West Indies in England 2012 June 2, 2012

England ponder resting Anderson

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It is a measure of England's pace-bowling resources that speculation surrounding the naming of their squad for the third Test against West Indies centres on the possibility of both senior quicks being rested. The prospect may not please either James Anderson or Stuart Broad but with England 2-0 up and the series already won, Andy Flower and the selectors are already looking at challenges to come. Such is the unrelenting nature of the international schedule these days.

Anderson is reportedly set to miss out on the squad altogether, while a decision on Broad is expected to be made before the start of the Edgbaston Test on Thursday. Steven Finn, who has deputised for both in the last 12 months, is favourite to step in but Graham Onions could also win a recall for the first time since 2010, to form an intriguing but inexperienced attack with Tim Bresnan. All three are likely to be included in a 12-man party, to be named on Sunday.

England's new-ball pair of Anderson and Broad are currently ranked No. 3 and No. 6 in Tests respectively and, with both keen to play against a West Indies side that has been tormented by seam and swing in the first two Tests, the management will have to use all their powers of persuasion to promote the benefits of rest. Leaving out both would be an uncharacteristic gamble - and may also provoke accusations of cheapening Test cricket - but with the upcoming visit of Australia for a one-day series, followed by the much-anticipated Test face-off against South Africa and then the defence of their World Twenty20 title later in the year, England are having to seriously address the vexed issue of rotation.

While Broad has suffered with minor injuries over the last year or two and, as England's T20 captain, may have the heavier workload to come, Anderson is the bowling unit's prize asset.

He has been almost ever-present in England's rise to the top of the Test rankings, though he was granted a series off for the tour of Bangladesh in early 2010. Since then, Anderson has taken 111 wickets at 23.36 and missed just one Test, against Sri Lanka at Lord's last summer - a game in which the bowlers seemed to struggle without his leadership as the tourists scored nearly 500 in their first innings and then comfortably batted out a draw on the final day. England will want him in peak condition when Dale Steyn - Anderson's main rival for fast-bowling supremacy in Tests - and his South Africa team-mates arrive next month.

In the wake of England's victory at Trent Bridge, Andrew Strauss, the captain, addressed the possibility of changes to the side. "We've always viewed resting and rotating as something you have to do on a case-by-case basis so we'll speak to the seamers, see how they're feeling and see how we're looking for the rest of the summer," he said.

Elsewhere, the line-up looks relatively settled, despite some disquiet about Jonny Bairstow's shaky response to a bombardment from Kemar Roach in the second Test. The No. 6 spot is really the only area about which England may feel any uncertainty but it would go against the grain of their selection policy in recent times to discard Bairstow after just three innings (one of them 0 not out). Ravi Bopara has only played second-XI cricket since suffering a thigh injury that cost him his chance at the start of the series and, while Nick Compton, James Taylor and even Ben Stokes have played attention-grabbing innings in the last week, it seems probable that Bairstow will get another opportunity to prove himself.

Should Flower and Strauss wish to indulge themselves with further experimentation at Edgbaston, however, they could consider returning Matt Prior to the No. 6 spot he recently occupied in Sri Lanka and asking Bresnan - currently making a statistical case as good as any England allrounder of recent times - to also move up the order. Having won their last seven Test series in a row at home, England are a formidable side with plenty of options but, with South Africa the last side to outdo them on their own patch, they will take every opportunity to fine tune before July 19 at The Oval.

Possible squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Graham Onions

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on June 3, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (June 03 2012, 08:30 AM GMT) Premiership footballers get rested/rotated all the time so I'm guessing it works. Also Jimmy burnt out after the last Ashes series and was awful in the ODI series/WC. Maybe they are trying to reduce the chance of that happening again

  • JG2704 on June 3, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    @ExplicitPlatinum on (June 02 2012, 19:31 PM GMT) Ironically we have one of yours as a bowling coach in Mushtaq Ahmed. Always loved him as a player

  • JG2704 on June 3, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    @delboy on (June 02 2012, 19:27 PM GMT) "Finn can do the glovework" - are you sure? I know we're doing ok at the moment but that's taking liberties

  • MattyP1979 on June 3, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Total rubbish. Rotation occurs naturally when players get injured. Play the strongest team and if injuries occur replace them. Eng have the best attack in the world, and the replacements would only struggle to get into the SA side. If they are worried about work load go in with 5 bowlers.

  • yorkshirematt on June 3, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    "Rested" or not they'll be sat in the hutch for this one judging by the forecast!

  • on June 3, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    so if england loses to windies if you rest these players and replacement go for over 500 who going take the blame board selector or players

  • sejani_12 on June 3, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    I agree with ExplicitPlatinum a 100%

  • Patchmaster on June 3, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    They should be rested for meaningless ODI's, not tests. ODI is a format on its last legs, save Anderson and Broad for tests, play Finn and Bresnan in the ODI's. Rest Bell, because Narine will destroy him, as he is terrible at playing spin.

