit who takes time to find a rhythm, maybe that's understandable. I hope Jimmy Anderson really is fit; he didn't have much zip in NZ and looked to be less than 100%.

    England has some young pace prospects in Topley and Jamie Overton, but they're still teenagers and shouldn't be anywhere near the squad yet. Give them a couple of years of 4-day cricket before moving up to 5-day games. We don't need any Pat Cummins-type problems in our young bowlers.

  • Mitty2 on May 11, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Oh so @optic what point of comparison am I meant to use? Obsession with stats? Hah! If you really think that broad and Finn are in your best three quicks than england's in a big hole.

    How about you re-watch Finn and broad against new Zealand - recently an infamously (and pathetically) brittle batting line up - and hopefully you could realise that they were more innocuous than an attack of hilfenhaus and johnson. Not even the most one-eyed England supporter could say that their pace attack has functioned well recently, but then again, this is the team that has accompanying hyperbole about Anderson and swann being equivalent to McGrath/warne and predicting a 2-0 win over SA.

    Finn's economy rate of 3.6 is worse than MJs and due to playing Bangladesh four times has an inflated average of 29.6. Broad has a very mediocre career average of 31.92 and has never had an average below 30. Would that not suggest that there's better options? And if there's not... England are in trouble.

  • JG2704 on May 11, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    @AlexfromPessac on (May 11, 2013, 9:13 GMT) The one good thing is Root in that he is so adaptable about where he plays so I guess he would open

  • JG2704 on May 11, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    Pretty uninspiring squad for my money. Also we have 3 out of the 4 bowlers (likely to play) who have had serious injuries in the last 6 months or so. Have to agree with CarlP in that if they wanted a number 7 or 8 who can bat a bit (alot) go for Woakes. If not maybe go for Onions. Personally , I don't think Finn has done that much in the test arena in the last year or so either. But it seems these days that the only way consistent county performers get in the side is through injury/retirement which is kind of sad.

  • shillingsworth on May 11, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    @myboyharry - I'm not sure that the fact that you happen to disagree with the selections of Bopara and Bresnan proves your lazy assertion that the selectors favour players from certain counties. The panel comprises 4 individuals, none of whom have any connection with Yorkshire and only one of whom briefly played for Essex. I'd suggest that the evidence is thin, to say the least. @Mitty2 - The idea that Topley is currently superior to Finn, Broad and Bresnan on the basis of first class bowling averages is certainly the product of a parallel universe.

  • Herbet on May 11, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    @AlexfromPessac - I'm just guessing here but I don't know, maybe Root?!

    If Bairstow makes runs in this series I can see him getting an Ashes berth and Root opening in place of Compton when Pietersen comes back.

  • Optic on May 11, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @ Mitty2 I'm sorry but you really have no idea what you're talking about. How can you compare someone like Roland jones or Topley's stats or any of them for that matter's first class record to Broad. Broad has for the past 5 years hardly played any first class games, if he was playing regularly has he has demonstrated when he does play for Notts (averages 17 this year) he would have lowered his stats considerably. Same goes for Finn, he's hardly played anything like the amount of games he would of since he got picked in 2010 and has improved loads since then. Both have missed the past few years of small roller pitches when seam bowlers were picking wickets up for fun. You're obsession with stats and stats alone is hilarious and shows how little you know abut each of the players, eg, Will Gidman averages 21 but no one thinks he should be playing Int cricket. Anyone that watches CC can see that Onions has lost his pace since his back injury, like Bresnan before his op.

  • CarlP on May 11, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Why Bresnan again? Give someone else a go against one of the weaker nations (no offence intended to NZ). If they want someone who can bat and bowl go for Woakes. If not Onions, who would bring something different to the attack. In fact, I'd try any of the younger bowlers out to see if they have what it takes at International level.

    I'm sure he's a lovely guy and a great team player but Bresnan was barely good enough at his peak, pointless having him in now. As someone else has said on here, if your face fits you're in....

  • on May 11, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Mitty2 - You forget that FC bowling stats always favour non Test players over Test players. There's an extra day for batsmen to construct an innings and one less day to take 20 wickets. And non Test bowlers in England are favoured even more by bowler friendly surfaces whilst Test bowlers figures (particularly fast bowlers) are diminished by bowling in batting friendly arenas such as India. Hopefully Roland-Jones, Woakes and Harris have Test careers ahead of them but comparing their stats to Test bowlers now is a non-sequitur. Bresnan has been bowling well and is worthy of his selection.

  • DaveMorton on May 11, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    I am a huge fan of Onions, myboyharry, but if you were at the recent Durham v Yorkshire County Championship game you would have seen Bresnan outbowl him, so I can't see how you can have any complaints.

    Brezzy is back, fit and strong and in good rhythm. Yorkshire's loss is England's gain.

  • GeoffreysMother on May 11, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    AlexfromPessac - Joe Root would move up to 1,2,or 3 in the event of an injury there with Carberry as an experienced option if necessary. Taylor, Vince or Ballance would fill in in the middle order (though the selectors seem also to be showing some faith in Bopara).

    Mitty2 - coming back from injury on run rich wickets Bresnan has taken 14 wickets at 27. I'm not sure where you are coming from. Broad took his at 17. Your selection ptrategy of pin the tail on the donkey suggests you might work for Cricket Australia. The others, especially Onions, are good back ups but not forcing themselves to be selected yet. Finn is worth persevering with but he does need to start knocking bails of with the ball more regularly.

  • Cmar on May 11, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    No onions?. No imagination. Durham's gain.

