England in South Africa 2009-10 October 8, 2009

Harmison and Bopara miss out

Cricinfo staff
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Steve Harmison's international career appears over after he was omitted from England's Test squad for the tour of South Africa. His Durham team-mate Liam Plunkett was preferred after an impressive domestic season and is recalled to the international set-up for the first time since 2007. Kevin Pietersen has been included in both the Test and one-day squads although he will miss the two Twenty20 internationals as he continues to recover from his Achilles surgery.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, explained that Harmison, who said he was keen to tour South Africa but not as a bit-part player, hadn't produced enough performances in recent times to justify selection. "Stephen has not been included in the Test squad because we feel his form has not been consistent enough over the past 12 months to justify a regular place in the side and we want to give an opportunity to other players to make a case for selection."

The selectors have made a few surprise calls to fill the vacant positions in both parties with Luke Wright included in the Test squad instead of a frontline batsman, while Alastair Cook and Sajid Mahmood are recalled to the one-day side. Wright averaged 47.90 with the bat in eight Championship matches and took 21 wickets at 33.80 to nudge the selectors, while Cook struck back-to-back Pro40 hundreds for Essex after the Ashes.

As expected Jonathan Trott comes into the limited-overs squad as a replacement for Ravi Bopara, who missed out altogether after a poor Ashes series and disappointing performances in the recent ODIs. Steven Davies has been chosen as the reserve wicketkeeper for the Test leg of the tour following his last-minute call-up for the Champions Trophy and Adil Rashid is back-up to Graeme Swann with Monty Panesar omitted. Joe Denly, who had been tipped for a Test call-up, has to make do with a place in the one-day squad only.

"We are delighted to welcome Steven Davies and Luke Wright into the Test squad for the first time," Miller said. "Steven is a player of great potential who has been a consistent performer for his county and he will act as understudy to Matt Prior in South Africa.

"The retirement of Andrew Flintoff has created a vacancy for an all-rounder in the squad and while we do not see Luke Wright as a like for like replacement for Andrew, we are excited by the way in which his all-round game continues to develop and believe he can make an impact at Test level.

"Jonathan Trott who has made an immediate impact in our Test side and has also shown through his performances at domestic level that he has the talent and temperament to succeed in the shorter forms of the game."

"Liam Plunkett has worked hard to improve all aspects of his game since he last played for England and his selection is reward for consistently putting in strong performances for Durham both with bat and ball. He will provide strong competition for a place in our pace attack this winter."

Plunkett took 60 wickets at 23.35 and scored 400 runs at 44.44 as Durham retained their Championship title and now has the chance to add to his nine Test caps, the last of which came against West Indies, at Old Trafford, in 2007. Like Plunkett, Mahmood was first selected by Duncan Fletcher but faded from the scene after the 2007 World Cup. Miller, though, feels he is ready for a return as the selectors try to find an additional cutting edge to the one-day attack.

"Mahmood is another player who has had a taste of international cricket before and will be equally keen to make an impression in the one-day arena after continuing to show good form with Lancashire," he said. "Alastair Cook has shown great determination to improve his one-day game this summer, made runs at domestic level in both 50-over and Twenty20 cricket and the selectors believe now is the right time to re-introduce him to our one-day side."

Owais Shah has been dropped despite his 89-ball 98 against South Africa at the Champions Trophy, while Bopara's omission was expected after he was left out for the final Ashes Test and also lost his one-day slot before Matt Prior's illness in South Africa last week.

"Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah will, of course, be disappointed not to be included in either squad but they are both high class players and will remain in the selectors' thoughts as we go forward," Miller said.

Paul Collingwood has been confirmed as the Twenty20 captain for the two matches that begin the tour in November. They will be followed by five ODIs before the four-Test series starts at Centurion Park on December 16.

Test squad Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Paul Collingwood, Steven Davies, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright

One-day squad Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Joe Denly, Sajid Mahmood, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nicolai on October 9, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    Everyone is second guessing the selectors. Give them a break! Bottom line is that the current pool of players to pick from has few exceptional players. This is the best team the selectors came up with, given the limitations. No matter what team they pick, we will find reasons why that team is not good enough simply because there are no other "Kevin Pietersons" out there, which could have selection easiler. England was very lucky to make to make it to the semis of the Champions. We all know that South Africa, Sri Lanka and India, all teams that missed out, have loads more talent and that is why selectors for those teams will have a much easier time.

