Pakistan v England 2011-12

England assess bowling options

Andrew McGlashan

January 10, 2012

Comments: 57 | Text size: A | A

Graham Onions is now a full member of England's touring squad, Dubai, January 10, 2012
Graham Onions could get a chance in England's final warm-up match © Getty Images

England face an important few days as they try to formulate their bowling attack for the first Test against Pakistan following the loss of Tim Bresnan. He flew home on Tuesday having been ruled out of action until at least the one-day series while there are lingering problems with other members of the squad.

Graeme Swann, the offspinner, is due to go for a scan on a leg problem that kept him off the field on the final morning against the ICC Combined XI but Andrew Strauss said he wasn't overly concerned. Chris Tremlett is still struggling with the eye infection he picked up during the early days of the tour.

Graham Onions, the Durham paceman, has now been made an official member of the squad and could play in the final warm-up match against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI so that Strauss and Andy Flower have options available to them for the first Test next week. If Swann isn't risked ahead of the series it would also allow Monty Panesar an outing.

Onions was back involved with England squads towards the end of the last season but hasn't featured in a full international since January 2010 against South Africa after which he suffered a career-threatening back injury that required surgery.

"I wouldn't say when I was playing I took it for granted. But you turn up and have the ball in your hand and then all of a sudden, as happened to me in Bangladesh, you get injured," he told reporters in Dubai. "That's quite hard to take. But I'm here now and I want to make a difference as part of this team. They weren't number one when I was playing. I want to be part of that side."

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are certainties for the first Test barring any late injury problems so Onions is in contention for the third fast-bowling spot along with Tremlett and Steven Finn. Finn bowled 27 overs against the ICC XI and took three wickets as he tries to return to the Test side for the first time since the second Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's. Tremlett was the man in possession at the start of the India series before injury allowed Bresnan his opportunity.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by 5wombats on (January 13, 2012, 17:49 GMT)

@Elliott_Tree on (January 11 2012, 12:39 PM GMT) In reply to your enquiry - We have have tickets for that Test. Days 1 & 2 . OCS Block 3. It's cheap and cheerful. Tweet us - you can meet the wombats!

Posted by JG2704 on (January 12, 2012, 23:06 GMT)

@righthandbat on (January 12 2012, 04:02 AM GMT) - Wouldn't have Broad above Prior but other than that the team looks good. I'd also see what conditions are like. I mean if it's a spinning pitch Monty deserves a chance on today's form.

Posted by 2929paul on (January 12, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

Would think it unlikely they will pick five bowlers now that Bresnan has gone home, at least for the first Test. However as an attacking option if they go one down or if it's level after two Tests I could see them with two spinners, Broad, Anderson and Finn or Tremlett. I'd go for Finn but wouldn't mind Tremlett. In the summer I would like to see us select the following side to play Australia in at least one of the ODIs: Lumb, Strauss, Pietersen,Morgan, Kieswetter, Trott, Prior, Stokes, Meaker, Dernbach, Rankin.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 12, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

@RandyOZ on (January 12 2012, 11:49 AM GMT) - You're right. A few years ago we did a scouting trip to Australia and saw a few guys named Doherty , Beer and Stark but they were nowhere near the high standard we were looking for. Someone suggested that they could just field or even retrieve any balls which went to the boundary but they weren't even deemed good enough for that. So we opted to try Ireland out instead as they have a deeper pool of talent in both batting and bowling. Then we heard about this guy called Pattinson who was quick but we decided against him. He reminded us of a guy we had years ago called Devon Malcolm in terms of the pace he generated but unfortunately he didn't have as much control as Devon

Posted by JG2704 on (January 12, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

@righthandbat on (January 12 2012, 04:02 AM GMT) - Wouldn't have Broad above Prior but other than that the team looks good. I'd also see what conditions are like. I mean if it's a spinning pitch Monty deserves a chance on today's form.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 12, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

We have have tickets for that Test. Days 1 & 2 . OCS Block 3. It's cheap and cheerful. Tweet us - you can meet the wombats!

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 12, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Oh boy Onions......haha. Jeez the talent is thin. Next Rankin will be called up. Sure the claws are out for de Lange too!

Posted by righthandbat on (January 12, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

@JG2704 - I love your thinking with Broad at 6 or even 7. It's amazing how little teams are willing to deviate from the 4-pronged bowling attack, even when they have capable all-rounders.

Tremlett should probably be picked over Onions IMHO. If Swann isn't 100% you'd have to give Monty another trundle. If he is fit I would play:

Strauss (c), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Broad, Prior, Swann, Anderson, Finn, Tremlett.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

@Elliot Tree, Yorkshire Pudding & JG2704: yup, I'm aware that the Broad-as-genuine-all-rounder-at-six scenario is kinda pie-in-the-sky right now - especially as it could all go horribly wrong if he were to fail in, say, 70% of his innings - but I'd still like to see how he'd handle the extra responsibility. If he scores big against Pakistan, perhaps Flower & Strauss will consider such an experiment against the minnows of Sri Lanka, the WIndies & India next year.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 11, 2012, 20:20 GMT)

@Elliott_Tree on (January 11 2012, 11:57 AM GMT) - Morgan might prove me wrong and I hope he does but I still believe we would gain more by playing 5 bowlers because I believe the difference an extra bowler will give us will reduce the Pakistani's totals by more than an extra batsmen (meaning Morgan or Bopara) would increase our total - does that make sense ? As I said before with Morgan , he'd be the 1st or 2nd batsman I'd have in our OD or T20 side but he hasn't cut it for me on the test side. I don't have the stats which may or may not back me up , but when I've seen Morgan do well in test cricket it has been after our top order batsmen have run the fielding side ragged. I think that having 6 batsmen , unless all are performing can give the team a false sense of batting security. The other thing is that if any of our bowlers were to break down (a few carry knocks) it would be a significantly larger blow if we only had 3 other bowlers

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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