Preparing For The Proteas

24 07 2008

With the third test against South Africa looming England have some decisions to make and the rumour mill is already in full flow. The first thing to get out of the way, however, is that despite it being a major error of judgement, the selection of Darren Pattinson alone simply does not explain why England were outplayed as a team over the entire five days of the second test, as they clearly were.

Senior players need to now stand up and be counted. Players like Strauss, Vaughan, Bell and Pietersen, who all failed at Headingly, must now lead by example. If the selection of Pattinson did hurt England it was in depriving them of two of their leaders. A decision had been made to drop one senior player (Collingwood) for another (Flintoff) but once it was clear they’d be without Sidebottom too, Collingwood should have been retained.

The main rumour seems to be that Broad is to be rested. If it’s actually to rest him, then it’s a good decision but if he’s being dropped it’s madness, as he’s batting better than the top six. Paul Collingwood has to be the man who comes in. Pattinson, must surely make way for Harmison, Hoggard or Simon Jones, an international quality bowler.

Tim Ambrose’s position is a tough one. His glovework is better than Prior’s and that has to be paramount but he is not scoring enough runs right now. With no Broad in the side even if Collingwood were recalled the batting would still look frail, as neither Colly nor Fred nor Ambrose looks in good touch. Could it be time for James Foster to return?

Whatever happens England must improve. And fast. The Proteas look deadly.



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