  • on June 2, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    These guys are intertainers if they are out of the 3rd Test Who will watch? At least play 1 of them and call it a rotation. We are trying to save Test Cricket here!!!!!!

  • landl47 on June 2, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    I'd rather see England's top bowlers rested for meaningless ODIs than taken out of tests. However, in the county matches concluded today, Finn got 6 wickets in the match and Onions a stunning 11-95 against last season's champions Lancashire (and Durham still lost!). Both are excellent bowlers and will give England every chance of winning. Still, if overwork is a concern, why on earth are England playing a totally pointless ODI series against Australia? Oh, yes, I forgot- money.

  • JG2704 on June 3, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (June 03 2012, 08:30 AM GMT) Premiership footballers get rested/rotated all the time so I'm guessing it works. Also Jimmy burnt out after the last Ashes series and was awful in the ODI series/WC. Maybe they are trying to reduce the chance of that happening again

  • JG2704 on June 3, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    @ExplicitPlatinum on (June 02 2012, 19:31 PM GMT) Ironically we have one of yours as a bowling coach in Mushtaq Ahmed. Always loved him as a player

  • JG2704 on June 3, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    @delboy on (June 02 2012, 19:27 PM GMT) "Finn can do the glovework" - are you sure? I know we're doing ok at the moment but that's taking liberties

  • MattyP1979 on June 3, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Total rubbish. Rotation occurs naturally when players get injured. Play the strongest team and if injuries occur replace them. Eng have the best attack in the world, and the replacements would only struggle to get into the SA side. If they are worried about work load go in with 5 bowlers.

  • yorkshirematt on June 3, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    "Rested" or not they'll be sat in the hutch for this one judging by the forecast!

  • on June 3, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    so if england loses to windies if you rest these players and replacement go for over 500 who going take the blame board selector or players

  • sejani_12 on June 3, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    I agree with ExplicitPlatinum a 100%

  • Patchmaster on June 3, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    They should be rested for meaningless ODI's, not tests. ODI is a format on its last legs, save Anderson and Broad for tests, play Finn and Bresnan in the ODI's. Rest Bell, because Narine will destroy him, as he is terrible at playing spin.

  • on June 2, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    These guys are intertainers if they are out of the 3rd Test Who will watch? At least play 1 of them and call it a rotation. We are trying to save Test Cricket here!!!!!!

  • landl47 on June 2, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    I'd rather see England's top bowlers rested for meaningless ODIs than taken out of tests. However, in the county matches concluded today, Finn got 6 wickets in the match and Onions a stunning 11-95 against last season's champions Lancashire (and Durham still lost!). Both are excellent bowlers and will give England every chance of winning. Still, if overwork is a concern, why on earth are England playing a totally pointless ODI series against Australia? Oh, yes, I forgot- money.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on June 2, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    They've had 10 days off since the 2nd Test and I believe the first S African Test starts around July 19. Add that to the fact the Windies haven't kept England out chasing a 500-something score ... Pick the first choice team and rest all the bowlers for the ODI games which are clogging June. Of course if the Aust ODI's were being ditched for an extra Test or two against S Africa as they should you could understand some rotation.

  • on June 2, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    England should be bold and play both Finn and Onions. On current form they will easily cause as much damage as Broad and Anderson

  • johnathonjosephs on June 2, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    Finn is really good and should be given a chance

  • whatawicket on June 2, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    i see no benifit in resting players in test, odis yes. bowlers have as much chance of getting injuries the next game after a rest. we are just lucky that we have tried as tested replacement bench. lucky old england.

  • on June 2, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    Resting the best players when a series is won makes great sense. It gives Finn, Onions and others the chance to get test match practice. So if/when Broad and or Anderson are ever injured (and fast bowlers are always getting injured) you can replace them with a guy with good test match experience rather than a rookie with zero tests. England have to understand cricket - essp fast bowling - is a SQUAD game not a team game.Rotation is key - essp in dead rubbers like this.

  • JG2704 on June 2, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Personally I've not got a problem with them resting either Broad or Jimmy. Broad is more prone to strain injuries but probably needs the overs more whereas Jimmy has bowled a hell of a lot esp when you consider he did the bulk of the pace bowling when Broad was injured vs SL. There are arguments both ways. One benefit is that we'd get to see how Finn performs vs WI and we've seen very little of him in tests over the last 18 months.We could even try the 5 man attack , therefore lessening Jimmy and Broad's workloads while seeing how the 5 man attckk works. If they are going to stick with the rigid 6 man batting line up then I feel they ought to put whoever they have in mind for the SA series at 6. To my mind there is one man who is currently head and shoulders above everyone in terms of stats this year although I'd be sad as a Somerset fan to be without him

