Pakistan v England 2011-12 January 10, 2012

England assess bowling options

57

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • JG2704 on January 11, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    @Si Baker on (January 11 2012, 11:43 AM GMT - Hello again. I don't think they will play a 5 man bowling attack anyway and now Bresnan has gone home I feel they will be even more loathed to do so with a longer tail even if I think they have more chance conceding less runs by playing an extra bowler compared to the extra runs we'd possibly make when we have 6 batsmen with Morgan being the number 6. However if they did do the 5/1/5 thing I'd see no need for Broad to be promoted to number 6 above Prior. I'd say that Prior could be a number 6 and Broad makes a fair number 7 and a decent number 8 and what I do like about Broad is that he has twice played crucial inns when the batsmen have failed like against Pak and vs India in the 2nd test which I feel was a pivotal moment in the series.

  • JG2704 on January 11, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    @Si Baker on (January 11 2012, 11:43 AM GMT - Hello again. I don't think they will play a 5 man bowling attack anyway and now Bresnan has gone home I feel they will be even more loathed to do so with a longer tail even if I think they have more chance conceding less runs by playing an extra bowler compared to the extra runs we'd possibly make when we have 6 batsmen with Morgan being the number 6. However if they did do the 5/1/5 thing I'd see no need for Broad to be promoted to number 6 above Prior. I'd say that Prior could be a number 6 and Broad makes a fair number 7 and a decent number 8 and what I do like about Broad is that he has twice played crucial inns when the batsmen have failed like against Pak and vs India in the 2nd test which I feel was a pivotal moment in the series.

  • 5wombats on January 11, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    @Khan1983 on (January 11 2012, 00:26 AM GMT) Sorry I need to have it explained to me how the comments here on this thread show any kind of "colonial mindset". 1947 is history. Let it stay history. Now is 2012. Let us begin talk of Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq and the fine cricket skills of both these teams. Let us talk cricket now. What say?

  • on January 11, 2012, 18:11 GMT

    the consequences of hitting yourself with concrete wall is severely harmful-as-your expectation with eng team is leading u through this way. my advice is just watch and see

  • JINNAH0001 on January 11, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    the consequences of hitting yourself with concrete wall is severely harmful-as-your expectation with eng team is leading u through this way. my advice is just watch and see

  • Elliott_Tree on January 11, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Hi guys - apologies for the off-specific-topic request for advice, but (as is often the case) there seem to be a lot of well-informed Eng cricket fans on here... I'm planning a 1st trip to the Oval for the SA Test in July, and wondered if anyone had any top tips on seat-choice (given that my budget is limited to the cheaper areas)? Feel free to flame/ignore as you see fit if unhappy with an inappropriate post.

  • YorkshirePudding on January 11, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    @Si Baker, I wouldnt read too much into broads 169 at Lords, that test was far too tainted, Whiles hes done ok over the last year with the bat, its not enough to justify moving him upo to 6th in the order, If a 5 man attack was decided on then Prior would move upto 6th and Broad would be 7th, with Swann at 8th.

  • Elliott_Tree on January 11, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Si Baker on (January 11 2012, 11:43 AM GMT) - racey :o) Shame that you prob know as well as everyone else that they'll never do it. But I'd like to see them try it to win the series if it started with two bat-dominated draws.

  • Elliott_Tree on January 11, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    Hmmm, batting looking fragile again. Still got confidence that the recent Eng habit of enough people stepping up in any given situation to see them through will continue in the Tests, but need to be careful - one nasty collapse could lose the series if there are a couple of draws.

  • on January 11, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    @Tom Bowler & JG2704: another five-bowler option (albeit one laden with obvious risks), given Bopara's weakness against spin, Patel's non-inclusion & Morgan's poor form as well as his penchant for fishing outside Off during the early part of his innings, is to give Broad the responsibility of batting ahead of Prior at 6. He made a fabulous, stroke-studded 169 against Pakistan at Lord's in 2010 & rescued us twice against India last summer as well, so his recent batting credentials can hardly be questioned. I'd prefer such an experiment to be tried with Bresnan as back-up at 8, though; & preferably against the popgun bowling attacks of Sri Lanka & India next year.

