England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 February 27, 2012

Faith may have run out for Morgan

Despite the Test series whitewash against Pakistan, England are unlikely to make many changes for the short tour of Sri Lanka
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In a less enlightened, more chaotic age of England cricket, the announcement of the squad to tour Sri Lanka might be anticipated with some anxiety by those who lost the Test series in the UAE 3-0 to Pakistan. There was a time such a reverse would have precipitated much wailing, gnashing of teeth and the dropping of several players.

Those days are, largely, gone. Despite suffering a Test series whitewash against Pakistan, England will keep faith with the majority of the squad that travelled to the UAE. While it is accepted that most of the batsmen endured a poor series, responsibility has been taken collectively and those that struggled in the UAE will be given an opportunity to show they have learned the lessons. England will play two Tests in Sri Lanka and no limited-overs cricket. The squad will be announced on Tuesday at 9.30am UK time and most of the players informed after the final Twenty20 against Pakistan on Monday night.

The squad that lost in the UAE was, by and large, the same one that took England to No. 1 in the Test rankings. While they have questions to answer in Asian conditions, most impartial judges would agree the 12 players who represented England in the Tests against Pakistan were the best available. Failure has been, in part, blamed on the lengthy lay-off that preceded the tour. Time will tell if the answer is that simple, but it is a mistake England will not make again.

Besides, the continuity of selection policy has served England well in recent years. Whereas desperate selectors called upon 29 players in the Ashes of 1989, they utilised just 13 in 2010-11. It is not coincidental that England lost the first series 4-0 and won the second 3-1. Often, when it comes to selection, less is more.

Ian Bell, who averaged just 8.5 in the Test series in the UAE, will be included, as will Kevin Pietersen (11.16) and, of course, the captain Andrew Strauss (25). Indeed, Bell and Strauss will be among those travelling to Sri Lanka early to gain extra acclimatisation time. To suffer one poor tour may be regarded as a misfortune by the selectors; only after suffering two will the selectors regard it as career threatening.

That is not to say that there may not be a couple of changes. Eoin Morgan, in particular, is waiting uncomfortably. England have invested a lot of time in Morgan and will be loathe to abandon him now. But he has endured a wretched tour of the UAE and, unlike some of his middle-order colleagues, does not have the excellent record of past achievement in Test cricket to suggest recent struggles are any more than a blip. He averaged just 13.66 in the Test series against Pakistan and has progressed beyond 31 only four times in his last 21 Test innings. He will have found little comfort in Andy Flower's distinctly equivocal backing.

"He's had little glimpses of success," Flower, the England coach, said. "I think he's got a couple of Test centuries. But he's had a tough tour of the UAE, there's no doubt about that. And I think his record would suggest that he's found Test cricket pretty tough. I think he's averaging about 30 so he's got some work to do in that regard."

There are several men pushing for his place in the side. The first is Ravi Bopara who enjoyed a more than respectable ODI series in the UAE (he averaged 54, scoring half-centuries in each of his two innings) and could be used as a third seamer in a Test attack including two specialist fast bowlers and two spinners. Bopara is capable of generating reverse swing as a bowler and there is guarded optimism that, aged 26, he has added the requisite composure to his undoubted talent.

Samit Patel, too, could win a place on his first Test tour. While it is hard to see Patel's left-arm spin squeezing Monty Panesar out of the team, he could provide another option at No.6 and fill the role as third spinner. More realistically, he could be utilised as back-up should either Panesar or Graeme Swann sustain an injury.

And then there is Jonny Bairstow. He could replace Morgan as a batsman or Steve Davies as reserve wicketkeeper. While it may seem that one very good T20I innings has overshadowed a modest Lions tour of Sri Lanka - Bairstow averaged 24 in five List A games on the Lions' tour of Sri Lanka, but helped England win the second Twenty20 in the UAE with a very fine, unbeaten innings of 60 - the 22-year-old from Yorkshire has shown the talent and temperament required to thrive at the top level. He is not the finished article with bat or gloves, but the England team management have identified a special quality - a cool, inner steel - in Bairstow that could, with guidance, develop into something that could serve them well for many years.

