The Ashes 2013-14 September 23, 2013

The Ashes tour of the giant fast bowler

England's squad looks impressive - especially when it comes to the height of their quick bowlers - but they are gambling on their plans working perfectly and have ignored some compelling domestic form
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The inclusion of Gary Ballance may delight headline writers, but it is the somewhat ironic lack of balance in the Ashes squad that may come back to haunt England.

Size is everything in this squad. The inclusion of four tall, strong seamers - Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn - underlines the preference of the current England management for bowlers of such characteristics above all other considerations. England are in the age of the giant fast bowler.

There is some logic in the policy. On Australian pitches expected to offer more pace and bounce than those seen in the Ashes series in England, such bowlers could prove a handful. The limitations of traditional English seam or swing bowlers can sometimes be exposed on such surfaces.

But there is no obvious Plan B available in this England squad. If James Anderson is injured - and the thought of it should be enough to send shivers down the spine of any England supporter - the England seam attack will have the subtly of a sledgehammer. Height, pace and bounce are valuable attributes, but they are not the only attributes and the inclusion of Rankin and Tremlett et al. looks like too much of a good thing.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the selectors no longer have much regard for performances at county level. If they did, Graham Onions - who has taken 143 first-class wickets at an average of 18.39 in the last two seasons - would have been an automatic selection. Instead they have opted for Tremlett, who has been selected more due to memories of his performances in Australia in 2010-11 than any recent success, and Rankin, who is bowling with menace but has taken one five-wicket haul since May 2011. Onions, by contrast, has taken five this season.

It is not hard to understand Onions' disappointment. Indeed, writing on Twitter, he said "Disappointed is an understatement, absolutely gutted."

Onions has been, without question, the best English-qualified seamer in county cricket over the last couple of years. While it is true that pitches at his home ground in Durham offer more assistance than any England are likely to find in Australia, he has also taken wickets away from home. In Durham's last two away Championship games, Onions claimed match-figures of 9 for 85 in Derby, which is generally one of the best wickets in the country, and first-innings figures of 7 for 62 at Lord's. His qualities - accuracy and movement - are timeless, yet it seems they are outdated to the current England management.

While the selectors have ignored Onions' excellent domestic record, they have also overlooked Michael Carberry's modest form. Carberry, who has scored one Championship century in two seasons of Division Two cricket, has been preferred to Nick Compton, who has scored six Division One centuries and two more in Test cricket in the same period and is more than two-years younger. Character has, in Carberry's case, been deemed more important than achievement.

None of this means the selectors are wrong. They may well have identified skills that will be useful in Australia and ignored accomplishments that they feel are less relevant. But it is intriguing that the England management seem to have deemed, rightly or wrongly, the Compton experiment - that is the experiment of calling up a player from outside the youth teams or Lions programme on the back of excellent performances in county cricket - a failure. It may well be that they are reluctant to trust county performances again. It is a dangerous road down which to venture.

The selection of Ben Stokes ahead of Chris Woakes for the allrounder's position might be seen in the same way. While Woakes' first-class record - a batting average of 38.04 and a bowling average of 25.91 - is a little better than Stokes' - 36.23 and 27.19 respectively - the selectors have again decided that the latter's extra pace will render him more dangerous at Test level. It is, in general, a reasonable assumption, though it is worth recalling the success of Chaminda Vaas, Vernon Philander and Terry Alderman. You might even question whether Anderson, if he was six or seven years younger, would be considered by this England regime.

Ballance's first-class record is excellent and his selection quite reasonable. He has a career average well in excess of 50 in both List A and first-class cricket and scored back-to-back centuries for England Lions against Australia and Bangladesh A only a month ago. He does not look the fittest but, aged 23, has time to improve that aspect of his game and has to be considered a genuine candidate to bat at No. 6 in the first Test at Brisbane.

It is also worth noting that none of the three uncapped players were born in England or Wales. While there is nothing wrong in England utilising all available options and, as result of a variety of historical issues, they have more options than most, it is intriguing that players whose initial development occurred outside England and Wales seem to thrive disproportionately and raises questions about the English system that it would be sensible to reflect upon. To be fair, suggesting that Stokes - born in New Zealand but as much a product of the north-east as Steve Harmison or Paul Collingwood - is anything other than home-grown would be stretching a point.

This is a squad that should be good enough to retain the Ashes. Australia are still in the early stages of their rebuilding operation and nine of the England XI for the first Test in Brisbane are likely to have been regular members of the team that won the series in England 3-0.

But questions remain about England's bench strength. Should injury befall either of England two key bowlers - Graeme Swann or Anderson - the gap between the sides will narrow substantially.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | September 24, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Anderson and Broad are automatic provided they are fit, so Finn, Rankin and Tremlett are fighting for one place. I think England are determined that the third quick will be tall, so I'm not sure where Onions would have slotted in other than as a replacement for Anderson if he breaks down. Since Anderson in the last 4 years has missed (I believe) one test through fitness issues and none in the last 3 Ashes series, Onions might not have been doing anything but carrying drinks. I do think they have already got one seamer too many, with 5 specialists, Stokes and the possibility of Bresnan coming back. I'd have left Tremlett at home, his form doesn't justify his inclusion.