  • Tom_Bowler on January 11, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    I'd have argued for Patel's inclusion but he's not there so England will have to work with what's available. I suspect if Sandwich was either a better bowler in first class cricket or had done more than the absolute minimum required in terms of fitness he'd have got the spot but, unfortunately, his bowling record in four day cricket isn't hugely impressive and he is still carrying way too much timber. Six has taken over from three as England's problem position; Morgan hasn't developed a Test match technique yet and has failed under pressure too often for my liking, Bopara has only convinced sporadically in any format and Patel can't stay away from the pies.

  • JG2704 on January 11, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @landl47 on (January 10 2012, 18:12 PM GMT) - I was about to disagree with you as at first I misread you and thought you were saying Onions would be a poor choice. But yes I agree , he could be as close to Bresnan re length and line as anyone. He's been a consistent performer over the years and will be chomping at the bit to impress in this game.

  • JG2704 on January 11, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Si Baker on (January 11 2012, 08:19 AM GMT) - To be honest , the way Morgan's been playing we could. If Morgan was doing the business with the bat it does lengthen the batting line up. Maybe he'll come on strong and prove the selectors right but by having Morgan in as it stands I don't see a significant batting scorecard increase compared to the benefits an extra bowler will give us. Was disappointed they didn't give Ravi a go as his test form has been pretty much as good as Morgan and he can bowl a few overs to give our pacemen a rest

  • on January 11, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Tremlett has to play, he's improved so much since his return to the team and he has proved that he can bowl consistently enough to create enough pressure on the batsmen by stopping them scoring even if he's not taking wickets. Finn bowls more wicket taking deliveries but hasn't got the control yet to fit into a 4 man attack. I was a big fan of Onions before he got injured, bowled a great line & length and in favourable conditions could get the ball to nibble around enough to cause problems but he hasn't got back to the form he was showing pre back injury. I don't think the bowling will be that much of an issue, its whether we can score big enough runs and its showing in the warm up games. We cannot keep relying on Cook to score big every time and the Pak bowling will be the best we have faced since SA. Pak are a very good side on these types of wickets and if Eng can avoid loosing the series they will have doen very well

  • on January 11, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    @Tom Bowler: the problem with playing Bopara as a third seamer & at No. 6 is that he's been found out by spin before, most recently by Ashwin & Jadeja during England's recent ODI series in India - which is why he's a bad pick for a tour in which Pakistan will almost certainly play two front-line spinners - Ajmal & Rehman - in addition to Hafeez as a highly effective third option. Samit Patel would've been a far wiser pick, not just because he could've functioned adequately as a second spinner, but also because he plays spin exceptionally well himself - as he proved when he tonked the Indian spinners all over the park at Delhi & Mohali during that same ODI series.

  • Tom_Bowler on January 11, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Before he got injured Onions was a regular who has since been leap frogged spectacularly by Finn, Bresnan and Tremlett so it's nice to see his past efforts and his come back being rewarded with a place in the squad. There are a lot of imponderables though; I assume he is now behind Tremlett and Finn in the queue, I don't know if his bowling will be particularly suited to the conditions in the UAE and we have to hope he's not lost anything during his rehabilitation. On the last point presumably not, I would think Flower and Strauss are too hard headed to include a player out of sentimentality. Bresnan's an all round loss and his injury greatly lessens the chances of England playing a five man attack and, as a consequence, two spinners although if a massive turner is presented there is always the option of having Bopara at six who could provide some back up seam. Finally I'm really enjoying the civilised atmosphere as well, long may it continue.

  • Elliott_Tree on January 11, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    Good to see Tremlett and Swann fit enough to play in the PCB XI match (though I see they've gone for Panesar as well - I wonder if that is a trial run for a 2-spinner attack, or just to cover Swann in this match if his leg flares up). Also good to see success and optimism surrounding Pak in the wake of the Butt/Amir/Asif debacle, and in their UAE home-from-home. As long as the pitches aren't too flat, this should be a cracking series (and by 'flat' I don't mean 'not-seaming-all-over-the-place-for-Jimmy-and-co1 - as long as there is something for good bowlers of any nationality to exploit, then I'm happy).