  • niazmn on October 9, 2009, 12:21 GMT

    Well,i still don,t know and i am not clear,what is the role of Bopara in the team.I mean if you exclue those two test hunderds from his international career,nothing is left.Shocked with the ommission of Shah,i think he desrves the place.Rashid is always good to be in competition with Swann.So finally its a good selection with Wright there.

  • leewykes on October 9, 2009, 11:19 GMT

    Agree with a lot that has been said. Harmisson has been a good player but his time is up. Why do we keep trying to find a new Adam Gilchrist!!! The squad rasies 1 obvious point - Plunkett is chosen because of his good season with Durham, no problem with that but then a player with 1200 runs at over 75 for his county in Division 1 is overlooked - what the hell does Chris Read need to do to get his place back!!!! He is the best Gloveman in the country, has raised the level of his batting in First Class Cricket and handles Notts' varied attack both as 'keeper and captain very well. To win Test matches you need 6 batsmen, 4 bowlers (why insist on 5?) and a specialist 'keeper. Not sure about dropping Bopara and Shah, surely 1 of them should have been selected if only as cover. Good to see Rashid selected, definately added opposition for Swann. Just think the selectors thinking is a bit strange, but nothing new there! Just how much are performances in the County Championship worth?

  • Patrick_Clarke on October 9, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    Michael Carberry is a far better batsman and fielder than Alistair Cook.

  • libarr on October 9, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    It may be premature to include Cook in the OD squad but who else has his potential? It is a travesty that James Foster has been left out YET AGAIN - he is by far the best wicket keeper in England and can bat down the order as well! Now that Essex are back into division one of the County Championship, will James Foster and Graham Napier be treated more seriously for England?

  • magic_torch_jamie on October 9, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    You can only pick the best players you have at the time and the ones you have need to be complementary and able to work together as people. I'm impressed with this selection and think they've got it right. Harmison must go and it's become clear the important thing with keepers is they can contribute at the highest level with the bat. Prior's become the all-rounder at 6 and the only other viable player at 6 is Davies, whose mettle needs trying out. Wright's a risk but could easily be one of those players who contributes quite a bit here and there. A partnership breaker and surprisingly good with the bat. This England set-up are on the right track again...

  • chandau on October 9, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    Rob Key is Test class; so is James Foster. Somehow England don't seem to know why the team is never considered good despite some adhoc victories. They keep selecting some club cricketers who fade away after a season or 2. Luke = Freddie oh gimme a break !!! Napier more likely. Cook in ODIs? Steyin must be salivating :) I saw some good Under 19 guys, should have brought in at least one like the Asians do. What happened to Dimitri? Is he good only for T20? Swann is the best spinner England has? He wont play club cricket in the sub continent!!! Morgan's luck continues, but how long before the edges go to the slips or stumps?? The case of Collingwood was nicely described recently in a piece on Champions league. (Delhi is an improved side without him!!) cheers chandan sri lanka

  • CaptainBluebeard on October 9, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    The two people I feel most sorry for over the last 6/7 years are James Foster and Chris Read, who are probably the best two wicket keepers in the country, and who can both bat, and yet are constantly overlooked by the selectors .. even as the understudy keeper!

    The batting selection is probably the best that we have to offer at present, though I would have liked to see Eoin Morgan get a chance in the test squad, instead of Luke Wright. Wright is not a test all rounder, and never will be.

    The bowling does worry me a little. The return of Mahmood and Plunkett to the squads seems pointless, as they were failures the first time round, and I can't see how their county records since then advance their respective cases. I'd have taken Harmison ahead of Plunkett.

    I don't see why people are anti-Sidebottom - he has a test bowling average of 27.70 (only Onions is better than that) and an economy rate of 2.76 (the best of the available candidates for our bowling attack).

  • 7477 on October 9, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    Dilshan - well it looks a well balanced Test Squad but Luke Wright still has got a lot to prove on ODI cricket before makng his way to the Test Squad. Bresnan would have been a much better choice given his recent prowess with the bat. Plunketts inclusion is very heartening but they also should have sticked with Harminson n Flintoff's absence as even the South Africans are vary against the short rising ball. the inclusion of Sajid Mahmood in the ODI's are not justifiable as he's leaked a lot of runs in the county arena. there are much better bowlers who could control & take wickets. i would have persisted shah for this series too simple b'coz of the fact he was one of the batsman to succeed in the SA pitches just a couple of weeks ago. all in all the 02 squads are pretty much ok but could have benn better.