It would be a harsh blow for the blameless Davies, but Flower and co. have shown they are not afraid of taking tough decisions if they think it for the best. There is little room for sentiment in the England camp.

The bowling attack performed admirably in the UAE and requires little alteration. The unfortunate Chris Tremlett, aged 30 and with an injury history that would require several volumes to relate, was forced home early from the UAE for back surgery and may well have played his last international game. Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions all wait in the wings for a tour on which two seamers may well suffice. It is just possible that Finn could edge out Anderson when it comes to Test selection, though he may have to wait a little while yet.

The Test series in Sri Lanka also sees Strauss' return as captain. Flower said he felt it too early to draw any conclusions about the experiment with three captains - on each for Tests, ODIs and T20s - but those who believe it will cause division within the team misunderstand the England set-up. The respect in which Strauss is held by his team is immense. Personal ambition from other captaincy candidates will not be responsible for his downfall.

A lack of runs might be, however. While no-one doubts Strauss' qualities as a leader or his past as a batsman, his record of just one century in his last 46 Test innings - and none in his last 21 going back to November 2010 - is a growing concern. Strauss actually struggled less than some in the UAE but, aged 35 within the week, he needs a much improved tour to prove to himself, as much as anyone, that he still has what it takes to thrive at international level. He will not lack support from the England team or management but, as Flower suggested when talking about captaincy in general, runs and wickets are the primary currency on which players can be judged. While Alastair Cook is not pushing for promotion, his success as ODI captain in the UAE suggests England does have a viable alternative.

"He's a very fine leader; a very fine cricketer." Flower said when asked about Strauss. "He's done some great things for England cricket. All the guys realise when you are made captain it does not mean you're captain forever. It's like almost a playing position, you'll be constantly monitored. If as a player you go through extended periods of bad form, someone else will be pushing you. Same as a captain. You've got to ensure you're doing the job well for England. You're not given the job for life."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @ Chris Ward on (February 28 2012, 04:35 AM GMT) I'm actually surprised that no one from the media/Sky at no point suggested they could go for the 5 man bowling attack at any point during the last test series. I've been saying it for ages , even when we were successful with the 4 man attack.

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @ Aussieresurgance on (February 27 2012, 22:16 PM GMT) - You sound a wee bit bitter there. Morgan is going through a bad time at the moment just like yer man Ponting was in ODIs recently - most decent players go through bad periods and I guess Bevan (who I rate very highly) did too. Personally I don't think Morgan is a test player anyway.

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @usmanHM on (February 27 2012, 12:14 PM GMT) Thankyou once more for your gracious comments. Always appreciated.

  • abyrao on February 28, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Morgan is a ODI and T20 specialist, let him be in those formats only. Certainly for Test cricket he is not the ideal choice. Also now Cook should be appointed as the captain for test cricket as well. Let Prior bat at 6 and Patel at 7.

  • on February 28, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    Finn over Anderson.... what?? No chance. What they SHOULD do, though, is just drop Morgan and play a fifth bowler, either Bresnan (also useful with the bat) or Finn, who, while not as good as Anderson, is still extremely good. I can't see why they haven't done it. It's glaringly obvious, particularly as Morgan keeps failing.

  • Mike_in_Exile on February 28, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    'England have invested a lot of time in Morgan...' Not as much time as Ireland did!

  • Trickstar on February 27, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    @Herath-UK To Sri Lanka's dismay they are going to catch England at a time in high spirits with the current series white wash in the one day series followed up by the series winning final twenty 20 game and with KP looking in absolute outstandingly brilliant form.

  • on February 27, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    Strauss will be around for a while yet, if only because of the lack of a viable alternative as opener.

  • Aussieresurgance on February 27, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    VERY amusing. Not long ago some readers may recall an article saying Morgan was the next Bevan. I wrote here that not only was Morgan not going to live up to Bevan's match winning deeds in the ODI arena (which he hasnt), but that he would live up to Bevan's challenges in the test arena (and he has nowhere near the first class record Bevan had). I was taken down a notch by some 'passionate' readers of that view, so if any of you are reading this, you have some serious egg on your faces so go have a wash ;-) I hope Morgan is now dropped, goes back to Ireland, and turns into a world beater over Bevan-like class who takes the English down on a regular basis!