    BTW, I see England has pulled a typically smart move and the first warm-up game is at the WACA. Perth was the only blot on the great tour of 2010/11, so this time they are preparing for it. I'm looking forward to seeing one or two of the big boys getting some serious lift off the Perth wicket.

  • POSTED BY gbqdgj on | September 26, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    @impartialexpert - "Cook lacks the flair to be called a great yet". I don't disagree that he could not yet be called a great but Greatness has nothing to do with Flair. Don Bradman, surely the greatest cricketer of all time was not a 'flair' player but was beautiful to watch because of his movement, timing and his ability to play shots out of the text book...which leads to me a question, what exactly are you an expert on?

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | September 25, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    @ Juiceoftheapple says "So England WILL play a 4 man bowling attack, consisting of Anderson, Swann, Broad and one tall accurate fast bowler."

    I am relieved that you did not include Broad in the "tall, fast, accurate" bowler category. I would hate to have to accuse you of a terminological inexactitude. Eng have tall, yes. They have fast - sort of. Accurate and fast - dream on!

  • POSTED BY on | September 25, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Onions isn't test match material

  • POSTED BY on | September 25, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    It ll be fun to watch wounded aussies against england..if this tour is scheduled after one year...aussies might have an outside chance...but kinda form australians are in now...i dont think of their dominance....

  • POSTED BY on | September 25, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    Almost any attack can bowl out this Aussie side!!! Jokes apart, this is a strategy that can so easily backfire. Remember, when India won in Perth in 2008, the Aussie's planned something similar- the fastest attack ever assembled (as it was hyped) consisted of Brett Lee, Mitchel Johnson and Shaun Tait, was unleashed. But what happened, they proved cannon fodder for the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin , VVS and even Irfan Pathan ( two crucial knocks in the match). They got carried away with the bounce and pace of WACA and started pitching it short. The experienced Indian batsmen kept leaving the bouncers and pounced on anything full. When the Indians bowled, the much slower, Irfan Pathan and RP Singh bowled full, swung the ball and blew away the then famed Aussie batting line up. Moral of the story- However tall or fast these English fast bowlers may be, unless they move the ball, they will prove useless. But with this Aussie line up - you never know- they may still collapse!!!

  • POSTED BY __PK on | September 25, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Can these guys swing the ball in Australian conditions? If not, they're playing into Australia's hands. Australian batsmen know how to play tall seamers when the ball's not swinging - hang on the back foot and watch the movement. It's only when it's swinging and they need to get forward that tall seamers cause problems.

  • POSTED BY ImpartialExpert on | September 25, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    Is this guy, Garry Balance, going to be the next batting superstar. England are yet to produce a batsmen with real flair. But Peterson did it for England. Now is this Garry's turn? Cook is a good batsmen but lacks the flair to be called a great yet. Anybody saw his bat? How is he?

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | September 24, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    So England WILL play a 4 man bowling attack, consisting of Anderson, Swann, Broad and one tall accurate fast bowler (that'll be nearly the same attack that trounced Australia last time) - and people are deducing we are picking a bowling attack of no swing, based purely on size and an intention to bowl short. Hello!!! Cuckoo, cuckoo, wakey wakey. Tremlett is extremely accurate and hard to score off, even if he's not taking wickets.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 24, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    @Tigg Graeme Onions's two wickets on tour last winter cost 156.5 each, he went at 4.7 runs per over and his strike rate was 201. Anyone who demands his selection on the grounds of form can only be an Australian!

    It could just be those figures that have made the selectors think that however effective he is on Durham greentops, he may not be quite as effective in Australia.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | September 24, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Anderson and Broad are automatic provided they are fit, so Finn, Rankin and Tremlett are fighting for one place. I think England are determined that the third quick will be tall, so I'm not sure where Onions would have slotted in other than as a replacement for Anderson if he breaks down. Since Anderson in the last 4 years has missed (I believe) one test through fitness issues and none in the last 3 Ashes series, Onions might not have been doing anything but carrying drinks. I do think they have already got one seamer too many, with 5 specialists, Stokes and the possibility of Bresnan coming back. I'd have left Tremlett at home, his form doesn't justify his inclusion.

    BTW, I see England has pulled a typically smart move and the first warm-up game is at the WACA. Perth was the only blot on the great tour of 2010/11, so this time they are preparing for it. I'm looking forward to seeing one or two of the big boys getting some serious lift off the Perth wicket.

  • POSTED BY gbqdgj on | September 26, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    @impartialexpert - "Cook lacks the flair to be called a great yet". I don't disagree that he could not yet be called a great but Greatness has nothing to do with Flair. Don Bradman, surely the greatest cricketer of all time was not a 'flair' player but was beautiful to watch because of his movement, timing and his ability to play shots out of the text book...which leads to me a question, what exactly are you an expert on?

