England v Australia, 1st Test, Cardiff July 4, 2009

Harmison and Panesar await their fate

32

Who should be in England's squad? Have your say

The speed with which England vacated the field at Edgbaston on Friday afternoon revealed plenty about their mindset in the lead-in to next week's first Test in Cardiff. The time was 5pm on a perfect summer's afternoon, and the opportunity was there for at least another hour and a half of fine-tuning. However, it was not deemed necessary by England's think tank, who have seen enough already, and just want to get the proper action underway now.

On Sunday, that action will come one step closer to fruition when the national selector, Geoff Miller, unveils England's trimmed-down squad for Wednesday's massively anticipated Ashes opener. That Miller has spent the week in the stands at Worcester, watching the Lions - and more pertinently, Steve Harmison - rather than fussing about the form of, say, Monty Panesar, suggests that 11 of the expected 13 names on his list will be fairly easy to second-guess.

All the permutations, therefore, come down to the selection of two men: the squad's spare batsman, and of course, the extra seamer, a man who remains highly likely to complement the chosen triumvirate of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Andrew Flintoff, given that Cardiff's reputation as a raging turner has resulted in a mere 17 wickets for spinners, out of a possible 120, in three Championship matches this season. Regardless of his three morale-boosting wickets at Edgbaston on Thursday, Panesar's own figures for Northamptonshire last month were 2 for 149.

The fact that England have yet to finalise their squad was telegraphed by the sight of Miller's fellow selectors, James Whitaker and Ashley Giles, joining him on the balcony at Worcester for the final day of the Lions match. As fate would have it, the England captain, Andrew Strauss, arrived at the ground just as Harmison and Graham Onions were about to take the new ball in Australia's second innings. That pair, plus the injury-prone but highly rated Ryan Sidebottom, are the front-runners for that final berth, and their fates will be revealed in an announcement at Old Trafford at 10am on Sunday.

If the heart says Harmison, after the fury of his performance against the Australians this week, the head suggests that Onions will be permitted to continue in the role in which he excelled, in albeit subdued circumstances, against West Indies earlier in the year. Having claimed five wickets on debut at Lord's, including four in seven balls, Onions impressed with his versatility in the second Test at Chester-le-Street, where at various stages of the match he found swing, bounce and aggression to meet his team's requirements.

Continuity calls for Onions' inclusion, even if Harmison is the last man that the Aussies would wish to line up against right now. Besides, the impression gleaned from the winter campaign in the Caribbean is that Harmison still has a lot of ground to make up with the management - not least the hard-bitten new coach, Andy Flower - after a lacklustre series of performances. His inclusion would be expedient in the circumstances, but having gone to such lengths to arrange that squad bonding exercise in Flanders last week, it would be peculiar if England went fishing outside their initial squad of 16 at this crucial stage of the series.

What is more, it is arguable that Harmison may already have done his job for this summer. In 2005, his furious five-wicket onslaught on the first morning at Lord's was the performance that spelt out to the Aussies the extent of the challenge that awaited them. If truth be told, he was rarely as effective thereafter - he made vital incisions, most notably the dismissals of Michael Clarke and Mike Kasprowicz at Edgbaston, but claimed just nine wickets at 50.22 in the remaining four Tests of the series.

What Harmison has done, however, is put on the sort of welcoming committee that Australian sides have habitually laid on for English touring teams. His unbridled hostility with the ball has been coupled with a selection of choice barbs that reveal an astonishing appetite for a tussle from a man who came across so meekly in Australia three years ago. It hasn't quite been like watching the long-retired Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson chopping England down to size in regular tour openers at Lilac Hill, but it's not far removed.

Even Harmison himself does not expect to feature at Cardiff, but the lurking menace of his Worcester performance is quite enough national service for now - in particular, the manner in which he has dissected the technique of Australia's wunderkind opener, Phillip Hughes. "I have put loads of doubt in him [Hughes]," said Harmison. "I imagine I've put doubt in a lot of the batsmen's minds."