  • ExplicitPlatinum on June 2, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    As a Pak fan, my I support the idea of resting Jimmy Anderson. England have a fantastic bowler who is Steven Finn. I can't understand the purpose of benching a great talent. Pakistan does not have a bowling coach and quite personally, English bowling coaches is the way forward for us. I think English fast bowling coaches are the best in the world. Wasim Akram is on a whole different league though. Anyways, you still have Stuart Broad who is still young and can take responsibility of leading England if he was granted captaincy other than T20's although, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook are very good captains. Good luck to Steven Finn! :D

  • delboy on June 2, 2012, 19:27 GMT

    Blackwash secured let Prior and Anderson sit this one out in favour of Birstow and Finn respectively. Finn can do the glove work. Take KP's advise and start building for the future. Any of the curent division 2 county sides could give this WI setup a good challenge; let some of the boys have a well earned rest.

  • mikey76 on June 2, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    In every other sport there is player rotation, why not cricket. Onions for instance has just taken 11 wickets in the match with Lancashire so it would be an ideal time to give him a run out while Jimmy rests. You don't just want 11 players battle hardened for test cricket, you want 13 or 14 just in case injuries strike. I would like to see Finn and Onions open the bowling and perhaps Root or Stokes exposed to the test match environment. The Australian team of the last 20 years did the same, the likes of MacGill, Colin Miller, Bichel etc all getting games when their main bowlers were rested. Give a guy a taste of test cricket and he will go back to his county and work even harder to get back in. Its a win-win situation.

  • rockon16 on June 2, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    Finn's a good player anf deserves a chance to play

  • desi-blue on June 2, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    itz just 1 test,dnt knw wat all the debate and fuss iz about

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 2, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    This all begs the questions: what is better preparation for players coming up to a big anticipated battle like the SA v. England series - rest, or match practice/experience? If a strike bowler like Anderson if off on rest, wont he just be going to nets/gym/practices anyway? In my opinion, players themselves should be given more choice, and if they are fit and want to play tests then let them! I totally agree with maximum6 (Post on June 02 2012, 16:44 PM GMT): leave the resting for pointless ODI's and T20's. Also, how does this behaviour affect ratings/rankings? If a weaker 'B side' England gets defeated by WI in the 3rd test, will they lose less points than if they use their 'full-strength' team?

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 2, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Obviously there are people who disagree with me, including some regular posters here, but I do not think this 'resting' of players makes sense. We hear a lot these days about the "Australian"-style ambitions of this England team, and only the other day the England bowling coach was talking up Anderson as if he were as good as Glen McGrath. Well, the Australian side of the noughties ruthlessly went about trying to win every test match (which is why they went on 2 world record runs of 16 consecutive test victories). They weren't satisfied with a couple of wins before putting their feet up for a nice rest; that would have seemed complacent, and disrespectful to test cricket and the opponents. Also, notwithstanding this talk of 'the unrelenting nature' of the schedule, centrally contracted players like Broad and Anderson hardly play at all; 15 years ago they'd now be playing county cricket. There's more danger that these bowlers might lose rhythm from lack of cricket than play too much.

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    @Varun Vinod - I agree, Jimmy Anderson has "only" dismissed Tendulkar seven times in ten matches, Boucher, Kallis Clarke and Sangakkara six times plus Smith, Dravid and Prince five times. Oh yes, Tendulkar averages a whopping 27.71 vs Anderson, Dravid 32.60, Laxman 21.50 and Dhoni 15.33. No wonder Indian fans don't rate Jimmy Anderson.

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    To be honest, the young Finn is a really good fast bowler and clearly talented with the ball. In my opinion, I will use Finn in the last Test Match and replace him for Anderson as I feel Anderson needs a short break for the big South Africa series later in the Summer. I will also consider using Onions as well and replace him just for this Test Match for Broad so he too can get a short break. This is risky for players positions but the Team comes first and its important England has more players who are ready to play for England in case some of the first 11 of the England team pick up injuries. I will also continue to play the young Bairstow in the third Test Match just to give him a chance but if he fails this time around, then I wouldn't consider using him for the South Africa series for now as I feel he will be of no use even though he's a good player but just not ready for the big stage yet.

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    Why not play five bowlers? I hear KP is a little tired...

    (only joking, before everyone jumps in! I would leave out Bairstow and let Prior bat at six)

  • TimelessTests on June 2, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    @maximum6: Spot on in all aspects. Would love to see Compton being given a chance though a bit rough on Bairstow.

    @Varun Vinod: You might be alone on that one.