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | September 25, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    @ Juiceoftheapple says "So England WILL play a 4 man bowling attack, consisting of Anderson, Swann, Broad and one tall accurate fast bowler."

    I am relieved that you did not include Broad in the "tall, fast, accurate" bowler category. I would hate to have to accuse you of a terminological inexactitude. Eng have tall, yes. They have fast - sort of. Accurate and fast - dream on!

  • POSTED BY on | September 25, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Onions isn't test match material

  • POSTED BY on | September 25, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    It ll be fun to watch wounded aussies against england..if this tour is scheduled after one year...aussies might have an outside chance...but kinda form australians are in now...i dont think of their dominance....

  • POSTED BY on | September 25, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    Almost any attack can bowl out this Aussie side!!! Jokes apart, this is a strategy that can so easily backfire. Remember, when India won in Perth in 2008, the Aussie's planned something similar- the fastest attack ever assembled (as it was hyped) consisted of Brett Lee, Mitchel Johnson and Shaun Tait, was unleashed. But what happened, they proved cannon fodder for the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin , VVS and even Irfan Pathan ( two crucial knocks in the match). They got carried away with the bounce and pace of WACA and started pitching it short. The experienced Indian batsmen kept leaving the bouncers and pounced on anything full. When the Indians bowled, the much slower, Irfan Pathan and RP Singh bowled full, swung the ball and blew away the then famed Aussie batting line up. Moral of the story- However tall or fast these English fast bowlers may be, unless they move the ball, they will prove useless. But with this Aussie line up - you never know- they may still collapse!!!

  • POSTED BY __PK on | September 25, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Can these guys swing the ball in Australian conditions? If not, they're playing into Australia's hands. Australian batsmen know how to play tall seamers when the ball's not swinging - hang on the back foot and watch the movement. It's only when it's swinging and they need to get forward that tall seamers cause problems.

  • POSTED BY ImpartialExpert on | September 25, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    Is this guy, Garry Balance, going to be the next batting superstar. England are yet to produce a batsmen with real flair. But Peterson did it for England. Now is this Garry's turn? Cook is a good batsmen but lacks the flair to be called a great yet. Anybody saw his bat? How is he?

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | September 24, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    So England WILL play a 4 man bowling attack, consisting of Anderson, Swann, Broad and one tall accurate fast bowler (that'll be nearly the same attack that trounced Australia last time) - and people are deducing we are picking a bowling attack of no swing, based purely on size and an intention to bowl short. Hello!!! Cuckoo, cuckoo, wakey wakey. Tremlett is extremely accurate and hard to score off, even if he's not taking wickets.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 24, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    @Tigg Graeme Onions's two wickets on tour last winter cost 156.5 each, he went at 4.7 runs per over and his strike rate was 201. Anyone who demands his selection on the grounds of form can only be an Australian!

    It could just be those figures that have made the selectors think that however effective he is on Durham greentops, he may not be quite as effective in Australia.

  • POSTED BY whatawicket on | September 24, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    apart from broad non of the bowlers, bowl bouncers they all bowl wicket taking deliveries and most will be upwards of 90 mph so nothing much wrong there.

  • POSTED BY whatawicket on | September 24, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    George is news on the slow side and you are struggling for copy !. i have no problems with the attack, with 4 been over 6' 6" with what i would expect normal Australian conditions they will do just fine. i would suggest its better they are English bowlers and not Australian. as for onions yes i think hes a good bowler but this time hes missed out.

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    The reason that Anderson was below par in the last three tests is that he was overbowled in the first test - no question about that. But then again he was the ONLY bowler who impressed in that test so Cook had no choice. It has happened several times in the past and will keep happening.

  • POSTED BY anton1234 on | September 24, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Anderson wasn't very impressive in the last three tests of the Ashes just gone. I wonder if he is showing signs of age. I know he is only 31, but given how much fast bowlers ball these days (especially Anderson who has carried the fast bowling burden for a good 5 years now), I got the impression he was looking tired in the second half the series. Whether the current break will serve to renew him or whether it really is the beginning of his decline, remains to be seen.

  • POSTED BY ben.p. on | September 24, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    We really are back to the bad old days of the '70s, '80s and '90s - rubbish selectors who limit England's prospects before a ball is bowled. Graham Onions and Nick Compton should at least have the consolation of knowing that, had we a selection panel who had a clue what they were doing, they would have been automatic choices. Through the structural changes of some 13 years ago, the ECB has ruined county cricket and therefore now appear to feel entitled to ignoring it. This is a dangerous road, as Mr Dobell points out, and the eventual result will be an England side that, once again, finds itself near the bottom of the world rankings. We will have come full circle.