As for the 13th man in the squad, Michael Vaughan's retirement has cleared the clutter quite nicely as far as the selectors are concerned. Regardless of his first-ball duck for the Lions, Ian Bell's class is such that he's unlikely to be shunned at this stage of the series, even if his temperament has yet to convince everyone. Including, quite possibly, the man himself.

Possible Test squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • darkness on July 5, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    1.strauss,2.cook,3.bopara,4.pietersen,5.collingwood,6.flintoff,7.prior,8.broad,9.harmison,10.anderson,11.swann

  • popcorn on July 5, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    The Pommies are desperately trying to forget the humiliation of their 5 nil whipping in The Ashes 2006 -07 - but they cannot. They'll get whipped again, whatever squad they choose.

  • MitchellYoung on July 5, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Why would you not put Harmison in your team? If you want players to win you matches then he is an obvios chioce. He is experienced having been through three ashes series hes got to be selected. he has genuine pace and will scare batsman like Hughes and North who havnt seen alot of him. I would also give bell a run ahead of Bopara for the first test atleast again for the experience factor. if he dosnt prefeorm then Bopara comes in at Lords. Australian batsman have a weaknes with the ball moving around just outside off so get the four strong pace attack and have them bowl on that line the should all move it. This also creates rough outside the left handers off stump for Swann and a little bit of Pietersen to aim at later on. Team for first test: 1. Strauss (c) 2. Cook 3. Bell 4. Pietersen 5. Collingwood 6. Flintoff 7. Prior 8. Broad 9. Swann 10. Harmison 11. Anderson

  • spicypotnoodle on July 5, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    The whole will-he-or-won't-he debate over Harmison has been nothing more than pointless distraction - or at least I hope that proves to be the case and he doesn't make the squad. Harmison's fragile state of mind is the last thing England need if they've any chance of regaining the Ashes. He may have roughed up Phil Hughes (due to fail) and snared Ponting (saves his runs for the big occasion) but I still think that the Aussies would secretly be much happier facing Harmison than Onions or even Rashid. Harmison is a known quantity to them and, apart from the first day of the 2005 Ashes when they were caught cold, the Aussies have always played him with ease. I assume the final place in the XI will be see a shootout between Onions, Monty and Rashid. Play your five best bowlers, I say. We know Anderson, Broad, Freddie and Swann are four of them. I'd make Onions the fifth - although Rashid's batting would be handy.

  • rustom_deboo on July 5, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    my xi.. strauss, cook, bopara, pietersen, collingwood, flintoff, prior, broad, anderson, harmison, panesar.

  • cricketmad1234 on July 5, 2009, 6:03 GMT

    Doesnt really matter who England select. Wont change the outcome . Australia 5-0 Harmison, Onions or Panesar wont be any threat to the Austraian batting line up.England should worry about their batting line up not their bowling attack. The england batting line up wont be able to handle Johnson,Lee, Siddle and Clark. England wont make over 300 runs in an innings for the entire series. Aussie Aussie Aussie 5-0

  • vishwastar on July 5, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    Strauss; Cook; Bopara; Pietersen; Collingwood; Prior; Flintoff; Broad; Swann; Anderson;onions; i think harmison needs to be there in squad.

  • Ilin on July 5, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    panesar is best option,as kangaroos always struggles against a quality spinner like kumble,bhajji,murlitharan.england is lucky to have a good spinner like panesar.he should be in.

  • desoler on July 5, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    harmison can be droppeed if broad makes his role as the strike bowler who emphasizes more on bounce not on swing at initial stage.bcoz anderson has the swing and broad is not extraordinary wit his swing espesially to left handers.australians have 5 left handers in top 8.broad bounces well so he would be like of harmison and his battin gets more point than harmison.

    in spin swann n panesar should play, bcoz they r not extraordinary spinners like mendis n murli or bhajji n mishra but both together will be very effective on current english wickets n weather.if condition is seamer friendly then ryan shpuld replace monty. but still question about anderson bcoz his natural bowling is suited for right handers so it's so important to get initial australian wickets by broad

    strauuss, cook, bopara, pietersen, collingwood, flintoff, prior, broad, swann, anderson, panesar(sidebottom) england should not consider only their inform bowlers but bowlers who has ability to get 20 wickets

  • Serenity on July 5, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    I expect the thirteen to be: Strauss; Cook; Bopara; Pietersen; Collingwood; Prior (though it should be Foster keeping); Flintoff; Broad; Swann; Anderson; Panesar; Bell and Onions. With Bell and Onions missing out on the day, unless the Cardiff pitch is more seamer friendly than expected in which case, Onions will play instead of Panesar.