  • on January 11, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    @Rashid Khan: yup, we *should* play two spinners, but now Bresnan's gone, we can't, as playing Panesar as well as Swann would mean that either we go in with only two seamers (a suicidal policy, as we have no part-time seam backup aside from Trott) OR we play five bowlers with a weak tail that might be polished off for next to nothing by a powerful Pakistani attack. The obvious solution would have been to play Samit Patel as a No. 6 or 7 batsman & second spinner, but unfortunately he wasn't even picked in the squad: instead, we have Ravi Bopara, who'll be doing nothing more than carrying the drinks for the next few weeks.

  • on January 11, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    Why not Simon Jones!? If he's fully fit he definitely should play!

  • agneepath007 on January 11, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    watever the result..everyone wants good sportsmanship from both teams /Media of both Pakistan and England and specially supporting people from both sides. The thrilling series awaits great moments....who-ever wins..but its sure that it will not be a totally one-sided like England-India Series..!!..cheer Pakistan and England..!!

  • satish619chandar on January 11, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    One big minus for England will be, they wont get an inconsistent Aussie attack or a inexperienced Indian attack to feast on this time..

  • dockhaul4 on January 11, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    with due respect to England as being the world no 1 right now there real tests awaits them this year around with Pakistan , Srilanka and India to test their abilities to keep a hold at that spot. i think Pakistan are not as easier as many are expecting them to be in UAE. they beat newzealand at their own grounds last year and its the same New zealand who drew Australia just recently. they beat Srilanka in UAE. i think England's biggest mistake would be to to take Pakistan lightly, which i hope they won't. they are a very good team with Strauss leading from front and should play according to their status

  • satish619chandar on January 11, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    Bresnan's injury wil stop the thinking about playing 5 bowlers with Bresnan, Swann and Broad who can bat very good.. Bresnan who was a replacement bowler for Ashes rose to such a key member in terms of team composition.. Better to England now to go with 4 bowlers and Morgan at 6 as we are yet to see how valuable Prior will be against spin.. Without Bresnan, Woakes could have been a better pick as he can be equal bowler to Onions and a good bat too.. The deciding factor will be Pakistan's batting..

  • Khan1983 on January 11, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    @ 5wombats. Lolz, tall talk! Matey, read comments from ur compatriots, still colonial mindset, with no regards to opposite team.well, I'm sure the A team tomorrow will shake that bravado a bit, Let's c the so-called No.1 team is able to wallop pak's Fringe players or 'being rusty' 'no bresnan','attritional pitches' or 'unfit swan' wud b the mantra ;)

  • KashifMuneer on January 11, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    I have to say that its been really pleasant atmosphere between the English and Pakistani supporters so far in the pre-series build up. Obviously we want our teams to win and are passionate but its great to see an atmosphere where we respect each other's views and the teams unlike some other series that have been played or are being played currently. Keep up the good work guys. May the best team win!

  • on January 11, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    This doesn't weaken the bowling, this weakens the worlds greatest tail.

  • on January 10, 2012, 23:45 GMT

    @patchmatch i like your comment, i think cricinfo should try to make like/dislike buttons too.:P but generally speaking, i dont care much about the results if both teams give their 100% output in game.All the best Pakistan

  • brusselslion on January 10, 2012, 23:32 GMT

    Whisper it but having read most of the comments on the 'Eng. - Pak.' thread, on the whole, they seem to well thought out, interesting points of view which show a healthy respect for the opposing view/ side. It's refreshing that there seems to be a distinct lack of the 'My team's better than yours' rubbish that litters 'Eng. - India' threads. Lets hope we can keep it this way.

  • hhillbumper on January 10, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    god please do not call up dernbach.He bowls a great slower ball but once seen it is soon picked.How come James Harris never gets a mention? Also agree that Chris Woakes could do with a call up.

  • freo75 on January 10, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    Assuming Anderson and Broard are already inked in for the first test, I would give them a rest and have a look at Finn, Tremlett and Onions. Monty in for Swann if he is not 100%.

  • Desihungama on January 10, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    For England!!!! James....