  • landl47 on February 27, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    There won't be many changes to the England squad, you can count on that. For Sri Lanka, I'd like to see Patel come in for Morgan. Patel is an equally good bat in first-class cricket and having three spinners in the sub-continent seems to me to be the way to go. I've never been a fan of Morgan as a test cricketer, his defence with men round the bat is not good enough. A batting specialist has to have a first-class average of better than Morgan's 36; Patel and Bopara both have first-class averages of 41 and that is about as low as an international side can afford. I don't think it matters whether Bairstow comes to Sri Lanka or not, so I'd rather see him stay in England playing first-class cricket from the start of the season. He's not ready to be a test player yet and it would be a mistake to rush him into the side. My squad for SL would therefore exclude Morgan, include Patel and carry Bopara, Bresnan and Davies as reserves. Finn has to wait a while longerfor his chance.

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @ Chris Ward on (February 28 2012, 04:35 AM GMT) I'm actually surprised that no one from the media/Sky at no point suggested they could go for the 5 man bowling attack at any point during the last test series. I've been saying it for ages , even when we were successful with the 4 man attack.

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @ Aussieresurgance on (February 27 2012, 22:16 PM GMT) - You sound a wee bit bitter there. Morgan is going through a bad time at the moment just like yer man Ponting was in ODIs recently - most decent players go through bad periods and I guess Bevan (who I rate very highly) did too. Personally I don't think Morgan is a test player anyway.

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @usmanHM on (February 27 2012, 12:14 PM GMT) Thankyou once more for your gracious comments. Always appreciated.

  • abyrao on February 28, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Morgan is a ODI and T20 specialist, let him be in those formats only. Certainly for Test cricket he is not the ideal choice. Also now Cook should be appointed as the captain for test cricket as well. Let Prior bat at 6 and Patel at 7.

  • on February 28, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    Finn over Anderson.... what?? No chance. What they SHOULD do, though, is just drop Morgan and play a fifth bowler, either Bresnan (also useful with the bat) or Finn, who, while not as good as Anderson, is still extremely good. I can't see why they haven't done it. It's glaringly obvious, particularly as Morgan keeps failing.

  • Mike_in_Exile on February 28, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    'England have invested a lot of time in Morgan...' Not as much time as Ireland did!

  • Trickstar on February 27, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    @Herath-UK To Sri Lanka's dismay they are going to catch England at a time in high spirits with the current series white wash in the one day series followed up by the series winning final twenty 20 game and with KP looking in absolute outstandingly brilliant form.

  • on February 27, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    Strauss will be around for a while yet, if only because of the lack of a viable alternative as opener.

  • Aussieresurgance on February 27, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    VERY amusing. Not long ago some readers may recall an article saying Morgan was the next Bevan. I wrote here that not only was Morgan not going to live up to Bevan's match winning deeds in the ODI arena (which he hasnt), but that he would live up to Bevan's challenges in the test arena (and he has nowhere near the first class record Bevan had). I was taken down a notch by some 'passionate' readers of that view, so if any of you are reading this, you have some serious egg on your faces so go have a wash ;-) I hope Morgan is now dropped, goes back to Ireland, and turns into a world beater over Bevan-like class who takes the English down on a regular basis!

  • landl47 on February 27, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    There won't be many changes to the England squad, you can count on that. For Sri Lanka, I'd like to see Patel come in for Morgan. Patel is an equally good bat in first-class cricket and having three spinners in the sub-continent seems to me to be the way to go. I've never been a fan of Morgan as a test cricketer, his defence with men round the bat is not good enough. A batting specialist has to have a first-class average of better than Morgan's 36; Patel and Bopara both have first-class averages of 41 and that is about as low as an international side can afford. I don't think it matters whether Bairstow comes to Sri Lanka or not, so I'd rather see him stay in England playing first-class cricket from the start of the season. He's not ready to be a test player yet and it would be a mistake to rush him into the side. My squad for SL would therefore exclude Morgan, include Patel and carry Bopara, Bresnan and Davies as reserves. Finn has to wait a while longerfor his chance.