    (I suspect Australia's XI to be Hughes, Katich, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, North, Haddin, Johnson, Lee, Siddle and Clark.)

  • darkness on July 5, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    1.strauss,2.cook,3.bopara,4.pietersen,5.collingwood,6.flintoff,7.prior,8.broad,9.harmison,10.anderson,11.swann

  • popcorn on July 5, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    The Pommies are desperately trying to forget the humiliation of their 5 nil whipping in The Ashes 2006 -07 - but they cannot. They'll get whipped again, whatever squad they choose.

  • MitchellYoung on July 5, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Why would you not put Harmison in your team? If you want players to win you matches then he is an obvios chioce. He is experienced having been through three ashes series hes got to be selected. he has genuine pace and will scare batsman like Hughes and North who havnt seen alot of him. I would also give bell a run ahead of Bopara for the first test atleast again for the experience factor. if he dosnt prefeorm then Bopara comes in at Lords. Australian batsman have a weaknes with the ball moving around just outside off so get the four strong pace attack and have them bowl on that line the should all move it. This also creates rough outside the left handers off stump for Swann and a little bit of Pietersen to aim at later on. Team for first test: 1. Strauss (c) 2. Cook 3. Bell 4. Pietersen 5. Collingwood 6. Flintoff 7. Prior 8. Broad 9. Swann 10. Harmison 11. Anderson

  • spicypotnoodle on July 5, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    The whole will-he-or-won't-he debate over Harmison has been nothing more than pointless distraction - or at least I hope that proves to be the case and he doesn't make the squad. Harmison's fragile state of mind is the last thing England need if they've any chance of regaining the Ashes. He may have roughed up Phil Hughes (due to fail) and snared Ponting (saves his runs for the big occasion) but I still think that the Aussies would secretly be much happier facing Harmison than Onions or even Rashid. Harmison is a known quantity to them and, apart from the first day of the 2005 Ashes when they were caught cold, the Aussies have always played him with ease. I assume the final place in the XI will be see a shootout between Onions, Monty and Rashid. Play your five best bowlers, I say. We know Anderson, Broad, Freddie and Swann are four of them. I'd make Onions the fifth - although Rashid's batting would be handy.

  • rustom_deboo on July 5, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    my xi.. strauss, cook, bopara, pietersen, collingwood, flintoff, prior, broad, anderson, harmison, panesar.

  • cricketmad1234 on July 5, 2009, 6:03 GMT

    Doesnt really matter who England select. Wont change the outcome . Australia 5-0 Harmison, Onions or Panesar wont be any threat to the Austraian batting line up.England should worry about their batting line up not their bowling attack. The england batting line up wont be able to handle Johnson,Lee, Siddle and Clark. England wont make over 300 runs in an innings for the entire series. Aussie Aussie Aussie 5-0

  • vishwastar on July 5, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    Strauss; Cook; Bopara; Pietersen; Collingwood; Prior; Flintoff; Broad; Swann; Anderson;onions; i think harmison needs to be there in squad.

  • Ilin on July 5, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    panesar is best option,as kangaroos always struggles against a quality spinner like kumble,bhajji,murlitharan.england is lucky to have a good spinner like panesar.he should be in.