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | September 24, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    I tend to think that this tour might see England struggle. Provided Clarke stays fit.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | September 24, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    @anton1234 I agree that being tall is helpful to pacemen but this advantage appears to come at the expense of durability. For example, Rankin and Tremlett have broken down more often than Anderson and Bresnan in the past four years (even with Bresnan currently out injured). Everyone agrees that fast bowling is hard work and workloads must be actively managed, but it seems that the Morkels of this world are less durable than the Steyns. Malcolm Marshall was five foot ten and bowled off the "wrong" foot but was one of the best fast bowlers (and one of the most durable) I've ever seen. Hit-the-deck isn't the only game in Australia, Glen McGrath was "only" low eighties in pace but showed that control and movement is what takes wickets. Craig McDermott, Jason Gillespie, Ben Hilfenhaus, Jackson Bird et al have shown us that you don't have to be great to represent your country; you just have to be good. Jordan is genuinely quick and his best years are in front of him. He'll improve with age.

  • POSTED BY anton1234 on | September 24, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Being very tall in fast bowling helps. I have a feeling Chris Jordan won't go on to become a great bowler. He has speed but slightly shorter than I was hoping. He is around 5ft 11in and will find it difficult to generate variable bounce naturally and will instead have to put a lot of effort to generate the varying bounce. You have to be be something special at that height (like Waqar Younis, Darren Gough, Chaminda Vaas), which I doubt Chris Jordan is. When he played against Australia he did not look very intimidating. Better options for the future are Reece Topley, Tymal Mills, Jamie Overton.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | September 24, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    what a terrible selection by England. They have no chance of the whitewash now, maybe 3-1 again.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | September 24, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    One problem with armchair critics are that we tend to think that performances are the only things that matter when selecting players for a tour and tend to underestimate the effect of personalities. On performance, of course Compton would tour before Carberry but Carberry is a supportive, hardworking and humble encourager whereas Compton is much less of a team man and subject to bouts of self-consequence, introspection and irritability. Onions has given no indications of bitterness in his reaction to being overlooked and he could hardly have done more to get into the team. Without wishing ill luck on Tremlett, I really hope the selector do regret Onion's exclusion from the tour, because I genuinely feel they have short changed England by leaving Onions behind. Apart from his achievements with the ball, he's shown substantial mental strength with the bat in the past and, if (as I believe) five bowlers are required, the tail must be resilient, particularly if the top order misfires.

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | September 24, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    Madness. Neither Finn nor Tremlett have looked wnything special this season and while I'd have taken one (probably Tremlett), taking both is a huge risk.

    Even if you ignore Onion's home performances he outbowls pretty much everyone else around.

    The selectors may have cost England the ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    I have no objection to the selection of Stokes in preference to Woakes but as the latter played in the Final Test, did not disgrace himself, and was then given an incremental Contract why has he not been included in even the Performance Squad? After the Chairman of Selector's words at the time of granting the Contract he is contradicting himself!

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | September 24, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    I completely agree with the featured comment that three tall men is enough for England. Onions is six foot two and in form; he should have gone instead of Tremlett, for no other reason that he is as near as England have to a replacement for Anderson. Fast bowling is hard work in the heat. You need five bowlers to share 90 overs in Australian conditions, not four. Anyone who is labouring under the misconception that four main bowlers is enough under the hot Australian sun should recall what happened when Anderson was overbowled this Summer in the first test. Two of England's bowlers are well into their thirties and Anderson must perform at pace in hotter weather than that which exhausted him this Summer. This means playing four bowlers and Stokes, if Bresnan is not available, although there is no reason why Prior should not play at 6 and Stokes at 7, if he is still perceived as a bowler who bats a bit. Tremlett is lucky; he hasn't convinced anyone that his best days aren't behind him.

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    I think they have done right with the selection Finn and Temlett have the pace and length to get wickets quickly where as onions relys more on claiming wickets by lbw and that can often be a risky thing because one bad ball doing that and it can easily go out the ground but if you have the pace on it then that could happen but at the same time it is harder and could be caught.

  • POSTED BY dejfrith on | September 24, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    During the 1980s, while editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly, I wrote that England had little chance of competing against the squad of big West Indies fast bowlers (Garner, Holding, Ambrose, Walsh et al) until, perhaps one day, they bred a group of giants of their own. That day seems to have arrived.

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | September 24, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    @Essex_Man - I support England wholeheartedly but lets not get carried away and do an Aussie here. They are known to make such silly predictions. I wish we win 5-0 but thats all its a wish. It might not happen. Never underestimate your opposition. Look at what Zimbabwe did recently.

  • POSTED BY Armoured_cricket on | September 24, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Stuart Broad is a "strong" seamer???!!!???

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | September 24, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Strange. Finn has really struggled vs Australia and Broads results have been mixed. It was Anderson and Bresnan who were more dominant. England are going to abandon their greatest strength, swing, to try to monster Australia out. Watson must be licking his lips.

  • POSTED BY hmmmmm... on | September 24, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    ....Just noticed there is no Hobart test - shame. So it's: road going to be: road, fast, swinging/seaming, then pot luck for the final test.

  • POSTED BY woodgreen on | September 24, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    surprised Barker of Warwicks doesnt get a mention for the performance squad

  • POSTED BY Int.Curator on | September 24, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Nothing like a home ground advantage!

    Arrrh there is no better feeling as tall express pace bowler putting a ball just short of a length and it bouncing and whistling over the stumps.