  • on February 27, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    What about calling up Moeen Ali instead of Morgan, he scored over 900 runs in division 1 last year and averaged over 60 in a brief stint of playing in SL recently. He also bowls useful is offspin.

  • oze13 on February 27, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    Poor technique and a bobbing head will have put paid to Morgan's chances of touring Sri Lanka. Needs to get back to County cricket and start playing straight again. However, his comment the other day that he doesn't need to change anything is a big worry!

  • on February 27, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    I think Morgan wouldn't have played at all had Bresnan been fit in the UAE.

  • StevieS on February 27, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Is AB de Villiers available? SA have plenty of good middle order batsmen.

  • Nutcutlet on February 27, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    England is not playing any limited overs cricket in SL and therefore there is no reason whatsoever for Morgan to be selected. Currently, he is short of Test class & low on confidence. Bopara should be the prospective#6 as he shown a cool temperament in the ODIs, & his medium-pacers will be very useful in the hot & steamy conditions. I think it is not yet the time to have Bairstow as a back-up keeper; I think he needs more seasoning at the higher levels and in the unforgiving Test arena any deficiencies will be quickly exposed. Furthermore, Steve Davies is the better keeper. Whether Bairstow gets a place as the reseve bat is another question; he offers much in the field in any case. The 4 quicks pick themselves & how can SFinn can be left out of the final XI must suggest that Jimmy may, surprisingly, not be in it. Lastly, the rotund Samit should definitely go; he offers flexibility in selection besides being cover for Swann & Monty. Buttler? Not yet. He must cut his teeth in ODIs first.

  • Herath-UK on February 27, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    To England's dismay they are going to catch Sri Lanka at a time in high spirits with current CB success and with Mahela as captain. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Clive_Dunn on February 27, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    Morgan needs to go and sort his technique out, I can't remember a batsmen moving so much pre-delivery since the legend that was Kim Barnett. Bops at 6 for the Sri Lanka series, especially as it saves us 5 overs of Trott filth a day.

  • SDHM on February 27, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    @jmc - opening is the one area of the team that I can't name too many young players coming through, Joe Root being the one that springs to mind. I remember Trott being moved up to open for one Test in Bangladesh, and even there he looked uncomfortable. He had just come off a tough tour to South Africa to be fair and he's a far more established player now, but still I wouldn't want to move him from where he's been so successful. If Strauss were to go though, I'm not sure they'd have any choice. Can't see him going before the end of the South Africa series at the earliest at any rate, and he's rarely looked horribly out of form at any point (with the exception of this tour just gone, and to be fair, who in the England line-up didn't?), he's just struggled to put a big hundred together.

  • AlanHarrison on February 27, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    If I were Morgan, I would definitely be worried. "I think he's got a couple of Test centuries", says Flower; sounds like Flower couldn't even be bothered thinking closely about the record of a player who's played all his tests with Flower as coach. I feel a bit sorry for Morgan, because I suspect he is about to be made the scapegoat for the collective disastrous failure of the entire middle order during the tests in UAE. Mind you, it happened to Bell in 2009 when he was made the scapegoat for England collapsing for 51 at Sabina Park. Maybe Morgan can come back too; or on the other hand, England having tried out another Associate talent, in a few years, perhaps Morgan'll be discarded completely and be back playing cricket for Ireland alongside Ed Joyce

  • hhillbumper on February 27, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    please dump Morgan.My cat has more technique and she has only got 3 legs.Take Butler and Taylor and agree with another contributor who says that Woakes should get a chance.Guess we will be stick with Dernbach though as he fulfils the selectors desire to be South Africa A.

  • on February 27, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    having samitpatel and ravibopara in the squad will add great balance 2 the team combination in case of an injury i think samit can make effective contribution as no.7

  • on February 27, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    If he is not selected for Tests then he should automatically have to play the shorter forms for Ireland

  • Tigg on February 27, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    With Bresnan fit again I'd like to see Strauss, Cook, Trott, KP, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Monty as our starting XI.