  • desoler on July 5, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    harmison can be droppeed if broad makes his role as the strike bowler who emphasizes more on bounce not on swing at initial stage.bcoz anderson has the swing and broad is not extraordinary wit his swing espesially to left handers.australians have 5 left handers in top 8.broad bounces well so he would be like of harmison and his battin gets more point than harmison.

    in spin swann n panesar should play, bcoz they r not extraordinary spinners like mendis n murli or bhajji n mishra but both together will be very effective on current english wickets n weather.if condition is seamer friendly then ryan shpuld replace monty. but still question about anderson bcoz his natural bowling is suited for right handers so it's so important to get initial australian wickets by broad

    strauuss, cook, bopara, pietersen, collingwood, flintoff, prior, broad, swann, anderson, panesar(sidebottom) england should not consider only their inform bowlers but bowlers who has ability to get 20 wickets

  • Serenity on July 5, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    I expect the thirteen to be: Strauss; Cook; Bopara; Pietersen; Collingwood; Prior (though it should be Foster keeping); Flintoff; Broad; Swann; Anderson; Panesar; Bell and Onions. With Bell and Onions missing out on the day, unless the Cardiff pitch is more seamer friendly than expected in which case, Onions will play instead of Panesar.

    (I suspect Australia's XI to be Hughes, Katich, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, North, Haddin, Johnson, Lee, Siddle and Clark.)

  • pandoo_123 on July 5, 2009, 0:52 GMT

    Looks like England's Steve Harmisson won't appear for the whole Ashes series as he is on a good form. The selectors have to make a good decision about Harmisson because he is only the bowler to take most wickets for England and as he made a new strategy to get Philip Hughes out with the bouncer. The man who is not on form is Ian Bell as he was gone for a golden duck. My choice would be 1.Strauss 2. Cook 3.Bopara 4. Pietersen 5.Collingwood 6. Flintoff 7.Prior 8.Swann 9. Panesar 10.Broad 11.Anderson.

  • archerdpa on July 4, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    If Cardiff is going to spin (as some are predicting) and England play two spinners, doesn't Prior become a liability behind the stumps? he's mediocre at best stood up to the slow bowlers and England can't afford to waste chances against the Australian top six. If England do wait until the morning of the match to decide the starting XI, surely it would make more sense to select a second 'keeper/batsman in the squad instead of a reserve batsman in Bell. Unfortunately Rashid's bowling looked pedestrian against the Australians at Worcester and Panesar's experience will probably tip the scales in his favour as the second spinner. My squad would be: 1.Strauss 2.Cook 3.Bopara 4.Pietersen 5.Collingwood 6.Prior 7.Flintoff 8.Broad 9.Swann 10.Anderson 11.Panesar 12.Foster 13.Onions.l

  • roflrofl60 on July 4, 2009, 20:53 GMT

    I think England should go with 2 spinners, seeing how spinners have troubled them with South Africa and India the XI should be

    Strauss, Cook, Bell, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Panesar

  • orbaiz86 on July 4, 2009, 20:34 GMT

    1.AJ Strauss, 2.AN Cook, 3.RS Bopara, 4.KP Pietersen, 5.PD Collingwood, 6.MJ Prior, 7.A Flintoff, 8.SCJ Broad, 9.GP Swann, 10.JM Anderson, 11.SJ Harmison.

  • mikeycricashton on July 4, 2009, 20:15 GMT

    excellent point re Harmison in 05 after Lord's he hardly had a say in the remaining tests so it makes you wonder why he was deemed to be our great hope in 2006-7?! he has let england down time and again; onions i'm all for. if a batsman gets crocked i'm scared for ian bell he's been wretched recently and will not performance against the aussies as he has had no real impact or tons in 10 tests against them

  • Loop on July 4, 2009, 18:52 GMT

    For me the only choice is between Monty and Onions depending on whether it will be a raging bunsen or not.

    As a Yorkshire fan I know only too well Adil bowls 1 or 2 bad balls an over and as such can't build pressure on a batsman. There will be enough rough outside the left handers off stump for Monty to be very effective with his stock SLA.

    Onions offers the line and length option with Freddie and Broad both being bang in bowlers and Jimmy covering the swing.