    There is no better feeling as a batsmen than trusting a pitch and playing a ball coming onto the bat and being able to cut or pull it. Just like the weekly 100 throw downs in practice from age 12years .

    But this is the Ashes and the ball seconds later hits the boundary fence with interest and a raw from a home crowd highlights the bowlers inadequacies.

    That was plan "A".

    Is there a plan "B" England?

    No i didn't think so!

  • POSTED BY hmmmmm... on | September 24, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Someone at the ECB didn't do the homework but relied on footage of 10 years ago to inform these selections. Bounce may work (if you know how) at the WACA but even there it depends on the year, the GABBA is generally a road as is Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart swing more than bounce (Hobart ridiculously at times) and sydney is a bit in between. If you look at the last few seasons of shield cricket it is swing that has been king across most grounds.

  • POSTED BY Essex_Man on | September 24, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    A real embarrassment of riches for England. It's difficult to imagine anything other than a 5-0 victory; the rain / bad light which rescued Australia at Old Trafford and The Oval hopefully won't be a factor down under.

  • POSTED BY Go_F.Alonso on | September 24, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    There seems to be quite a consensus around Compton for Carberry and Onions for Tremlett. Can't argue if I could.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 24, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Just a consideration about Graeme Onions: he had a miserable winter. 1-100 in 29 overs in India, 1-213 in 38 overs in New Zealand. People tend to forget to factor that in and Australian pitches are not necessarily made for his style of bowling.

    There will be bowlers like Reece Topley, Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan in the shadow squad.

  • POSTED BY zoot on | September 24, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    You can't have too many of them if they're good as the West Indies showed in the 1980s.

  • POSTED BY Dadders on | September 24, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    So Aussie fans suggest that the pitches will be designed to negate the England tall and pacey attack as they tried against SA. Understandable really. So what do they create instead? They can't having raging turners as they have inadequate spinners and Swann will bowl them out of the Ashes. Do they have flat tracks and look to bat? Well that takes Aussies strength (their pace attack) out of the game and leaves them reliant on an unreliable batting line up. It also plays into the hands of Cook, Trott and KP who showed last time how much they love the Aussie wickets. I would have picked Onions for Tremlett for balance but otherwise happy with that line up. Hope Balance gets the no6 slot as his pugnacious batting especially when in a hole will surprise the Aussies. Expect to see Bresnan back in the fold when he recovers fitness

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Well at least in height they compare well with Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner, the fearsome foursome from WI.

  • POSTED BY Paul_JT on | September 24, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Feel for Onions, a result of the selectors indecision between Rankin or Tremlett. James Taylor will also feel a victim of this "heightest" discrimination. Surprised he did not even make the performance squad. Less worried about where players selected to represent England are born. That they (e.g. Ballance and Rankin) have represented other nations (Zimbabwe and Ireland respectively) before taking their opportunities in the English system is a concern.

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | September 24, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Isnt it funny how the aussies have completely forgotten the THREE INNINGS & 200 RUN DEFEATS of the last tour? Lets be honest, you've won 2 of your last 15 ashes tests

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    The Australian batsmen may have looked out of their depth on the dry turning wickets England served up to them this Summer but it was only two big spells from Anderson and Broad which really blew them away. I have a feeling that the Aussie batsmen, brought up with taped up cricket balls flying around their heads as kids and graduates in the school of fast, bouncy wickets, will find this 1D attack a much easier battle than that of swing, seam and spin. With only Anderson a true swing bowler and Swann able to attack when conditions suit I think England have missed a trick by not taking Onions, someone who can move the ball off the straight at a decent tick. If I am proved to be right I hope the Aussies make the England pay dearly for their boring and ill-advised bowling selections.

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | September 24, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Horses for courses seems to be the policy while selecting this team for the return Ashes. It is true that Onions should have been in the squad, especially as a back up for Anderson and Broad. I feel Broad may not last the full series looking the way he played in the first 3 tests at home. Last time around Tremlett and Finn troubled the Aussies so much that England think their presence itself is enough for them to repeat the success. However, Finn looked off colour and Tremlett does not have enough match practise. This could turn out to be sour grapes for England, especially if Aussie openers and Watson start firing. Panesar is a good choice especially knowing the weakness of Aussie batters against left arm spin. However, will he get a chance to play with so many pacers needs to be seen. Yet it is batting which needs focus as Aussie pacers will be very aggressive on home conditions. In that sense the batting looks a bit brittle. Fitness and form matter the most. Lets wait and see.

  • POSTED BY crockit on | September 24, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    It is true that some of these tall bowlers can bowl a full length and are often more effective when doing so. However, (given Bresnan is initially unfit) we have essentially picked Anderson plus 4 talls guys which makes no sense as it provides no sub for Anderson nor an option of a second Anderson style bowler in the team. Onions cannot be thought of as a stock bowler either - he has a recent strike rate of under 40! If you get a standard pitch he, Anderson and Broad would make the best attack (given Bresnan injured). Granted you might pick Rankin for Perth and even Brisbane

  • POSTED BY niazbhi on | September 24, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    I am disappointed that Onion is not picked. Rankin, Broad are good picks. England should have picked one of formless Tremlett and unpredictable Finn. Panesar is a gamble. Waquar and Marshall was 5'10". so is Harris. England, please pick the best or the most successful bowler not the tallest one.