    With Davies, Finn, Patel, Bopara, Onions and Morgan as our reserves.

  • on February 27, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    Bell was given the 'return to county duty' treatment and it worked. Morgan should have the same. Sticking Bairstow in the Test squad ahead of Davies is utterly ludicrous and I really do think England are missing a trick by not including Davies in the ODI side as he's a better batsman and wicketkeeper than Kieswetter. Not sure why Mr Dobell is even postulating Finn getting in ahead of Anderson. He's the clear leader of the attack. This was what he was groomed into when Donald was coaching and has been for some time now. The brave option would be to go with an Anderson-Broad-Finn attack with the two spinners there. Have Prior at six and put the emphasis on the batsmen to deliver rather than to rely on the bowlers to get them out of the mire, as too often happens with England.

  • on February 27, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Bairstow needs to come in for Morgan, young Eoin has been given too many chances in test cricket and has not made use of them! Eoins new squatting motion looks like he is constipated on the toilet rather then getting ready to hit a cricket ball!!!!

  • StoneRose on February 27, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    I'm a Morgan fan but I think he should be dropped - for some reason technically he's changed things and the squat is doing him no favours. Bopara did well enough in the ODIs to take his place. I'm a Finn fan too but I agree with Al Millington that Broad and Anderson are a shoo in but Finn will come in next summer as 3rd seamer. No big deal Bairstow or Davies apart from maybe developmental reasons as neither will play. I disagree that Strauss's place is in immediate danger but he does need some runs to silence the doubters. Interesting point about Trott moving to open once Strauss goes, though as I say I think it will be a while yet.

  • on February 27, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    I hope they don't drop Morgan. He's a phenomenal talent. Or as a SL maybe I should. england will be weaker without him.

  • YorkshirePudding on February 27, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    I'm not sure about Bopara hes failed as many times as Morgan in Test cricket to be honest. Theres also the argument that 5 bowlers in SL will be more benficial than 6 batsmen, Its a arisk ant the tail could look like Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Monty, not exactly awe inspiring if the top order implodes.

  • KingofRedLions on February 27, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    Hope Eoin's ready to play for Ireland in four years.

  • Valavan on February 27, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    @usmanHM, well if England havent mastered it, then you gonna say Pakistan have mastered it. comon look at Indian spinners, they are nowhere close to ajmal, and SL without murali and malinga in tests, of course England failed to adapt in tests, but they slowly did in ODIs. combinations went wrong, our players didnt show patience, they just ran out of mettle, if those are followed, England will still stay afloat in Top rank, dont forget USMAN, it was the batting that failed, not overall failure, we have skittled twice Pakistan in 2 tests and took 50 out of 60 wickets. Underestimate at your own peril, cricinfo please publish.

  • jmcilhinney on February 27, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    I don't really see Bairstow as quite ready for Test cricket but then there's many who would say the same about Morgan. Maybe Bopara in the team for Morgan and Bairstow as backup primarily for experience. It is only a two-Test tour so I doubt that the team will change between Tests barring injury. If Strauss does struggle again then he'll be on the precipice. He might even retire but, if not, I would think that he'd get one more series at the most before being dropped. If and when he does go, I do wonder who will take his opening spot. I'm not up with the who's who of county cricket openers but I do wonder whether they might consider opening with Trott and moving Bell to #3, giving them room to bring in a younger player, like Taylor maybe, in the middle order.

  • CricketingStargazer on February 27, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    Incidentally, one of the key numbers for Eoin Morgan is that even with two Test centuries, he averages only 30.43 after 16 Tests. That is fewer than Rob Key after more matches and in a winning side (Rob Key played in a side that was, more often than not, losing): that is not the return of a specialist batsman in the middle order. In part, his lack of runs has been covered by the contributions from Matt Prior and the tail but that only works when the batting is firing. The main issue is whether or not his confidence has been eroded so much that even his limited overs spot is in doubt on this tour and even there the jury is still out. There it might be kinder to tell him to go off to Middlesex, score some runs, have some fun and re-commsision him, hopefully refreshed, for the summer ODIs.

