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Old 8th April 2016, 22:17   #61
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Warne got picked on the basis of his Australia B performances and had hardly played any shield cricket. He'd spent more time playing cricket in the Lancashire League than for Victoria - although he also played high grade club cricket in Melbourne. His early career pretty much went Aussie rules football, Australia Cricket Academy and Australian Club Cricket, Accrington, Aussie B, Aussie A. He took a bag of wickets in England at Accrington on pretty seamer friendly conditions. You can read that one of two ways, if you've got control and can turn the ball (makes you a pretty rare spinner) you will come through and make the grade if you are good enough, or you need to take a risk on more young spinners and they'll come good. Warne was fast tracked through the Aussie system partly because they felt that he might have a rare talent and the fact they still haven't replaced him shows its not an easy task to find a real high quality spinner, they'd been trying to replace Richie Benaud for about 30 years when Warne came along. His early career was pretty well planned through and he wasn't just chucked in to the first 11 without following a bit of a plan, although I think it probably ended up happening 12 months more quickly than Australia planned.

Maybe the lesson for English spinners is get them playing in the more competitive club leagues, rather than festering on the outfield not bowling many overs for the first or second 11. I think too many of our players are coming through over coached and under bowled with very little competitive game time experience.
Yes, I think that's a valid point. I've suspected for some time now that comparing the CC to the Shield in terms of training potential has been a bit misplaced, and that it's what goes on before that stage that might be more significant. McGrath and Healy are two others who played a bare handful of Shield games before being thrust into Test cricket and very rapidly looking the business.
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Old 8th April 2016, 22:30   #62
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Yes, I think that's a valid point. I've suspected for some time now that comparing the CC to the Shield in terms of training potential has been a bit misplaced, and that it's what goes on before that stage that might be more significant. McGrath and Healy are two others who played a bare handful of Shield games before being thrust into Test cricket and very rapidly looking the business.
Club cricket in Australia is pretty competitive - although Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Kent, Lancashire have some pretty tough league cricket. Maybe young spinners could be sponsored of funded to play higher level club cricket for a year or 2 just to get overs bowled and experience in different conditions. Maybe even 12 months of minor counties cricket would help them get bowling time.
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Old 9th April 2016, 15:21   #63
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Using Kerrigan as an example of players deserving extended chances does seem odd, for me the experience of playing him when clearly not ready for the step up in quality knocked the player back 4 or 5 years in his development.
Kerrigan was given one spell in which he looked out of his depth, although during his career there have been times where Ali has looked out of depth and has bowled expensive spells without posing much of a threat. Ali continued in the Test side because of his hundred in the losing effort against Sri Lanka, if he had not achieved this then I doubt he would have been picked for the series against India. So in this respect its easier for an all rounder to get a prolonged spell in the team, as they effectively have four chances in a match to impress. As for Kerrigan continuing to develop, he had been one of he best spinners in the Championship for a prolonged period of time and had been instrumental in Lancashire winning the championship, I'm not sure he could have developed much more without being put up against better players. The fact remains the England selectors thought Kerrigan was good enough to play, but less than 20 overs later they deemed he was no longer good enough. Everyone has bad spells, and unfortunately for Kerrigan his first spell was.
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Old 9th April 2016, 16:38   #64