  • wiseshah on June 2, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    @varun Vinod--- you must be kidding. i am sure u will say sreesanth or balaji is better than James anderson. anderson is one of the finest bowler of the world now

  • MrPontingToYou on June 2, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    rest them both, and give taylor the number 6 spot.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 2, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Honour Test cricket and leave them out for some ODI's and T20's. Anything else would be ridiculous unless they pull upwith more than a slight niggle before Thursday. There are 8 ODI's. They are the place to use subs, particularly v Aus who should not be here till next summer. This ridiculous overkill nonsense should have been taken up with a 4th Test vs SA. now even the Australians donn't want to come for it. The authorities need to be less hung up on making a bit of extra dosh and more on keeping the cricket relevant and interestiong which a further Test v SA would be. Re Bairstow, Steyn must be licking his lips already. Seriously this is a time for men not boys. Roach has done us a favour which we ignore at our peril. It they don't want to bring back Bopara on Thurs, in place of whom Bairstow was included, then try Compton who has been around for a while, and is in top form.After all we are always being told that championship runs DO COUNT.

  • on June 2, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    james anderson is not such a good player. finn bowls better

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  • on June 2, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    james anderson is not such a good player. finn bowls better

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 2, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Honour Test cricket and leave them out for some ODI's and T20's. Anything else would be ridiculous unless they pull upwith more than a slight niggle before Thursday. There are 8 ODI's. They are the place to use subs, particularly v Aus who should not be here till next summer. This ridiculous overkill nonsense should have been taken up with a 4th Test vs SA. now even the Australians donn't want to come for it. The authorities need to be less hung up on making a bit of extra dosh and more on keeping the cricket relevant and interestiong which a further Test v SA would be. Re Bairstow, Steyn must be licking his lips already. Seriously this is a time for men not boys. Roach has done us a favour which we ignore at our peril. It they don't want to bring back Bopara on Thurs, in place of whom Bairstow was included, then try Compton who has been around for a while, and is in top form.After all we are always being told that championship runs DO COUNT.

  • MrPontingToYou on June 2, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    rest them both, and give taylor the number 6 spot.

  • wiseshah on June 2, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    @varun Vinod--- you must be kidding. i am sure u will say sreesanth or balaji is better than James anderson. anderson is one of the finest bowler of the world now

  • TimelessTests on June 2, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    @maximum6: Spot on in all aspects. Would love to see Compton being given a chance though a bit rough on Bairstow.

    @Varun Vinod: You might be alone on that one.

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    Why not play five bowlers? I hear KP is a little tired...

    (only joking, before everyone jumps in! I would leave out Bairstow and let Prior bat at six)

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    To be honest, the young Finn is a really good fast bowler and clearly talented with the ball. In my opinion, I will use Finn in the last Test Match and replace him for Anderson as I feel Anderson needs a short break for the big South Africa series later in the Summer. I will also consider using Onions as well and replace him just for this Test Match for Broad so he too can get a short break. This is risky for players positions but the Team comes first and its important England has more players who are ready to play for England in case some of the first 11 of the England team pick up injuries. I will also continue to play the young Bairstow in the third Test Match just to give him a chance but if he fails this time around, then I wouldn't consider using him for the South Africa series for now as I feel he will be of no use even though he's a good player but just not ready for the big stage yet.

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    @Varun Vinod - I agree, Jimmy Anderson has "only" dismissed Tendulkar seven times in ten matches, Boucher, Kallis Clarke and Sangakkara six times plus Smith, Dravid and Prince five times. Oh yes, Tendulkar averages a whopping 27.71 vs Anderson, Dravid 32.60, Laxman 21.50 and Dhoni 15.33. No wonder Indian fans don't rate Jimmy Anderson.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 2, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Obviously there are people who disagree with me, including some regular posters here, but I do not think this 'resting' of players makes sense. We hear a lot these days about the "Australian"-style ambitions of this England team, and only the other day the England bowling coach was talking up Anderson as if he were as good as Glen McGrath. Well, the Australian side of the noughties ruthlessly went about trying to win every test match (which is why they went on 2 world record runs of 16 consecutive test victories). They weren't satisfied with a couple of wins before putting their feet up for a nice rest; that would have seemed complacent, and disrespectful to test cricket and the opponents. Also, notwithstanding this talk of 'the unrelenting nature' of the schedule, centrally contracted players like Broad and Anderson hardly play at all; 15 years ago they'd now be playing county cricket. There's more danger that these bowlers might lose rhythm from lack of cricket than play too much.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 2, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    This all begs the questions: what is better preparation for players coming up to a big anticipated battle like the SA v. England series - rest, or match practice/experience? If a strike bowler like Anderson if off on rest, wont he just be going to nets/gym/practices anyway? In my opinion, players themselves should be given more choice, and if they are fit and want to play tests then let them! I totally agree with maximum6 (Post on June 02 2012, 16:44 PM GMT): leave the resting for pointless ODI's and T20's. Also, how does this behaviour affect ratings/rankings? If a weaker 'B side' England gets defeated by WI in the 3rd test, will they lose less points than if they use their 'full-strength' team?