  • Gazzafoot on October 9, 2009, 2:14 GMT

    looking like a long, weary winter!!! not a sign of consistency in the Ashes, and a similar squad here, may win one Test if more than one fires, but this bunch does not have the same quality that was built up under Vaughan. The gap between County and International cricket seems to be getting larger, or at least the consistency to perform on the big stage for (hopefully) 5 days. Maybe the ECB need to look more closely at the Sheffield Shield format and have fewer, but higher quality games. Only Durham came close to a consistant summer (in the County Championship) and the rest of the teams were a very ordinary bunch. Wright consistant?? Didn't Sussex get relegated?? Trott played on a batsman friendly home ground, not a lot of depth here at all.

  • nicolai on October 9, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    Everyone is second guessing the selectors. Give them a break! Bottom line is that the current pool of players to pick from has few exceptional players. This is the best team the selectors came up with, given the limitations. No matter what team they pick, we will find reasons why that team is not good enough simply because there are no other "Kevin Pietersons" out there, which could have selection easiler. England was very lucky to make to make it to the semis of the Champions. We all know that South Africa, Sri Lanka and India, all teams that missed out, have loads more talent and that is why selectors for those teams will have a much easier time.

  • niazmn on October 9, 2009, 12:21 GMT

    Well,i still don,t know and i am not clear,what is the role of Bopara in the team.I mean if you exclue those two test hunderds from his international career,nothing is left.Shocked with the ommission of Shah,i think he desrves the place.Rashid is always good to be in competition with Swann.So finally its a good selection with Wright there.

  • leewykes on October 9, 2009, 11:19 GMT

    Agree with a lot that has been said. Harmisson has been a good player but his time is up. Why do we keep trying to find a new Adam Gilchrist!!! The squad rasies 1 obvious point - Plunkett is chosen because of his good season with Durham, no problem with that but then a player with 1200 runs at over 75 for his county in Division 1 is overlooked - what the hell does Chris Read need to do to get his place back!!!! He is the best Gloveman in the country, has raised the level of his batting in First Class Cricket and handles Notts' varied attack both as 'keeper and captain very well. To win Test matches you need 6 batsmen, 4 bowlers (why insist on 5?) and a specialist 'keeper. Not sure about dropping Bopara and Shah, surely 1 of them should have been selected if only as cover. Good to see Rashid selected, definately added opposition for Swann. Just think the selectors thinking is a bit strange, but nothing new there! Just how much are performances in the County Championship worth?

  • Patrick_Clarke on October 9, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    Michael Carberry is a far better batsman and fielder than Alistair Cook.

  • libarr on October 9, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    It may be premature to include Cook in the OD squad but who else has his potential? It is a travesty that James Foster has been left out YET AGAIN - he is by far the best wicket keeper in England and can bat down the order as well! Now that Essex are back into division one of the County Championship, will James Foster and Graham Napier be treated more seriously for England?

  • magic_torch_jamie on October 9, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    You can only pick the best players you have at the time and the ones you have need to be complementary and able to work together as people. I'm impressed with this selection and think they've got it right. Harmison must go and it's become clear the important thing with keepers is they can contribute at the highest level with the bat. Prior's become the all-rounder at 6 and the only other viable player at 6 is Davies, whose mettle needs trying out. Wright's a risk but could easily be one of those players who contributes quite a bit here and there. A partnership breaker and surprisingly good with the bat. This England set-up are on the right track again...

  • chandau on October 9, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    Rob Key is Test class; so is James Foster. Somehow England don't seem to know why the team is never considered good despite some adhoc victories. They keep selecting some club cricketers who fade away after a season or 2. Luke = Freddie oh gimme a break !!! Napier more likely. Cook in ODIs? Steyin must be salivating :) I saw some good Under 19 guys, should have brought in at least one like the Asians do. What happened to Dimitri? Is he good only for T20? Swann is the best spinner England has? He wont play club cricket in the sub continent!!! Morgan's luck continues, but how long before the edges go to the slips or stumps?? The case of Collingwood was nicely described recently in a piece on Champions league. (Delhi is an improved side without him!!) cheers chandan sri lanka

  • CaptainBluebeard on October 9, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    The two people I feel most sorry for over the last 6/7 years are James Foster and Chris Read, who are probably the best two wicket keepers in the country, and who can both bat, and yet are constantly overlooked by the selectors .. even as the understudy keeper!