  • POSTED BY PeterScott on | September 24, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    The England selectors, in their relentless quest for scientific precision, have clearly decided to settle on a completely objective measure: inches. Few will deny that, on this measure, Rankin (79) is superior to Onions (a mere 74), or that Taylor (66) falls short of Ballance (no data on Cricinfo, but maybe the England selectors have inside knowledge). Ah, you may say, but Compton (74) outranks Carberry (a mere 71): how do you explain that? Remember that, for top-order batsmen, average inches per match is the crucial factor: Carberry triumphantly maintains his 71 but Compton's rating dwindles to a sad 8.22.

    The inches criterion has the crucial benefit that it is not subject to the vagaries of form. Tremlett's Test bowling average was 35 in 2007, 19 in 2010 and 23 in 2011, but his inches have stayed steadfastly unchanged over the same period and are not expected to vary significantly in the foreseeable future. Herein lies the genius of the scientific approach to selection.

  • POSTED BY orangtan on | September 24, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    Yes,Onions should definitely have been included and hopefully there will still be a way in for him, but even without him the Aussie team and fans will be crying for help, they don't have the ghost of a chance unless they can get Mike Hussey to come back from retirement. 3-1 England !!

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | September 24, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Aussies to win the series, England underestimating their opponents and overestimating their own abilities

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | September 24, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Hmmm...! Finn, Tremlett, Panesar and Carberry. Aussies would love to have any of them in playing XI. Apart form Bell and KP non of the English top order had a convincing Ashes on the home turf. It is 3 months long Australian tour and if any of Anderson, Swann or Broad go out in bowling or Cook, KP or Trott miss out in batting the replacements dont look so much convincing. Taking a punt on Panesar is understandable as Poms do not have much options but opting for a sort of one dimensional attack specially when Bresnan is missing in action is little baffling. Finn has his own demons to fight and Tremlett is finding his way back from serious injury add to that Panesar conundrum and the backup looks little shaky. Carberry selection also looks little baffling. Johnson and Harris certainly wont mind him opening the innings for Poms. Looks to be interesting 3 months ahead of us.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Ivor on | September 24, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    I wish the the ECB in all its planning and preferring to be called the English Giants on its Australian tour just bear in mind what happened when South Africa visited Australia after having beaten England 2-0 in England. For the first two Tests at Brisbane and Adelaide, the wickets were dead as dodos. So much so that Australia out batted the South Africans Steyn,Morkel and Philander notwithstanding. The point is that the wickets did not have enough bounce and the batsmen found it quite easy piling on the runs. After drawing the first two tests, they moved on to Perth where the wicket was better for fast bowling and South Africa won. Having giants to espouse your cause is without any doubt re-assuring in a lawless land even if Australia is certainly not that. I believe that Onions would have been the match-winner that England is looking for. Rankin and Tremlett will probably allay my fears. But in Australia nationalism runs deep and that is true for the groundsmen as well.

  • POSTED BY Showbags88 on | September 24, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    As an Aussie I'm actually pretty happy with this squad. What beat us here last time was the English attack was metronomically accurate. They built great pressure on our batsmen. I can't see this attack doing that. Rankin looked an ok ODI bowler but Test Cricket is a whole other level, Tremlett hasn't been that good for his county (past performances is why he's been picked), Finn hasn't quite made a name for himself at Test level yet, and Broad is notoriously hot and cold. This attack could either go very bad or go very good, not much in between imo. Swann and Anderson are quality but I think will be slightly neutralized by conditions here.

  • POSTED BY cricket_ahan on | September 24, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    No issue with a tall pace attack, but good bowlers remain good bowlers, and Onions not being selected doesn't send the rigth message given his incredible form. I would also be questioning whether one of these bowlers has the potential to bowl long and punishing spells. Australia has this in Peter Siddle, and Bresnan normally plays this role for England. It becomes particularly important when the wicket flattens and becomes better for batting (e.g. Brisbane on day 2 and 3). Given the injuries to Tremlett and other tall fast men in the past, an attack without a "workhorse" might be a lil underdone. But let's see - guess it's nice to have choices!

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    Presumably the final line-up will include only one or two of these, with Anderson and Bresnan completing the attack (plus Stokes at 6?). Onions has been unlucky not to have played tests in England, where he is more likely to succeed. Pity about Ravi Bopara being omitted with his all round value. Perhaps he didn't quite fit into the dressing-room, as with Chris Read, Robert Key and others in the past?

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | September 24, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    Third party persective ----- You got to have swing too, modern Aussie batsmen are helpless against swing. Just watch the youtube footage of one of the shortest medium fast bowlers, Kulasekara taking five wickets in Aussie soil.