  • big_al_81 on February 27, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    Probable team for Sri Lanka: Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Bopara, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Panesar. They'll be good I reckon, but personally I'd like to go with 5 batsman since Prior is better on his day than any of the potential number 6s and we have enough runs in the bowlers to compensate for a batsman who's iffy in Asia. So I'd like to try Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell/Bopara, Prior, Broad, Bresnan/Patel, Swann, Anderson/Finn, Panesar. I just wish SO much they'd try balancing in favour of the bowlers not the batting at least in some conditions.

  • allblue on February 27, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    As a Middlesex fan I thought that Morgan was called up to the Test side a bit too soon. At the highest level a batsman needs not only to have technique but also to be completely comfortable with it. I felt he was not quite there when first selected, and we can see now how his technique - specifically that squatting motion - is changing and the Test arena is not the place for such fundamentals to be sorted out. The selectors identified a fantastic temperament and an audacious unorthodoxy which is very well sorted to the shorter forms, but at Test level the fundamentals have to be sound and I'm afraid to say he has been found out. A season back in the County with a lot of technical work in the nets should help him become a genuine Test player but he's not quite there at present.

  • on February 27, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    James Taylor should certainly be in consideration. A prodigious talent that should be honed sooner rather than later.

  • anver777 on February 27, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    They rightly deserve another chance after their test debacle in UAE....... i guess even in SL conditions its not easy, they might struggle again !!!!!

  • CricketingStargazer on February 27, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Eoin Morgan's scores on this tour have been: 1, 3, 11, 24, 14, 3, 0, 10, 31, 2, 25*, 24*, 15, 14, 9. He has passed 25 just once in 15 attempts, which is pretty desperate by anyone's standards and, when he was expected to be the main riposte to the Pakistani spinners, he has looked really at sea against them. On the plus side, his last few innings have shown flashes of the old Eoin Morgan, but even then have been brief. Surely this is a clear-cut case where some recuperation in county cricket would serve him better than the pressure of a tour where he is going to be under real scrutiny. If England are to retain the World T20 a fit (mentally as well as physically) and firing Morgan is vital to the side's chances.

  • Goldeneye175 on February 27, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Please selectors, sometime this year, give Chris Woakes another run-out, he is not just an excellent bowler, but a true all-rounder, boasting some outstanding batting credentials

    I fully expect that within 2 years, our pace-attack line-up will be Broad, Finn and Woakes...mark my words, this lad is destined for a bright future!

  • Kidderwolf on February 27, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Fair enough to get Bairstow in the team, but it should not be at the expense of Davies who has been given no chance to impress. Morgan shoudl be the one to go as he has failed totally in Dubai.

  • on February 27, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Strauss has done really well as captain....He never looked brave person in his early years of career but after being handed permanent captaincy he has turned into one of the finest cricket captain of the world and one can't replace him for one bad series where his captaincy was not faulty but the batting of whole side went toppling,so what can a captain do in that situation....bite his nails!!!

  • SDHM on February 27, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Bairstow has the potential to become a fine player, but I don't think England will bring him in just yet - the cool temperament you talk of him having was also supposed to be Morgan's greatest strength, and he hasn't managed to translate that into success. Worse still, it seems to have affected his limited overs form. A spell playing first class cricket will help, as he's never really played consistently for Middlesex anyway. Bopara and Patel I'm pretty sure will be the spare batsmen, and I think Bopara will get the nod unless the pitches are real dustbowls (which I can't see happening, after both the result and the ridiculous ruling on the Galle pitch against Australia).

  • on February 27, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    "It is just possible that Finn could edge out Anderson when it comes to Test selection" - Really? Finn has an excellent chance of being England's 3rd seamer when they next choose to select one but to replace Anderson? No Chance!

  • OhhhMattyMatty on February 27, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Be astonishingly harsh on Davies to be dropped from all formats of the game, but maybe it is better for him to start a full county season and get some cricket under his belt. In any other era he'd have ended up with 200+ International caps in all formats as either a batsman or a keeper-batsman! He's so unlucky that Prior will keep the Test spot for another 5+ years and in Bairstow and Buttler we have ODI and T20 keepers for the next 10+ years! I'd still far rather see him opening in ODIs than Kieswetter, but now KP and Cook have those slots, there is nowhere for Davies to go sadly. Fantastic talent, just really unlucky! Would get in any other Test side in the world except maybe Sri Lanka and England!