  • myboyharry on May 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    As a Durham fan, and therefore for purely selfish reasons, I'm glad that Onions isnt in the squad. It helps the County out.

    However for the lad himself I'm really not sure what he has to do to get back into the squad. Would you really put Bresnan in before Onions?

    It looks to me like a clear case of "if your face fits".

    What next Bopara given yet another chance...oh hang on...he plays for Essex...now we get it....LOL.

  • Nutcutlet on May 11, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Considering the relative form of Finn & Onions thus far this season, I suspect that Finn got the nod this time on the basis of continuity. (Onions: 18wks @27.00 in four matches, econ 3.25; Finn 7 @36.14, in three +, econ 2.81). As it is, I'd expect Finn to be left out in any case. I wonder how far behind Onions is T Roland-Jones right now?

  • AlexfromPessac on May 11, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Who is the reserve opener for this summer if either Cook or Compton get injured?

  • cabinet96 on May 11, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    I assume they took all of Onions shoelaces before picking the squad? Worried if they didn't.

  • on May 11, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Can't help but see a gaping hole in the English middle order. Hopefully the black caps can exploit it and make this as interesting a series as their home tests.

  • Mitty2 on May 11, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Bresnan, in four matches, average of 210, doesnt that say enough? His FC bowling average is even above 30 - he reminds me of Mitchell starc in that he's vastly overrated considering his mediocre bowling figures.

    Very good to see England making some very obvious selection blunders and sticking with some perennial underachievers. I've recently seen English commentators lamenting a palpable lack of quick depth because of recent series' results - botham has said it - but frankly, it's not true. It's just that the selectors have persisted with the same miserly pair of Finn and broad (and now bresnan).

    Compare the FC records of onions, roland jones, woakes, Topley (albeit in division 2), Harris and meaker, and they are all vastly superior to broad's, finn's and bresnan's. Not to mention that your strike bowlers (Anderson, swann) need tight pressure from the other end to be more effective than usual, and in no parallel universe are bresnan, broad and Finn reliable for that job.

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  • Mitty2 on May 11, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Bresnan, in four matches, average of 210, doesnt that say enough? His FC bowling average is even above 30 - he reminds me of Mitchell starc in that he's vastly overrated considering his mediocre bowling figures.

    Very good to see England making some very obvious selection blunders and sticking with some perennial underachievers. I've recently seen English commentators lamenting a palpable lack of quick depth because of recent series' results - botham has said it - but frankly, it's not true. It's just that the selectors have persisted with the same miserly pair of Finn and broad (and now bresnan).

    Compare the FC records of onions, roland jones, woakes, Topley (albeit in division 2), Harris and meaker, and they are all vastly superior to broad's, finn's and bresnan's. Not to mention that your strike bowlers (Anderson, swann) need tight pressure from the other end to be more effective than usual, and in no parallel universe are bresnan, broad and Finn reliable for that job.

  • on May 11, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Can't help but see a gaping hole in the English middle order. Hopefully the black caps can exploit it and make this as interesting a series as their home tests.

  • cabinet96 on May 11, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    I assume they took all of Onions shoelaces before picking the squad? Worried if they didn't.

  • AlexfromPessac on May 11, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Who is the reserve opener for this summer if either Cook or Compton get injured?

  • Nutcutlet on May 11, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Considering the relative form of Finn & Onions thus far this season, I suspect that Finn got the nod this time on the basis of continuity. (Onions: 18wks @27.00 in four matches, econ 3.25; Finn 7 @36.14, in three +, econ 2.81). As it is, I'd expect Finn to be left out in any case. I wonder how far behind Onions is T Roland-Jones right now?

  • myboyharry on May 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    As a Durham fan, and therefore for purely selfish reasons, I'm glad that Onions isnt in the squad. It helps the County out.

    However for the lad himself I'm really not sure what he has to do to get back into the squad. Would you really put Bresnan in before Onions?

    It looks to me like a clear case of "if your face fits".

    What next Bopara given yet another chance...oh hang on...he plays for Essex...now we get it....LOL.

  • Cmar on May 11, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    No onions?. No imagination. Durham's gain.

  • GeoffreysMother on May 11, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    AlexfromPessac - Joe Root would move up to 1,2,or 3 in the event of an injury there with Carberry as an experienced option if necessary. Taylor, Vince or Ballance would fill in in the middle order (though the selectors seem also to be showing some faith in Bopara).

    Mitty2 - coming back from injury on run rich wickets Bresnan has taken 14 wickets at 27. I'm not sure where you are coming from. Broad took his at 17. Your selection ptrategy of pin the tail on the donkey suggests you might work for Cricket Australia. The others, especially Onions, are good back ups but not forcing themselves to be selected yet. Finn is worth persevering with but he does need to start knocking bails of with the ball more regularly.

  • DaveMorton on May 11, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    I am a huge fan of Onions, myboyharry, but if you were at the recent Durham v Yorkshire County Championship game you would have seen Bresnan outbowl him, so I can't see how you can have any complaints.

    Brezzy is back, fit and strong and in good rhythm. Yorkshire's loss is England's gain.

  • on May 11, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Mitty2 - You forget that FC bowling stats always favour non Test players over Test players. There's an extra day for batsmen to construct an innings and one less day to take 20 wickets. And non Test bowlers in England are favoured even more by bowler friendly surfaces whilst Test bowlers figures (particularly fast bowlers) are diminished by bowling in batting friendly arenas such as India. Hopefully Roland-Jones, Woakes and Harris have Test careers ahead of them but comparing their stats to Test bowlers now is a non-sequitur. Bresnan has been bowling well and is worthy of his selection.