  • Charlie_Ellis on January 10, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    Interesting thought by Rashid Khan that Pakistan will ask for the preparation of turning wickets to suit there dual spin attack, their one clear advantage over England (unless we play Monty and Swann together)... but with these games in the UAE and Abu Dhabi, would Pakistan be able to influence ground preparation in that way, even if they officially the 'home' team? I suppose they probably would, but perhaps not as much as they would do within Pakistan. Really looking forward to a good series; I think biased supporters from both nations expecting a drubbing are wide of the mark... this will be a close series, but hope and expect England will have enough quality to at least get a 1-1 draw, if not an outright win. As for a few early English injuries being excuses, I'd be happy with any XI we could put out from within the squad, so short of a horrendous injury toll, you won't hear me complain if Pakistan are too strong for us away from home. Good luck to both sides!

  • Patchmaster on January 10, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    If ENG don't take him, the Indian side would be keen to try and get him a passport.

  • 5wombats on January 10, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    @Khan1983 on (January 10 2012, 19:16 PM GMT) - noticed some big talk there. We don't remember much big talk from Pakistan fans in the past. Unusual. In our experience Pakistan cricketers & fans are brilliant sports and great fun. You run the risk of being ignored - by your own countrymen as well as by England fans. Lets just stick to the cricket shall we?

  • on January 10, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    ive just seen the pcb 11 the team looks really good some of the guys should have been in the starting pakistan first team... fawad alam being on top of that list the guy has been making some serious runs! i even think that england will enjoy this as it would be a good competitive game for them... i hope some of the guys in the pcb xi show that they should in the pakistan side...

  • on January 10, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    England never had such great bowling options. Its great to see this kind of fast bowling strength. But they might need to play two spinners where England has a weakness - knowing Pakistan's strength in spin department they will try to prepare spinning wickets and go with two pacers and two spinners, plus the off spins of Hafeez.

  • Khan1983 on January 10, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Well, let's see 'the embarrassment of riches' doesn't become an embarrassment itself. I hope there are no excuses of 'being rusty' or 'just warm up game' tomorrow cuz mates! I'm sensing a monumental fall in next few weeks of magnitude greater than 2005 post Ashes!

  • wrenx on January 10, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    Shows the distance between England and other sides in the bowling department; if England suffered the kind of injuries that India did last summer, they would still have been able to field a winning side. As a Pakistan fan, I hope the selectors don't pick Tremlett - he's the one who I think will cause the most problems with his height and bounce, even on the UAE pitches. Azhar Ali & Asad Shafique are troubled by the short stuff, and Hafeez isn't too comfortable either.

  • WeeBee on January 10, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    HAHA that happened with india when they were wite washed in england. ... England can make thousand excuses not to play with pak.

  • on January 10, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    England's bowling attack is pretty amazing and I do worry for the young pak batsmen who might fall prey to such a high quality attack whereas I am of the opinion the opposite eng counterparts will manage the pak attack which is nearly equally impressive, having said that it could be the time for the young (relatively) players like Akmal, Ali, Shafique to make a mark and to cement their place in the long rune for pak.......should be a class contest, cannot wait for it to begin!

  • on January 10, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    good luck pakistan ,go green go.................

  • phoenixsteve on January 10, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    The Pakistan series will be fascinating and although I'm hopeful of an England victory, it will be good to see how England cope with a resurgant Pakistan? The much talked about strength of the current England set up revolves around depth. Depth in bowling is a great ace to possess and so outings by Onions, Finn and Tremlett will be fascinating and as for Monty.... we'll just have to wait I guess! Hopefully Bell, Pietersen and Morgan will find some form 'coz England won't win without putting 400+ scores on the board. It remains to be seen whether the Pakistani supporters are more realsitic and informed than their Indian cousins? Can't wait for the test series to start - it should be gripping stuff! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • landl47 on January 10, 2012, 18:12 GMT

    Onions would be far from a poor option if he was chosen. He bowls wicket-to-wicket and can keep the pressure on, exactly what is required in the fairly lifeless pitches the tests will be played on. I suspect Finn will be the choice, but having Onions available is good news. @simon_w: As an England fan born in the 1940s, I've never known it like this either!