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Kerrigan was given one spell in which he looked out of his depth, although during his career there have been times where Ali has looked out of depth and has bowled expensive spells without posing much of a threat. Ali continued in the Test side because of his hundred in the losing effort against Sri Lanka, if he had not achieved this then I doubt he would have been picked for the series against India. So in this respect its easier for an all rounder to get a prolonged spell in the team, as they effectively have four chances in a match to impress. As for Kerrigan continuing to develop, he had been one of he best spinners in the Championship for a prolonged period of time and had been instrumental in Lancashire winning the championship, I'm not sure he could have developed much more without being put up against better players. The fact remains the England selectors thought Kerrigan was good enough to play, but less than 20 overs later they deemed he was no longer good enough. Everyone has bad spells, and unfortunately for Kerrigan his first spell was.
I'd agree its a lot easier for Ali to get in to the team as a 5th bowler. England have made a decision to go down the 4 seamers route with a 5th bowler to bowl 10, maybe 15 overs a day. I suspect that is Kerrigan has a good season he will probably go to India as a first choice spinner. The problem a specialist spinner faces at the moment is they need to be seen as more of a threat than the seamers, otherwise even if selected they still aren't going to bowl a lot of overs. If a spinner really comes to the party in India it will be interesting to see if England follow the rest of the world and go for a spinner and 3 seamers, or revert to 4 seamers and a bit part spinner who can make some runs in the UK.
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Old 9th April 2016, 17:03   #65
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Kerrigan picked up lots of wickets in division 2, but struggled every time Lancashire were promoted. If I recall, Ali's and Kerrigan's record when both counties were in division 1 are pretty similar.
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Old 9th April 2016, 17:05   #66
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Kerrigan was given one spell in which he looked out of his depth, although during his career there have been times where Ali has looked out of depth and has bowled expensive spells without posing much of a threat. Ali continued in the Test side because of his hundred in the losing effort against Sri Lanka, if he had not achieved this then I doubt he would have been picked for the series against India. So in this respect its easier for an all rounder to get a prolonged spell in the team, as they effectively have four chances in a match to impress. As for Kerrigan continuing to develop, he had been one of he best spinners in the Championship for a prolonged period of time and had been instrumental in Lancashire winning the championship, I'm not sure he could have developed much more without being put up against better players. The fact remains the England selectors thought Kerrigan was good enough to play, but less than 20 overs later they deemed he was no longer good enough. Everyone has bad spells, and unfortunately for Kerrigan his first spell was.
I agree that Ali has had some bad spells, but the Kerrigan spell was 3rd Xl club cricket at best. Management clearly think that he hasn't got the head for it. Speaking as someone who was at that game, he looked like a school boy cricketer who'd be invited to field. He was really timid and quiet in the field, and at times looked confused. I think Shane Watson and co sensed that and decided to saw him apart.
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Old 10th April 2016, 07:47   #67
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I agree that Ali has had some bad spells, but the Kerrigan spell was 3rd Xl club cricket at best. Management clearly think that he hasn't got the head for it. Speaking as someone who was at that game, he looked like a school boy cricketer who'd be invited to field. He was really timid and quiet in the field, and at times looked confused. I think Shane Watson and co sensed that and decided to saw him apart.
And how many years ago was this? You can't hold one bad spell against a player forever.
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Old 10th April 2016, 08:09   #68
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And how many years ago was this? You can't hold one bad spell against a player forever.
I was at that game too and it was a little over 2 and half years ago. His basic bowling action fell apart that day as his run up drive through the crease all faltered. I can't recall which pro/ex-pro said it but they pointed out and said that having watched him bowl they felt he did not have an action that repeated and was therefore not surprised that it didn't work out for him.