    The batting selection is probably the best that we have to offer at present, though I would have liked to see Eoin Morgan get a chance in the test squad, instead of Luke Wright. Wright is not a test all rounder, and never will be.

    The bowling does worry me a little. The return of Mahmood and Plunkett to the squads seems pointless, as they were failures the first time round, and I can't see how their county records since then advance their respective cases. I'd have taken Harmison ahead of Plunkett.

    I don't see why people are anti-Sidebottom - he has a test bowling average of 27.70 (only Onions is better than that) and an economy rate of 2.76 (the best of the available candidates for our bowling attack).

  • 7477 on October 9, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    Dilshan - well it looks a well balanced Test Squad but Luke Wright still has got a lot to prove on ODI cricket before makng his way to the Test Squad. Bresnan would have been a much better choice given his recent prowess with the bat. Plunketts inclusion is very heartening but they also should have sticked with Harminson n Flintoff's absence as even the South Africans are vary against the short rising ball. the inclusion of Sajid Mahmood in the ODI's are not justifiable as he's leaked a lot of runs in the county arena. there are much better bowlers who could control & take wickets. i would have persisted shah for this series too simple b'coz of the fact he was one of the batsman to succeed in the SA pitches just a couple of weeks ago. all in all the 02 squads are pretty much ok but could have benn better.

  • Gazzafoot on October 9, 2009, 2:14 GMT

    looking like a long, weary winter!!! not a sign of consistency in the Ashes, and a similar squad here, may win one Test if more than one fires, but this bunch does not have the same quality that was built up under Vaughan. The gap between County and International cricket seems to be getting larger, or at least the consistency to perform on the big stage for (hopefully) 5 days. Maybe the ECB need to look more closely at the Sheffield Shield format and have fewer, but higher quality games. Only Durham came close to a consistant summer (in the County Championship) and the rest of the teams were a very ordinary bunch. Wright consistant?? Didn't Sussex get relegated?? Trott played on a batsman friendly home ground, not a lot of depth here at all.

  • OnePack on October 8, 2009, 23:41 GMT

    Where is TIM BRESNAN in the test line up. He is a must. He is young, fit, can bowl at 140km and as we saw in Sth Africa he scored 80 against the best team in the world. Plunkett had his time and was rubbish. He's a registered bowling machine. He wouldn't make first grade in Australia.

  • dj_rs2003 on October 8, 2009, 20:43 GMT

    Owais Shah's axing is a huge mistake. Not only does this make the selectors look inconsistent but also does no good to Shah's confidence. Shah is 30 now and should reach the pinnacle of his batting career over the next couple of years. Moreover, he looked good good in the Champions Trophy where he showed his ability to play in contrasting styles, according to the demand of the situation. If England want to even dream about winning the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent, then they got to immediately recall Shah as he could be potentially their most effective attacking batsman in the middle overs after Pietersen. Lastly, I believe the present England side should have a place for both Cook and Shah in it as they are both too talented to be ignored for long, but if it ever comes to picking one or the other, it should always be Shah over Cook. I guess, after this fiasco, one shouldn't blame Shah entirely if he looks nervous the next time he takes guard for England!!

  • MDCooper on October 8, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    I think that Harmison's exit was long overdue. I don't understand the arguments over Bell and Cook. Bopara seems to have huge support and many calls for patience over his form - Cook and Bell have long been good players for out test side with many good scores and averages behind them. It would be nice to show them some loyalty. I'm sure that Bopara will have his time too.

    Looking at the batting/bowling balance - are we being naive thinking that the squad is picked entirely on ability with the bat? Lots of test sides seem to have that annoying ability of scoring down to the last man - can't it be that we have picked good bowlers and we will also be able to keep scoring - like other strong sides manage as well. I'm looking forward to the winter tour - just hops I get to see more than highlights!