  • POSTED BY on | September 24, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    This is less about suitability for the conditions as it is psychology. Right now, Australia are easily intimidated, and England's bowling attack has clearly been picked to bounce Australia's heads off - or at least convey that threat.

  • POSTED BY leeham_69 on | September 23, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    I think this is harsh on Tremlett - more than capable of swing and seam, his game isn't purely about bowling short. Equally, it's well documented that Broad's success comes when he bowls a fuller length and seeks movement.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    Australia's counter to this bowling attack should be batsmen who aren't afraid to play square of the wicket. People like Watson, Warner, Clarke and Smith should have a field day! Doesn't sound like Australia has to make too many changes.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | September 23, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    England appear to be under the impression that all 5 Tests are at the WACA. Onions would add balance while Finn and especially Rankin & Tremlett are very similar. If Bresnan doesn't come up the lack of balanced options will magnify. You'd think an Irishman, a Zimbabwean & a Kiwi was the start of a joke but of course its the latest 'England' players.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | September 23, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    I am wondering if Cook has any compassion at all for Australians and whether we are soon to witness the attack of 4 giants. Tastey in one respect but I am a swing and spin man too. Still it is a thought, tactcs that should make a chill run down all Australian's spine. He has the ruthless mentality to do it,maybe at Perth. It would have all the appeal of Roman Imperial circuses. Hutton might have done it. Lloyd did it. Will Cook? Probably he has too much respect for Anderson and Swann as his chief henchman, but if Plan A fails, who knows? Certainly Australia will be bombed. Our men may not have as much pace as Johnson mark 2-was he a new model!- but they are much larger. Were they to try that tactic of course it would be no use Finn spraying it around. They would have to bowl with total precision. Whatever he decides Cook has to be utterly ruthless and unpitying. I still remember watching Boon bat. It was not fun.

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | September 23, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Regarding Tremlett, why cant a bowler be shown the same loyalty as a batsman, and once he is back to fitness, even though the form might not be there, he is brought back in the knowledge he has the (world) class. I only saw him play in the flesh once in a T20 against Tresco in his absolute prime, and Banger couldnt get him off the square, and thats good enough for me. Tremlett is AWESOME, if he's fit and 100% he deserves to be there, and should have played the Oval and should be our designated 3rd seamer. A fast bowler if he isnt taking wickets should be hard to score off and apply pressure (Broad 2009), and as far as I can see thats Tremlett and potentially Rankin all over. So happy days, and you've got to ask yourself who Oz would rather face on their tracks: Tremmers and Rankin or Bresnan, Onions and Woakes. Cant wait.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    There is no way an attack of Anderson, Broad, Swann, Finn and Rankin would be more effective than one with Anderson, Broad, Swann, Onions and Chris "94+ mph unexpected bounce" Jordan. Just imagine what Chris Jordan might have done at the WACA...

  • POSTED BY BRUTALANALYST on | September 23, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    I don't think Comton's absence is as big a shock as people are making out he didn't make 20 in his last 6 knocks for England 13, 2, 16, 15 , 1 and that incredibly painful 7 from 45 after England turned down the follow on v a young inexperienced Kiwi attack. Onions is the biggest shock but as ever with selections people have there favourites myself included you can't please everyone and at the end of the day it's the results for England that matter.

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | September 23, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Cant say i've got a problem with the tall fastie approach. Didnt it work for the Windies, who like us had an exception who was a shortie with sublime skill. Basically, the England ashes should have been Onions tour, doing a Philander for us in swinging conditions. Indeed I think we would have beat them easier if he had played, particularly those latter tests. So there was never any chance he'd go to Oz in my opinion. Regarding Woakes, Stokes, Kerrigan, Rankin, Ballance, Bairstow, I really dont mind England having a look at players as long as the door remains open for them in the future, we dont ever want to be in the position that Oz are in in that there was no one with any experience to fill the void when the stalwarts retire. Hopefully the experience of Swann, Tremlett and Bell should show the others to go away and tighten up. I like Carberry, I also like Compton, and I prefer Root at 6 but what you gonna do. I hope and think the strategy to enlarge the pool of players is a good one.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Onions for Tremlett and Compton for Carberry seemed no-brainers for many, the selectors had other ideas ! Hard to fathom what those ideas were though. Otherwise, its a fairly good squad and Stokes, in particular, is a very good choice, assuming its with the intention of an all rounder playing at no 6 and not as a third seamer replacement for Bresnan. Ballance is a very good selection keeping an eye on the future.

  • POSTED BY Iddo555 on | September 23, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    I'm happy with the squad on the whole. I would have picked Onions ahead of Tremlett because I'm not sure Tremlett is anywhere near his best. I also feel that Onions has been fantastic this year for Durham and that deserved to be rewarded.

