Basil D’ Oliveira was chosen as one of the ten South African cricketers of the century despite not having played cricket for South Africa.The England- South Africa tests have been named after this inspirational cricketer.
Ive been looking forward to this series for a while now and can’t wait for the start. Normally I would have been supporting South Africa but the English test team has really impressed me of late. Not only because of the Ashes performance but players like Anderson and Broad have really come of age over the past year or so. Strauss has been scoring runs heavily. Jonathan Trott looked like a seasoned campaigner in his Ashes outing. Swann’s been really exciting and then theres KP..
Somehow my interest in T20 cricket has diminished like anything and theres been too much of the version in the last 18 months. Thank God theres a balanced dosage of test cricket.
Coming to the English squad, Luke Wright and Liam Plunkett have been surprise picks for me. If the selectors have omitted Harmison thinking about the Ashes down under next year, thats a poor decision. And I dont think Plunkett’s domestic performances can edge out Harmy’s current international form.I don’t see Luke Wright getting into the eleven. He should try and make this a big learning experience.I haven’t seen much of Steve Davies. What’s happened to Chris Read and James Foster? Onions and Sidebottom should fight for the third pacer’s slot unless they’re sure of a turning track and play Adil Rashid alongside Swann.
If I were the selector on tour, I would be in a huge dilemna. Can I play Prior at6 and Broad at 7?
I’d go for Trott at 6 and Prior at 7 right now but if the pitch is a little batsman friendly, it’s worth taking that risk. Flintoff’s retirement has surely created a vacuum there. The first test is at Centurion where it turns a bit and helps the batsmen. Its also early summer in South Africa and this decision is going to be very vital to England’s chances.
England are playing away from home and need to build up the confidence levels. They need big scores in the first test as it will be a tough task handling Steyn & co. at Durban in the second.
I thought Collingwood’s place was in real pressure due to the emergence of Trott but he seems to be in good batting form now. Both Bopara and Shah are out of the picture now and England shall handle these players well. They can’t afford to lose such talent.
Anderson provides the swing and that makes me pick Onions ahead of Sidebottom. Onions and Broad should polish off the tail quickly. I would let Broad bat ahead of Prior as Prior just seeems intent on displaying his charisma. He needs to work a lot on his temperament.
In the last few years,test bowlers have lost a lot of focus when it comes to finishing off the tail. Captains need to emphasise on this and not let opposition bowlers score runs and irritate them.
This will be my line up for the first test.
Something tells me they’ll go with 5 bowlers with Broad at 6.The axe would then fall on Bell.Sidebottom should be the extra bowler.
Or Adil Rashid? 2 spinners would be historic.