  • sindgeon-smythe on October 8, 2009, 19:44 GMT

    Smith and Kallis at the wicket, Plunket steams in and bowls ... a long-hop well outside off. Sheer madness,just incomprehensible. He regularly goes for over 4 an over in the championship. Luke Wright has a lot to offer at o-d level, but seeing him as a potential test all-rounder is crazy. His medium-pacers will never be good enough (Strauss will simply not give him a bowl, and if he does de Villiers et al will help themselves), and he is miles off earning a place on his batting (caught Duminy bowled Steyn 4 (2 balls) ). I had hoped England had moved on from the bad old days of picking someone who couldn't really bat and couldn't really bowl.

  • Saadi69 on October 8, 2009, 19:23 GMT

    It is going to be a big tour for alot of guys, but I just hope that it doesnt turn out to be one of those squads where it looks good on paper and they dont gel together in the field. Bell, Pietersen, Wright and Prior are all momentum building players(though i dont know if they will all feature in the same game or not) any one of them gets a bit more than a session at the crease then south africa would really be under pressure. As soon as south africa loose momentum in a game they find it pretty hard to fight back. The bowling looks a bit dodgy Anderson and Swann look in good rhythm.

  • Bakar123 on October 8, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    Good Test squad overall, but I think Sidebottom might have to miss out, as Anderson, Broad and Onions have been so successful recently, and I can't see England trying to get four seamers into the side. Unless of course, they continue their unreasonable disrespect for Onions - they seem to be looking for any excuse to drop him. The only thing that worries me is the inclusion of Luke Wright. His surprising success with the ball in one-day cricket may have led the England selectors to include him as the next step in their never-ending quest to replace Flintoff; but using him as a genuine all-rounder would be a big mistake.

  • mosse on October 8, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    Criky, How the heck can Wright even maintain his place in the ODI squad, Might as will leave Bopara in there! Also, Where's Geraint Jones, Had an fantastic season with the Spitfires this year!

  • zubairbutt on October 8, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    i think the selector,s done a great job to chose the right team.england,s main concern is opening pair in ODI,s.but this problem will be no long wat i think.coz cook is not only the best option in test,s but also in the ODI,s. i saw him in the county match,he scored hundred.hopefully the opening pair will give the good result.tim bresnan is the great addtion in ODI,s.bringing back sajid mahmood is another postive move.swann and adil rashid can put south africa in trouble in both form of cricket ODI,s and test.south afric,s weak point is spin bowling.so strauss can think both spinner,s in.best of luck england.

  • Hooves on October 8, 2009, 17:41 GMT

    Glad to see the end of Harmison at last, for all his never emerging potential. I concur with Peeeeeet up above. Look at Glen McGrath's batting ability. Alan Donald, Curtly Ambrose or most of those big Windies bowlers bar maybe one or two over the years, Marshal most noticably maybe. They all looked positively uncomfortable with the bat, bit like me too. You bowl well so you concentrate on your bowling, surely. Hoggard would be a good example of someone working hard on their batting skills, of lack of, in order to make a team contribution when his time comes to trudge out there and defend his sticks as opposed to uproot them. Stoic defence to hold up one end for half a session or an agressive swing if you poses the natural eye and timing, Bret Lee would be one. But i think to expect 150 runs from 7, 8 and 9 is asking quite alot.

  • EssexEagle on October 8, 2009, 17:33 GMT

    The Test squad looks good, but I'm not so sure about the ODI squad - I'd rather see Mascarenhas (what does he have to DO to get into the England side?!?) and Shah instead of Mahmood and Cook.

  • milesahead on October 8, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    I rather like the look of this squad. It's a massive tour for Collingwood, Bell and Sidebottom though; their Test careers could easily be ended in South Africa with a run of bad performances - and four Tests offers plenty of time to rub salt into wounds. It does offer a great opportunity to reaffirm your reputation, however, and Cook, Prior, Trott and Broad will all be looking to kick on with their careers with good opposition and plenty to play for. There's no better time than straight after an Ashes victory too and there is no danger of facing Australia in another ODI... I'm suprised the ECB didn't try and make it a triangular series with them involved for the ODIs.