  • usmanHM on February 27, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Cool, inner steel Jonny, u kidding mate. one innings and you out of control. he is not better than morgan or Yuvrag who completely failed in tests. By the way, for Andy, if you play now another test against Pakistan, you will be defeated....you have not mastered it yet, u will see in Sri lanka n India.

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  • usmanHM on February 27, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Cool, inner steel Jonny, u kidding mate. one innings and you out of control. he is not better than morgan or Yuvrag who completely failed in tests. By the way, for Andy, if you play now another test against Pakistan, you will be defeated....you have not mastered it yet, u will see in Sri lanka n India.

  • OhhhMattyMatty on February 27, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Be astonishingly harsh on Davies to be dropped from all formats of the game, but maybe it is better for him to start a full county season and get some cricket under his belt. In any other era he'd have ended up with 200+ International caps in all formats as either a batsman or a keeper-batsman! He's so unlucky that Prior will keep the Test spot for another 5+ years and in Bairstow and Buttler we have ODI and T20 keepers for the next 10+ years! I'd still far rather see him opening in ODIs than Kieswetter, but now KP and Cook have those slots, there is nowhere for Davies to go sadly. Fantastic talent, just really unlucky! Would get in any other Test side in the world except maybe Sri Lanka and England!

  • on February 27, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    "It is just possible that Finn could edge out Anderson when it comes to Test selection" - Really? Finn has an excellent chance of being England's 3rd seamer when they next choose to select one but to replace Anderson? No Chance!

  • SDHM on February 27, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Bairstow has the potential to become a fine player, but I don't think England will bring him in just yet - the cool temperament you talk of him having was also supposed to be Morgan's greatest strength, and he hasn't managed to translate that into success. Worse still, it seems to have affected his limited overs form. A spell playing first class cricket will help, as he's never really played consistently for Middlesex anyway. Bopara and Patel I'm pretty sure will be the spare batsmen, and I think Bopara will get the nod unless the pitches are real dustbowls (which I can't see happening, after both the result and the ridiculous ruling on the Galle pitch against Australia).

  • on February 27, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Strauss has done really well as captain....He never looked brave person in his early years of career but after being handed permanent captaincy he has turned into one of the finest cricket captain of the world and one can't replace him for one bad series where his captaincy was not faulty but the batting of whole side went toppling,so what can a captain do in that situation....bite his nails!!!

  • Kidderwolf on February 27, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Fair enough to get Bairstow in the team, but it should not be at the expense of Davies who has been given no chance to impress. Morgan shoudl be the one to go as he has failed totally in Dubai.

  • Goldeneye175 on February 27, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Please selectors, sometime this year, give Chris Woakes another run-out, he is not just an excellent bowler, but a true all-rounder, boasting some outstanding batting credentials

    I fully expect that within 2 years, our pace-attack line-up will be Broad, Finn and Woakes...mark my words, this lad is destined for a bright future!

  • CricketingStargazer on February 27, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Eoin Morgan's scores on this tour have been: 1, 3, 11, 24, 14, 3, 0, 10, 31, 2, 25*, 24*, 15, 14, 9. He has passed 25 just once in 15 attempts, which is pretty desperate by anyone's standards and, when he was expected to be the main riposte to the Pakistani spinners, he has looked really at sea against them. On the plus side, his last few innings have shown flashes of the old Eoin Morgan, but even then have been brief. Surely this is a clear-cut case where some recuperation in county cricket would serve him better than the pressure of a tour where he is going to be under real scrutiny. If England are to retain the World T20 a fit (mentally as well as physically) and firing Morgan is vital to the side's chances.

  • anver777 on February 27, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    They rightly deserve another chance after their test debacle in UAE....... i guess even in SL conditions its not easy, they might struggle again !!!!!

  • on February 27, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    James Taylor should certainly be in consideration. A prodigious talent that should be honed sooner rather than later.