18 November 2012

England can play Patel AND Panesar

What's your views on the balance of the England side?   It's interesting to see that today, the majority of wickets fell to medium pacers, although of course that's not accounting for the "real" wickets as some that were out were given not out, and some that were not out were given out.
In retrospect I'd have picked Panesar, but I can see why England picked Bresnan given that the ball has been reverse swinging a lot in the warm up games.   The other factors to take into account is that just because England's top order look pretty inept against spin, doesn't mean that England's spinners will automatically take lots of wickets - the Indian batsmen are sadly far better at playing spin so Panesar won't necessarily run throgh them. And of course, Bresnan can bat and his batting could yet prove crucial if England are to pull off a miraculous escape on day 5.
Having picked the side they picked, what really disappointed me was the lack of bowling Cook gave Patel on day 1.   (Yes, I know it's not the done thing to criticise Cook, sorry!).   Patel and Swann have sometimes bowled together brilliantly for Nottinghamshire, and it would have been great to see them in tandem far more - Patel will bowl bad balls but he's proven he can also bowl some great ones.   He may be inferior to Panesar but he's still well worth a long bowl in those conditions.
Patel's in danger of losing his chance for England and I feel very sorry for him.   He's the right man for number 6 in India in my opinion (as he's a far better player of spin than Bairstow and Morgan) irrespective of his bowling.   But he's been unlucky on several counts - he's had some shocking LBW decisions (including one in the first innings in his favour when he should have been given), he's starting to get negative press purely because he's seen by some as keeping Panesar out of the side (compare his press with, for example Bairstow when he came into the side and the commentators raved about his classy 16 on debut), and of course Patel hasn't played a home Test yet. Readers of Cricket Burble may remember that it's been statistically proven you're less likely to succeed as a player if you make your debut away.
Assuming the wicket is much the same as this one for the next Test, I'd want Panesar in the side, but I wouldn't be dropping Patel.   My preference would be to drop Broad for Panesar (which means that Broad will now take 5 for because every time he's gone a few games without doing anything that seems to happen!), and England would then need to select between Anderson and Finn.   The alternative would be to bat Prior and Patel and 5 and 6 (who goes in first doesn't really matter to me but I'm not sure I agree with those wanting Prior up the order - given England's top order batting if he bats 5 he'll be in within a few overs which won't be helpful if he's been keeping for 5 sessions).   I'd like to keep Bresnan in the side in that scenario because he's an excellent reverse swing bowler, and of course he's the only bowler who tries to bat properly.
It will be interesting to see what happens if England can get through the first session tomorrow without a wicket falling - a huge ask, but if they could it may be an exciting Test match.   With Sehwag opening and the likes of Kohli, Yuvraj and Dhoni in the Indian side they can easily chase down 200 in a session, so it's crucial England are still batting at tea if they want to pull off a miracle draw.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As things stand England need to play 8 batsmen including Prior and have one medium pacer, Swann, Panesar, Patel and Pietersen to bowl the overs.