  • beech78 on October 8, 2009, 16:00 GMT

    Glad Cooks finally back in the ODI after his noticeable improvement in county One-day and Twenty formats especially as the average Denly seems to have cemented his place without actually doing much apart from looking 'ok' in one or two (batsmen friendly) matches like Morgan and Shah. Prior seems to have escaped critism after an awful ODI series against Australia and his accruement of easy lower order runs in the ashes. Even his keeping has been praised as he's now taking your very basic average regulation chances! Luke Wright test player? Trott could do something special as he has something to prove being that he is without doubt a South-African national like Pieterson playing for his 'team' England..

  • brad123 on October 8, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    great decision adding plunkett and mahmood to odi squads, i think it is poor sticking with cook and it is madness putting him in the odi squad. Ian bell should be in both starting teams as i think he is the baest batsman other than pietersen. should be plenty of runs from the 7,8,9,10,11 positions with players like broad,swann,rashid,plunkett and wright will strenghten the batting a lot. A lot depends on the fitness of pietersen if we are to do any good.

  • Zhovaan on October 8, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    I don't seem to comprehend the omission of Owais Shah from the one-day squad after his endeavours at the recent Champions Trophy. It's great to see they gave Luke Wright a go as it looks as though the selectors have faith that he would mature upon Test experience. Ian Bell.....no. Joe Denly should be in the test squad because he shows temperament for the longer version. I must add that it's quite disappointing Harmison isn't there but I certainly hope he's still in the selector's plans for the future. Plunkett and Swann would steady the lower order along with broad. Honestly, I would have given Bloodaxe a chance even though at 40 years. All in all I like the look of the England outfit!

  • peeeeet on October 8, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    I would just like to say to ajholland and Archieberrens that it is that kind of thinking which lost you the Ashes 5-0 in Australia. Giles over Monty because Giles could bat, but Monty head and shoulders was the better bowler then. Jones over Read, because you wanted a Gilchrist. Saj Mahmood, he could apparantly bat a bit. You don't pick players in the bowling positions because of their batting, you pick them because they bowl. Batting is a bonus. With six batsmen they should be fine, then Prior at 7 then 4 bowlers. Thats all you need to win a test match. Did you ever hear Aus selectors saying "we'll pick Warne and Lee because of their vital contributions with the bat"? No, it was a bonus that they scored runs. England should focus on getting 4 bowlers who will bowl sides out, and 6 batsmen who are going to make runs. Thats how you win tests.

  • cloudnine on October 8, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    Yes - the 7,8,9 positions will certainly look good. We are well blessed already here, and it was the batting antics of Broad, Swann, Anderson and co that were some of the reason we won the Ashes despite inferior individual stats, and rescued some forlorn situations.

    Gusfarr - do you like anyone? haha. Denly is unproven even at county level, where his record is modest. He's a good looking player, who looks more suited to Test than ODI in my opinion, however he didn't really pull up any trees in his ventures so far - batting too slowly, and getting out when set. As for Wright. It's not about now, its about the future. All 16 players will never play in the Tests. He is a young lad with promise, who has improved considerably this year in the County Championship. We lack all rounders, so lets stick our flag on one and nurture him.

  • Archieberens on October 8, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    I think AJholland is spot on when he focuses on positions 7, 8 and 9. That's where we are going to win or lose test matches against strong opposition. 7, 8 and 9 can turn dodgy situations (e.g. 150-6) into remaining competitive (say 300 all out), marginal situations (e.g. 250-6) into superiority (400 all out) and superiority (350-6) into winning scores (500+ all out). I think Broad and Swann have to take two of these positions, and then it's either Rashid on a spinning or flat track, or Plunkett / Wright on one which looks like offering help to seamers. Surely it's not then unreasonable to expect the bottom 5 to contribute 100 - 150 runs minimum every 1st innings (unless the pitch is a shocker, in which case they should then be more of a threat with the ball). It's equally reasonable to expect the top 6 to contribute 250 - 300 runs. Soo 400 runs minimum starts to become the norm, and with five bowlers, offering different options, pressure can then be applied. Roll on 16 December!

  • gusfarr on October 8, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    Luke Wright!? You have to be joking! He's lucky to be in the one day squad! Denly should be in the test squad. Don't see much point in Sidebottom being there anymore. Ian Bell will only score good looking 30s and 40s but give it away. Never thought Prior is the right guy for the job either.

