Monday, June 05, 2006

The England selectors get it wrong

Only a week ago I wrote to congratulate the England selectors for consistently making the braver choice this summer when faced with a dilemma. This time they did not do that and we lost the test.

You can hardly blame Jon Lewis for that defeat. His performance was at the upper end of what we could have expected from him. He took wickets against inexperienced batsmen in helpful conditions in Sri Lanka's first innings. In their second he was tidy without being threatening.

But if Sajid Mahmood is the bowler we hope he is - able to reverse swing the ball at speed on dry pitches - then he would have been invaluable in the second innings. We still don't really know if he is that bowler, but how are we going to find out if we do not play him?

Before this test the question we were faced with was whether we should pick Mahmood or Plunkett as the fourth seamer if Simon Jones is not fit for the first test against Pakistan (or even the Ashes tour this winter). We are little nearer to knowing the answer tonight.

If tests this early in the season are hear to stay, I suppose there is an argument for picking specialist seamers to exploit the conditions. Martin Bicknell and James Kirtley were too canny for the younger South African batsmen three summers ago.

Yet Jon Lewis will surely not be picked to go to Australia this winter and is not a youngster who might one day replace Matthew Hoggard. Therefore, even if we had won this last test and he had bowled brilliantly, it is hard to see what his selection would have proved.

1 comment:

Peter Pigeon said...

Maybe - but Sajid has not exploited second-innings wickets so far. Plunkett was very disappointing for most of this Test.