Of course some time has elapsed but he hasn't been uber successful since then so he's been out of the picture. Any spinner who has a good season will come under the England microscope but unless they really have something about them I can't see the selectors really being that keen to change from what England currently has.
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Old 10th April 2016, 08:40   #69
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I was at that game too and it was a little over 2 and half years ago. His basic bowling action fell apart that day as his run up drive through the crease all faltered. I can't recall which pro/ex-pro said it but they pointed out and said that having watched him bowl they felt he did not have an action that repeated and was therefore not surprised that it didn't work out for him.

Of course some time has elapsed but he hasn't been uber successful since then so he's been out of the picture. Any spinner who has a good season will come under the England microscope but unless they really have something about them I can't see the selectors really being that keen to change from what England currently has.
He was also recalled the year later and expected by some to replace Ali, but eventually was dropped.
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Old 10th April 2016, 08:56   #70
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People readily overlook the pitch in Liverpool when he got his wickets. The fact is that in that test he looked like a competition winner. It was painful to watch.

Let's hope that a brilliant spin bowler emerges so the debate about a specialist spin bowler replacing Mo could be based on real life rather than imaginary scenario.
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Old 10th April 2016, 09:35   #71
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... England have made a decision to go down the 4 seamers route with a 5th bowler to bowl 10, maybe 15 overs a day. ...
That's certainly how it looks, but really the main decision they've made is to play one of their bowlers in a batting position and so have five bowlers. They had Mo in the top six at first, but now it's Stokes. But that doesn't mean they need to play four seamers. On most UK test pitches the fourth seamer is overkill, and they have the option of instead playing a balanced attack with two spinners. When Finn and Wood are both injured -- which seems likely to be usually -- I would be happy to select Broad, Anderson, Stokes, Tredwell, and Rashid.
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Old 10th April 2016, 10:59   #72
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And how many years ago was this? You can't hold one bad spell against a player forever.
It doesn't matter when his issue is psychological. Nasser always talks about Alex Tudor not being mentally right for test cricket, and I reckon the selectors have just made an outright decision about Kerrigan.
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Old 10th April 2016, 11:06   #73
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It doesn't matter when his issue is psychological. Nasser always talks about Alex Tudor not being mentally right for test cricket, and I reckon the selectors have just made an outright decision about Kerrigan.
This isn't the case because he was called up about a year later and was expected to play against India, until Mo returned the best figures of his career. Stokes had a nightmare spell against the Windies, does he not have the right mentality for Test cricket. If everybody who bowls a bad spell doesn't have the mentality for Test cricket, then I can't think of a bowler who could claim to possess the psychological skills needed to thrive in the game. If Kerrigan had bowled in more than one innings and had choked in every spell, this would be a fairer assessment.
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Old 10th April 2016, 12:42   #74
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Lol. We don't have one spin bowler who would play if he could not bat and suddenly someone suggests we play TWO amazing scenes.
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Old 10th April 2016, 14:56   #75
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That's certainly how it looks, but really the main decision they've made is to play one of their bowlers in a batting position and so have five bowlers. They had Mo in the top six at first, but now it's Stokes. But that doesn't mean they need to play four seamers. On most UK test pitches the fourth seamer is overkill, and they have the option of instead playing a balanced attack with two spinners. When Finn and Wood are both injured -- which seems likely to be usually -- I would be happy to select Broad, Anderson, Stokes, Tredwell, and Rashid.
The history of England spinners is most average high 30s or low 40s. England seamers average high 20s or low 30s. In India fair enough but why in a home test series would you want to force yourself to bowl 30 plus overs of spin every day. The only English spinners I can remember who played a serious number of tests and averaged less than 35 are Monty, Swann and Underwood. If we had 2 decent spinners there are occasional Oval and Lords wickets where it is a viable option. Picking 2 average spinners means giving away an extra 100 runs an innings.
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Old 10th April 2016, 16:18   #76
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That's certainly how it looks, but really the main decision they've made is to play one of their bowlers in a batting position and so have five bowlers. They had Mo in the top six at first, but now it's Stokes. But that doesn't mean they need to play four seamers. On most UK test pitches the fourth seamer is overkill, and they have the option of instead playing a balanced attack with two spinners. When Finn and Wood are both injured -- which seems likely to be usually -- I would be happy to select Broad, Anderson, Stokes, Tredwell, and Rashid.
Really? I'd be vomiting with misery at selecting those spin bowlers. I can just about see a hope over expectation case for Rashid ahead of Ali, although it really wouldn't be based on more than the world of theory where a Yorkshire player who has a googly has to be more threatening than a Southerner who only turns it one way, as from what we've seen in international cricket so far Rashid seems to be a more threatening spinner only in the sense that he's even more expensive than Ali, not in the actually taking more wickets conventional definition. I can't see any meaningful case for Tredwell that isn't based on an absurdly small sample size, especially for cricket in England. There are reasons why he's not an automatic county starter, aside from the (reasonable enough) ones you cite about non batting spinners getting a chance in county cricket.
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Old 10th April 2016, 20:38   #77
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The history of England spinners is most average high 30s or low 40s. England seamers average high 20s or low 30s. In India fair enough but why in a home test series would you want to force yourself to bowl 30 plus overs of spin every day. The only English spinners I can remember who played a serious number of tests and averaged less than 35 are Monty, Swann and Underwood. If we had 2 decent spinners there are occasional Oval and Lords wickets where it is a viable option. Picking 2 average spinners means giving away an extra 100 runs an innings.
I don't know where that last figure comes from. You certainly wouldn't pick two spinners if you thought that would be the result.

Picking two spinners would depend on the individual pitch, and on who the seamer is who'd be left out; but as far as this summer is concerned, I'm not sure that if Finn and Wood were injured (or Anderson dumped) the options for a third specialist seamer are particularly attractive. Jordan was picked for a while but excelled only at fielding; Plunkett wasn't retained; Footitt didn't get into the team when he might have; Woakes who was preferred to him seems toothless; and so whoever you pick, you might expect Stokes to play the role of third seamer.