    I would have picked Compton ahead of Carberry too because Carberry has been average in county cricket this year. Ballance and Stokes deserve their places, they are two young fantastic players with bright futures

    Rankin looks like a real threat, I'm happy he's going and I think he'll play in the first test

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    England in mood to attack the Kangaroos at their home. Well we'll see if it happens. By the way Aussies will be down and look to win something for their fans as they will be defeated by India in the ODI series next month :P

  • POSTED BY VVSR92 on | September 23, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    great to see performing people getting a chance at test level.England would opt for anderso,broad & ranin to start off in tests.

  • POSTED BY VVSR92 on | September 23, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    great to see performing people getting a chance at test level.England would opt for anderso,broad & ranin to start off in tests.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    England in mood to attack the Kangaroos at their home. Well we'll see if it happens. By the way Aussies will be down and look to win something for their fans as they will be defeated by India in the ODI series next month :P

  • POSTED BY Iddo555 on | September 23, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    I'm happy with the squad on the whole. I would have picked Onions ahead of Tremlett because I'm not sure Tremlett is anywhere near his best. I also feel that Onions has been fantastic this year for Durham and that deserved to be rewarded.

    I would have picked Compton ahead of Carberry too because Carberry has been average in county cricket this year. Ballance and Stokes deserve their places, they are two young fantastic players with bright futures

    Rankin looks like a real threat, I'm happy he's going and I think he'll play in the first test

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Onions for Tremlett and Compton for Carberry seemed no-brainers for many, the selectors had other ideas ! Hard to fathom what those ideas were though. Otherwise, its a fairly good squad and Stokes, in particular, is a very good choice, assuming its with the intention of an all rounder playing at no 6 and not as a third seamer replacement for Bresnan. Ballance is a very good selection keeping an eye on the future.

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | September 23, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Cant say i've got a problem with the tall fastie approach. Didnt it work for the Windies, who like us had an exception who was a shortie with sublime skill. Basically, the England ashes should have been Onions tour, doing a Philander for us in swinging conditions. Indeed I think we would have beat them easier if he had played, particularly those latter tests. So there was never any chance he'd go to Oz in my opinion. Regarding Woakes, Stokes, Kerrigan, Rankin, Ballance, Bairstow, I really dont mind England having a look at players as long as the door remains open for them in the future, we dont ever want to be in the position that Oz are in in that there was no one with any experience to fill the void when the stalwarts retire. Hopefully the experience of Swann, Tremlett and Bell should show the others to go away and tighten up. I like Carberry, I also like Compton, and I prefer Root at 6 but what you gonna do. I hope and think the strategy to enlarge the pool of players is a good one.

  • POSTED BY BRUTALANALYST on | September 23, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    I don't think Comton's absence is as big a shock as people are making out he didn't make 20 in his last 6 knocks for England 13, 2, 16, 15 , 1 and that incredibly painful 7 from 45 after England turned down the follow on v a young inexperienced Kiwi attack. Onions is the biggest shock but as ever with selections people have there favourites myself included you can't please everyone and at the end of the day it's the results for England that matter.

  • POSTED BY on | September 23, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    There is no way an attack of Anderson, Broad, Swann, Finn and Rankin would be more effective than one with Anderson, Broad, Swann, Onions and Chris "94+ mph unexpected bounce" Jordan. Just imagine what Chris Jordan might have done at the WACA...

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | September 23, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Regarding Tremlett, why cant a bowler be shown the same loyalty as a batsman, and once he is back to fitness, even though the form might not be there, he is brought back in the knowledge he has the (world) class. I only saw him play in the flesh once in a T20 against Tresco in his absolute prime, and Banger couldnt get him off the square, and thats good enough for me. Tremlett is AWESOME, if he's fit and 100% he deserves to be there, and should have played the Oval and should be our designated 3rd seamer. A fast bowler if he isnt taking wickets should be hard to score off and apply pressure (Broad 2009), and as far as I can see thats Tremlett and potentially Rankin all over. So happy days, and you've got to ask yourself who Oz would rather face on their tracks: Tremmers and Rankin or Bresnan, Onions and Woakes. Cant wait.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | September 23, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    I am wondering if Cook has any compassion at all for Australians and whether we are soon to witness the attack of 4 giants. Tastey in one respect but I am a swing and spin man too. Still it is a thought, tactcs that should make a chill run down all Australian's spine. He has the ruthless mentality to do it,maybe at Perth. It would have all the appeal of Roman Imperial circuses. Hutton might have done it. Lloyd did it. Will Cook? Probably he has too much respect for Anderson and Swann as his chief henchman, but if Plan A fails, who knows? Certainly Australia will be bombed. Our men may not have as much pace as Johnson mark 2-was he a new model!- but they are much larger. Were they to try that tactic of course it would be no use Finn spraying it around. They would have to bowl with total precision. Whatever he decides Cook has to be utterly ruthless and unpitying. I still remember watching Boon bat. It was not fun.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | September 23, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    England appear to be under the impression that all 5 Tests are at the WACA. Onions would add balance while Finn and especially Rankin & Tremlett are very similar. If Bresnan doesn't come up the lack of balanced options will magnify. You'd think an Irishman, a Zimbabwean & a Kiwi was the start of a joke but of course its the latest 'England' players.