  • cloudnine on October 8, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    The good news is the ejection of Shah and Harmison at long last - they are mercurial, but a liability. To be fair Harmy has been off the mark for 4 years. I am a rare pleased person to see Wright in the squad. He won't play, but spending some time learning about Test batting and bowling will help him. Neither Denly or Bopara were ever going to get into the XI, so I like this choice, as the nurturing of an allrounder is more essential than yet another opener. Also think Plunkett deserved the call, and probably should have been in the ODI squad too - but would have been hard on Bresnan.

    Reserve wicketkeeper? - I'm pleased with Davies. The current best performer is Read, who nearly averaged 80 this season at the cutting end of Div1, and he and Foster are the best glovemen. But Davies could be the future and can certainly bat. I just want to see this area settled.

  • Jonno1980 on October 8, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    Real shame Geraint Jones wasn't chosen, good player of pace on hard, fast wickets....

  • JohnnyDextrose on October 8, 2009, 12:20 GMT

    Only 6 specialist batsmen in the test squad!? Not convinced by that, especially when there are 4 players selected that are essentially "all-rounders" rather than specialists at any discipline. Add to that the fact that at least 3 members of this squad are currently not fit to play (which includes our best batsman!) and it starts to look a very questionable selection. There is also a sense that we are now really going to miss Flintoff for his bowling: none of the bowlers selected have out-and-out pace and if conditions dont favour them then they tend to get tonked to all corners! It seems that we will be relying on batting almost all the way down the order and hoping that the South Africans give their wickets away like its Christmas! But apart from that, yeah, really confident!

  • jackiethepen on October 8, 2009, 12:15 GMT

    Can't understand why Bell isn't in one-day side. He's had a very good 50-over season, and a great pro-40 season, he was first batting reserve for the Windies home and away yet Denly and Morgan were preferred in front of him and now Cook. He averages 35, 40 against Australia and is a world class fielder. Cook has a very poor ODI record and is not such a good fielder. A mystery despite Cook's recent form. Bell's recent form is even better. If Bell is ready to play Test cricket again, has a Central Contract, why not return to the ODIs?

  • Herbet on October 8, 2009, 12:11 GMT

    I have no problem with the Plunkett recall but we look a batsmen light. I'm not convinced Wright is a test match player. Denly should have gone as cover for the misfiring Cook and never firing Bell. What are we going to do if these two show their usual poor temprement (Bell) and poor form (Cook)? I havn't got anything against Steven Davies either but James Foster is too good to keep getting put down like this. Its not as if Prior is going to bat up the order in ODI's or that he has a good ODI batting record, why not let Foster keep wicket in ODI's, he's a very innovatve and dangerous lower order/late overs batsmen too. The ODI squad looks pretty much like we have learnt anything from our rubbish last 12 months and the Test squad looks like we havn't learnt from our Ashes batting cock ups either.

  • Bamber on October 8, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    I'm pleased to see the selectors have finally seen fit to get rid of Shah, he's a liability!His running is farcical, his fielding is dire and his batting is inconsistent. Shame Geraint Jones didn't get a look in as Prior's understudy though - His form for Kent this year has been impressive, even if against Div 2 opposition.

  • Jonno1980 on October 8, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Why oh why is Cook in the ODI squad? Makes no sense whatsoever........

  • ajholland on October 8, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    I like the inclusion of Liam Plunkett in the test squad. As much as we want to have another Flintoff at number 7, we just do not have one at the moment. Having 3 of Broad, Swann, Plunkett, Wright and Rashid at 7, 8 and 9 gives the potential for some regular 30s plus down the order to support the top 6, which should be Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Collingwood, Prior. The only slight concern is the mentality of the lower order, as they all like to play there shots if they get the opportunity. Then again, that seems a regular occurence in all test teams.

  • teip20 on October 8, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    Too true, especially when Cook gets a spot!! Also wondering if the selectors would really consider picking Wright for a test match. Denly should have been given a place ahead of him!

  • MartinAmber on October 8, 2009, 11:54 GMT

    I expect Tim Bresnan feels a bit confused. Plays two Tests against WI to Wright's none and gets left out of the Test squad. I think Bopara has been harshly dealt with, especially considering the total collapse of Collingwood's Test form last summer. Ditto Shah, bearing in mind the lack of obvious one-day alternatives. Somebody needs to explain to me why one-year-one-opponent-wonder Sidebottom keeps being picked automatically for Test squads. Other than that, and the sudden choice of Plunkett (who was never in the frame for the Ashes, to my knowledge, and was never discussed by any pundit I read or watched) the squad picked itself, didn't it?