One basic point is that having Stokes in the team gives various options for the make-up of the bowling attack. Another basic point, as far as this particular thread is concerned, is that test cricket is a special case, because it has day five pitches, and pitches that are deliberately built to last five days, and the UDRS, and so spinners stand to be a rather different kind of thing in test cricket as opposed to in championship cricket. That's one of the reasons why the championship isn't doing a very good job of supplying the test side with the spinners it needs of late.

Regarding your metric for distributing 90 overs between the bowlers and thinking in days: it should be remembered that bowling is often something that a team will start doing some fraction of the way through the day, and also that unless a reasonable portion of the day's overs are bowled by a spinner, the chances of a 90 over day are quite remote. In some ways, England's current policy might rely on the authorities not taking serious steps to ensure proper maintenance of over-rates.
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Old 11th April 2016, 09:31   #78
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Let's hope that a brilliant spin bowler emerges so the debate about a specialist spin bowler replacing Mo could be based on real life rather than imaginary scenario.
Ali could be replaced by a mediocre one if he were at least as good a batsman.

In the meantime, of course, we have a spinner far more threatening and probably as good a batsman who, hopefully, will get an extended run in the form of the game most suited to him.
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Old 11th April 2016, 14:46   #79
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I don't know where that last figure comes from. You certainly wouldn't pick two spinners if you thought that would be the result.

Picking two spinners would depend on the individual pitch, and on who the seamer is who'd be left out; but as far as this summer is concerned, I'm not sure that if Finn and Wood were injured (or Anderson dumped) the options for a third specialist seamer are particularly attractive. Jordan was picked for a while but excelled only at fielding; Plunkett wasn't retained; Footitt didn't get into the team when he might have; Woakes who was preferred to him seems toothless; and so whoever you pick, you might expect Stokes to play the role of third seamer.

One basic point is that having Stokes in the team gives various options for the make-up of the bowling attack. Another basic point, as far as this particular thread is concerned, is that test cricket is a special case, because it has day five pitches, and pitches that are deliberately built to last five days, and the UDRS, and so spinners stand to be a rather different kind of thing in test cricket as opposed to in championship cricket. That's one of the reasons why the championship isn't doing a very good job of supplying the test side with the spinners it needs of late.

Regarding your metric for distributing 90 overs between the bowlers and thinking in days: it should be remembered that bowling is often something that a team will start doing some fraction of the way through the day, and also that unless a reasonable portion of the day's overs are bowled by a spinner, the chances of a 90 over day are quite remote. In some ways, England's current policy might rely on the authorities not taking serious steps to ensure proper maintenance of over-rates.
I'd agree Stokes does give an option of picking 2 spinners and it wouldn't surprise me if we try and get 3 seamers and 3 spinners in the team in India. On most wickets the traditional balanced attack isn't that relevant since the demise of uncovered wickets and teams have a pretty good idea of how a pitch will play out. The advent of reverse swing has also played against this as on dry pitches a seamer who can reverse it remains a threat during the traditional spin time of 40 - 80 overs.

While I agree that teams rarely bowl 90 overs in a day they have to plan to bowl first and for a first innings to go over in to a second day, so when selecting bowlers you need to have enough overs in the team to cover it. To a degree it actually lessens the importance of a fifth bowler as if you bowl second you can probably get by with just 4 seamers, if that's the way you've decided to go.

I don't see there being a big spin conundrum this summer - you send out your team to win 2 series in England conditions with the players most suited to win. The conundrum is India. My guess is the selectors are praying Stokes and Ali both average 30 plus with the bat over the summer, Ansari moves up a level to division 1 and proves a decent spin and batting option. Then they can play Anderson, Broad, Stokes, Ali, Ansari and have a 3rd spinner in a specialist bowler slot. Who that third spinner would be is anyones guess, although Rashid would be in pole position. If they feel they need to strengthen the batting (which also relies on finding a no 2, 3 and 5 batsman) because Ali or Stokes aren't performing and no county spinner really stands up to be selected I've no idea how the side could finish up.
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Old 11th April 2016, 15:14   #80
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Ali could be replaced by a mediocre one if he were at least as good a batsman.

In the meantime, of course, we have a spinner far more threatening and probably as good a batsman who, hopefully, will get an extended run in the form of the game most suited to him.
Overs Runs Wickets Ave Econ Top 6 wkts
MA 107 438 9 48.67 4.08 7
AR 136.5 556 8 69.5 4.06 3

Guess the selectors will have a tough choice picking the mediocre spinner this summer.
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