    So the squad should be: Strauss (c), Cook, Bopara, KP, Colly, Prior, Freddie, Broad, Swann, Jimmy, Monty/Onions

  • Dan-argent on July 4, 2009, 18:14 GMT

    Harmison should not be considered. He is too inconsistent to be considered for such an important event. The final XI depends on the pitch, which England will have to examine over the coming days. Rashid and not Panesar should be included in the squad. Panesar has been very ineffective in the county game and does not have the variation of bowling required for Test cricket. Bell should also be consigned to history. Stephen Moore should be the reserve batsman after his excellent century for the Lions. The 13-man squad should be: Strauss (c), Cook, Bopara, Pietersen, Collingwood, Moore, Foster (Prior's wicketkeeping is not deserving of a test spot), Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Onions, Rashid.

  • kupp on July 4, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    Bell has failed again. Forget him, he's giving the selectors a warning of what's coming. The XII should be:

    Strauss, Cook, Bopara, Pietersen, Collingwood, Prior, Flntoff, Broad, Swann, Onions, Anderson, Harmison

  • mandi on July 4, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    I think harmison have to battle with onions/broad for his place.swan will definitely in xi so monty have no chance.

  • curious676 on July 4, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    if england play 2 spinners rashid should be in, but they shouldnt, the team should be as follows: strauss, cook, bopara, pietersen, collingwood, prior, flintoff, broad, swann, onions anderson. panesar is a joke and should be forgotten about, onions has done nothing to warrant him being dropped. harmison shouldn't be considered

  • 123_97 on July 4, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    1.Strauss(capt) 10.Broad 2.Cook 11.Anderson 3.Bopara 12.Swann 4.Pietersen 13Onions 5.Collingwood 6.Flintoff 7.Bell 8.Prior 9.Harmison Drop Onions and Shah from the playing XI

  • whoster on July 4, 2009, 15:50 GMT

    Good to see Harmison get amongst the Aussies, but England should resist the urge to recall him. There is enough quality without him, and he is always a gamble. Two spinners is tempting, but too much has been made of the spin issue. Anderson, Broad and Flintoff are the core fast bowlers. I'd like to see Sidebottom join them, as he looks like he's back to full fitness. He is dependable, and adds useful variation. Onions and Bresnan are also knocking on the door. Makes a nice change to have so many options. Strauss, Cook, Bopara, Pietersen, Collingwood, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Sidebottom, Anderson. Bring on the Aussies!

  • viththy on July 4, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    My best 11 :Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, , Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions.

  • Lateralis on July 4, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    Bell is the new Ramprakash. We should recognise this fact and jettison him before his lackadaisical approach to batting at the highest level infects everyone else. I would not play Panesar as he is a very one dimensional cricketer and will not disrupt the Australian batsmen too much - his only wickets in the current match have been tailenders. Reminds me of Giles without the good fielding, capable batting and intelligence. Not sure what to make of Sidebottom at the moment - didn't play in either warm up and I've not seen him bowl yet this summer.

    On the basis of Harmison's bowling in this match he should play at Cardiff. Also, Harmison's record record at home is a lot better than abroad and I suspect he is a bowler the Astralians will genuinely fear. He's already hit a couple of them in this match and can bowl in excess of 90mph. Along with Flintoff they are a fearsome pair. Broad to be the "shop floor sweeper" and Anderson to be the main swinger and Swan the spinner.

  • udit9 on July 4, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    Harmison would be a huge gamble and doesn't deserve a place in the team ahead of stuart broad . England will play the 1 spinner and 4 pace bowlers which i think is the right way to go. All the rest of the squad is settled and know what is expected of them . The player to watch out for is probably RAVI BOPARA.

  • asimshamim on July 4, 2009, 13:59 GMT

    Well as far as Harmison is concerned it would be a bit of a gamble considering his erratic bowling at times. On his day he can be devastating , lethal and swashbuckling but on other he looks completely out of sorts. But I would always prefer Harmison on Broad b/c in my view Broad is not an international material.

  • SamratSunny on July 4, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    My best 11 should be like this: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson. England will be miss Ryan Sidebottom very much. He can give backthrough with the new ball and the old ball as well, moreover he can get 4/5 wickets as well and he is a left arm bowler has some variety as well. Stuart Board not bad, he is young quick, but he is new in test arena, so can't expect much for him. England can remove one specialist batsman, like Ian Bell and will play with 5 specialist bowlers. Then can remove Ian Bell and can take Graham Onions. Onions is in good form as well. It will be a good option for them. So, good luck England. As a very good fan of cricket I wish, this series will be like 2005 Ashes series. Every match will be tensed and exciting. Good luck for both team.