  • smartjude on October 8, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    In one day squad they need Shah or Bopara

  • Bearded_Lefty on October 8, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    It would be nice to have someone quick, but it's not everything. Pace without direction just means the ball reaches the rope faster. I'm not convinved by Luke Wright, but I hope he turns out well

  • neilca2003 on October 8, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I dont think this England Team will beat South Africa, Even with half the team South Africans,The England selectors must consentrate on building a Team & not drop players like Bopara & Shah based on the Ashers, Bopara is a world class play that is running low on form, Like any other world class player, Kallis had a poor run in England a year back, But you dont see the SA selectors drop him,

  • pragmatist on October 8, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    Tough call on Shah and Bopara but I think the right one. I think I would have picked an extra batsman for the Tests (Denly or Joyce) but I guess successful players from the ODI series may stay on, so Denly may still figure. The ODI squad still doesn't seem that exciting - effectively Pietersen for Shah from the Champions Trophy team. Bringing Cook in could bring more stability to the top of the order, but it still lacks power.

  • stocky699 on October 8, 2009, 11:30 GMT

    Can't understand why Owais Shah has been dropped from the one day side

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  • stocky699 on October 8, 2009, 11:30 GMT

    Can't understand why Owais Shah has been dropped from the one day side

  • pragmatist on October 8, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    Tough call on Shah and Bopara but I think the right one. I think I would have picked an extra batsman for the Tests (Denly or Joyce) but I guess successful players from the ODI series may stay on, so Denly may still figure. The ODI squad still doesn't seem that exciting - effectively Pietersen for Shah from the Champions Trophy team. Bringing Cook in could bring more stability to the top of the order, but it still lacks power.

  • neilca2003 on October 8, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I dont think this England Team will beat South Africa, Even with half the team South Africans,The England selectors must consentrate on building a Team & not drop players like Bopara & Shah based on the Ashers, Bopara is a world class play that is running low on form, Like any other world class player, Kallis had a poor run in England a year back, But you dont see the SA selectors drop him,

  • Bearded_Lefty on October 8, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    It would be nice to have someone quick, but it's not everything. Pace without direction just means the ball reaches the rope faster. I'm not convinved by Luke Wright, but I hope he turns out well

  • smartjude on October 8, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    In one day squad they need Shah or Bopara

  • MartinAmber on October 8, 2009, 11:54 GMT

    I expect Tim Bresnan feels a bit confused. Plays two Tests against WI to Wright's none and gets left out of the Test squad. I think Bopara has been harshly dealt with, especially considering the total collapse of Collingwood's Test form last summer. Ditto Shah, bearing in mind the lack of obvious one-day alternatives. Somebody needs to explain to me why one-year-one-opponent-wonder Sidebottom keeps being picked automatically for Test squads. Other than that, and the sudden choice of Plunkett (who was never in the frame for the Ashes, to my knowledge, and was never discussed by any pundit I read or watched) the squad picked itself, didn't it?

  • teip20 on October 8, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    Too true, especially when Cook gets a spot!! Also wondering if the selectors would really consider picking Wright for a test match. Denly should have been given a place ahead of him!

  • ajholland on October 8, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    I like the inclusion of Liam Plunkett in the test squad. As much as we want to have another Flintoff at number 7, we just do not have one at the moment. Having 3 of Broad, Swann, Plunkett, Wright and Rashid at 7, 8 and 9 gives the potential for some regular 30s plus down the order to support the top 6, which should be Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Collingwood, Prior. The only slight concern is the mentality of the lower order, as they all like to play there shots if they get the opportunity. Then again, that seems a regular occurence in all test teams.

  • Jonno1980 on October 8, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Why oh why is Cook in the ODI squad? Makes no sense whatsoever........

  • Bamber on October 8, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    I'm pleased to see the selectors have finally seen fit to get rid of Shah, he's a liability!His running is farcical, his fielding is dire and his batting is inconsistent. Shame Geraint Jones didn't get a look in as Prior's understudy though - His form for Kent this year has been impressive, even if against Div 2 opposition.