  • SamAsh07 on January 10, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    Where is Chris Woakes? Give him a test debut.

  • JG2704 on January 10, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Good on you Graham. Decent guy who's shown immense character to just return to cricket let alone get back in the England squad. Personally I'd rest Broad and Anderson and play both Monty and Swann alongside Tremlett and Onions - obviously depending on injuries etc. Or even play Finn in there instead of Morgan

  • on January 10, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Tremlett for me, he's the thoroughbred option, but great to see Onions back. Superb to see England have such a variety of good options, perhaps losing the all-round ability of Bresnan is the only downside.

  • simon_w on January 10, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Total embarrassment of riches for England. Onions is class -- he was taking international wickets for fun before he got injured, and looking really good. It's a sign of the times for England how far down the pecking order he's fallen since. If he gets a go, don't be surprised if he bags a hat-full and then Tim Bresnan (10 Test Matches, 10 wins, 318 runs @ 45.42, 41 wickets @ 23.60) might find himself struggling to get back into the side. As an England fan born in the 1980s, I've never known it like this!

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  • simon_w on January 10, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Total embarrassment of riches for England. Onions is class -- he was taking international wickets for fun before he got injured, and looking really good. It's a sign of the times for England how far down the pecking order he's fallen since. If he gets a go, don't be surprised if he bags a hat-full and then Tim Bresnan (10 Test Matches, 10 wins, 318 runs @ 45.42, 41 wickets @ 23.60) might find himself struggling to get back into the side. As an England fan born in the 1980s, I've never known it like this!

  • on January 10, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Tremlett for me, he's the thoroughbred option, but great to see Onions back. Superb to see England have such a variety of good options, perhaps losing the all-round ability of Bresnan is the only downside.

  • JG2704 on January 10, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Good on you Graham. Decent guy who's shown immense character to just return to cricket let alone get back in the England squad. Personally I'd rest Broad and Anderson and play both Monty and Swann alongside Tremlett and Onions - obviously depending on injuries etc. Or even play Finn in there instead of Morgan

  • SamAsh07 on January 10, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    Where is Chris Woakes? Give him a test debut.

  • landl47 on January 10, 2012, 18:12 GMT

    Onions would be far from a poor option if he was chosen. He bowls wicket-to-wicket and can keep the pressure on, exactly what is required in the fairly lifeless pitches the tests will be played on. I suspect Finn will be the choice, but having Onions available is good news. @simon_w: As an England fan born in the 1940s, I've never known it like this either!

  • phoenixsteve on January 10, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    The Pakistan series will be fascinating and although I'm hopeful of an England victory, it will be good to see how England cope with a resurgant Pakistan? The much talked about strength of the current England set up revolves around depth. Depth in bowling is a great ace to possess and so outings by Onions, Finn and Tremlett will be fascinating and as for Monty.... we'll just have to wait I guess! Hopefully Bell, Pietersen and Morgan will find some form 'coz England won't win without putting 400+ scores on the board. It remains to be seen whether the Pakistani supporters are more realsitic and informed than their Indian cousins? Can't wait for the test series to start - it should be gripping stuff! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • on January 10, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    good luck pakistan ,go green go.................

  • on January 10, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    England's bowling attack is pretty amazing and I do worry for the young pak batsmen who might fall prey to such a high quality attack whereas I am of the opinion the opposite eng counterparts will manage the pak attack which is nearly equally impressive, having said that it could be the time for the young (relatively) players like Akmal, Ali, Shafique to make a mark and to cement their place in the long rune for pak.......should be a class contest, cannot wait for it to begin!

  • WeeBee on January 10, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    HAHA that happened with india when they were wite washed in england. ... England can make thousand excuses not to play with pak.

  • wrenx on January 10, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    Shows the distance between England and other sides in the bowling department; if England suffered the kind of injuries that India did last summer, they would still have been able to field a winning side. As a Pakistan fan, I hope the selectors don't pick Tremlett - he's the one who I think will cause the most problems with his height and bounce, even on the UAE pitches. Azhar Ali & Asad Shafique are troubled by the short stuff, and Hafeez isn't too comfortable either.