  • RockinRocky on July 4, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    Feeling bad for bell and tim

    Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions,

  • Nipun on July 4, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Andrew Strauss(c),Matthew Prior(wk),Alastair Cook,Kevin Pietersen,Paul Collingwood,Ravi Bopara,Ian Bell,Andrew Flintoff,Stuart Broad,Graeme Swann,Steve Harmison,James Anderson,Graham Onions,Monty Panesar,Ryan Sidebottom.

    This is my perfect 15,which I would maintain for the whole series.I would pick Harmison as the opening bowler simply because he will know that this is his last chance,& the fact that he is playing in England would help him.Personally,I would watch Stuart Broad very closely.It is a wonderful opportunity for him to show how far he has matured.

  • Ruri on July 4, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    I doubt that England will need to play two spinners for this test. Its not a raging turner, and Swann and Pietersen ought to be able to hold down the fort with their spin bowling. Jimmy definetely deserves his spot, and so does Broad I'd say. If the ball is swinging, there are few better than Jimmy as of late so he is an obvious choice. Broad lends some batting abilities as well, and seeing as England don't really bat as far down as Australia, it might be of some use. Furthermore, as a fast bowler, he is rather hostile and has afew inspired spells. I'd like Onions myself in as a third seamer, done decently so far and its the logical thing to do. Though Bresnan would be useful as the third seamer as well with his swing. It's not as prodigious as Jimmy's but it is there, and he can bat in a pinch too. I don't think that Sidebottom is ready to get back to Test cricket at this time, so he shouldn't get the nod based simply on bowling left-arm.

  • kupp on July 4, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Why would Bell be picked after scoring a 0, and Harmison not be after taking 6 wickets? Defies logic. I would go with for a 13-man squad:

    Strauss, Cook, Bopara, Pietersen, Collingwood, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Onions, Sidebottom and Harmison

    When choosing the XI for the first test, look at the pitch and conditions, and pick one of Onions, Sidebottom and Harmison.

  • boris6491 on July 4, 2009, 12:16 GMT

    If England play 2 spinners, I think Adil Rashid has deserved his chance. Panesar hasnt. Neither has he troubled the batsmen to a large extent in the past to be given the nod despite his recent poor form. James Anderson has to take one seam bowling place and I would give the second place to Ryan Sidebottom for variety. Stuart Broad is an excellent cricketer but doesnt offer variety for England whereas Sidebottom (left armer) and Anderson (right armer) provide variety as an opening pair. If England elect for one spinner, then Broad should get the nod over Onions. The batting lineup should remain as it has been for the last couple of tests with Ian Bell and Graham Onions providing backup options. Observing the record at Cardiff, I really feel that England should play 3 seamers plus Graham Swann (and not forgetting Flintoff as a fourth seamer). Australia are unlikely to play one frontline spinner let alone two (which they dont have anyways). This I believe would give England the best chanc

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  • boris6491 on July 4, 2009, 12:16 GMT

    If England play 2 spinners, I think Adil Rashid has deserved his chance. Panesar hasnt. Neither has he troubled the batsmen to a large extent in the past to be given the nod despite his recent poor form. James Anderson has to take one seam bowling place and I would give the second place to Ryan Sidebottom for variety. Stuart Broad is an excellent cricketer but doesnt offer variety for England whereas Sidebottom (left armer) and Anderson (right armer) provide variety as an opening pair. If England elect for one spinner, then Broad should get the nod over Onions. The batting lineup should remain as it has been for the last couple of tests with Ian Bell and Graham Onions providing backup options. Observing the record at Cardiff, I really feel that England should play 3 seamers plus Graham Swann (and not forgetting Flintoff as a fourth seamer). Australia are unlikely to play one frontline spinner let alone two (which they dont have anyways). This I believe would give England the best chanc

  • kupp on July 4, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Why would Bell be picked after scoring a 0, and Harmison not be after taking 6 wickets? Defies logic. I would go with for a 13-man squad:

    Strauss, Cook, Bopara, Pietersen, Collingwood, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Onions, Sidebottom and Harmison

    When choosing the XI for the first test, look at the pitch and conditions, and pick one of Onions, Sidebottom and Harmison.

  • Ruri on July 4, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    I doubt that England will need to play two spinners for this test. Its not a raging turner, and Swann and Pietersen ought to be able to hold down the fort with their spin bowling. Jimmy definetely deserves his spot, and so does Broad I'd say. If the ball is swinging, there are few better than Jimmy as of late so he is an obvious choice. Broad lends some batting abilities as well, and seeing as England don't really bat as far down as Australia, it might be of some use. Furthermore, as a fast bowler, he is rather hostile and has afew inspired spells. I'd like Onions myself in as a third seamer, done decently so far and its the logical thing to do. Though Bresnan would be useful as the third seamer as well with his swing. It's not as prodigious as Jimmy's but it is there, and he can bat in a pinch too. I don't think that Sidebottom is ready to get back to Test cricket at this time, so he shouldn't get the nod based simply on bowling left-arm.

  • Nipun on July 4, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Andrew Strauss(c),Matthew Prior(wk),Alastair Cook,Kevin Pietersen,Paul Collingwood,Ravi Bopara,Ian Bell,Andrew Flintoff,Stuart Broad,Graeme Swann,Steve Harmison,James Anderson,Graham Onions,Monty Panesar,Ryan Sidebottom.

    This is my perfect 15,which I would maintain for the whole series.I would pick Harmison as the opening bowler simply because he will know that this is his last chance,& the fact that he is playing in England would help him.Personally,I would watch Stuart Broad very closely.It is a wonderful opportunity for him to show how far he has matured.

  • RockinRocky on July 4, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    Feeling bad for bell and tim

    Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions,

  • SamratSunny on July 4, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    My best 11 should be like this: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson. England will be miss Ryan Sidebottom very much. He can give backthrough with the new ball and the old ball as well, moreover he can get 4/5 wickets as well and he is a left arm bowler has some variety as well. Stuart Board not bad, he is young quick, but he is new in test arena, so can't expect much for him. England can remove one specialist batsman, like Ian Bell and will play with 5 specialist bowlers. Then can remove Ian Bell and can take Graham Onions. Onions is in good form as well. It will be a good option for them. So, good luck England. As a very good fan of cricket I wish, this series will be like 2005 Ashes series. Every match will be tensed and exciting. Good luck for both team.

  • asimshamim on July 4, 2009, 13:59 GMT

    Well as far as Harmison is concerned it would be a bit of a gamble considering his erratic bowling at times. On his day he can be devastating , lethal and swashbuckling but on other he looks completely out of sorts. But I would always prefer Harmison on Broad b/c in my view Broad is not an international material.

  • udit9 on July 4, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    Harmison would be a huge gamble and doesn't deserve a place in the team ahead of stuart broad . England will play the 1 spinner and 4 pace bowlers which i think is the right way to go. All the rest of the squad is settled and know what is expected of them . The player to watch out for is probably RAVI BOPARA.

  • Lateralis on July 4, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    Bell is the new Ramprakash. We should recognise this fact and jettison him before his lackadaisical approach to batting at the highest level infects everyone else. I would not play Panesar as he is a very one dimensional cricketer and will not disrupt the Australian batsmen too much - his only wickets in the current match have been tailenders. Reminds me of Giles without the good fielding, capable batting and intelligence. Not sure what to make of Sidebottom at the moment - didn't play in either warm up and I've not seen him bowl yet this summer.

    On the basis of Harmison's bowling in this match he should play at Cardiff. Also, Harmison's record record at home is a lot better than abroad and I suspect he is a bowler the Astralians will genuinely fear. He's already hit a couple of them in this match and can bowl in excess of 90mph. Along with Flintoff they are a fearsome pair. Broad to be the "shop floor sweeper" and Anderson to be the main swinger and Swan the spinner.

  • viththy on July 4, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    My best 11 :Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, , Matt Prior (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions.