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Old 7th November 2016, 14:37   #1081
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Players make captains.
We did not draw in Bangladesh because of poor captaincy we lost because of p*ss poor batting AND the fact our spinners were totally out bowled - the dearth of spinners is not Cook's fault!
I'd blame it on selection more than I'd blame it on the spinners. In that last match we achieved a first-innings lead despite losing the toss, so it was really in the final two innings that the game was lost. England's collapse in the fourth innings was bad enough to see us lose almost regardless of the third innings; but nonetheless one might wonder what was going on in the third innings to see Bangladesh post the highest total of the match. There Woakes and Finn were our two most expensive bowlers and also they only bowled 5 overs between them, taking no wickets. If Batty had played instead of Finn then Bangladesh might not have set us such a stiff target. Who knows; but at the toss, when Finn was named in the team it was already vanishingly unlikely that he would be any use to the team at all. And Cook must surely take some responsibility for selection whilst on tour.
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Old 7th November 2016, 14:54   #1082
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Originally Posted by sanskritsimon View Post
I'd blame it on selection more than I'd blame it on the spinners. In that last match we achieved a first-innings lead despite losing the toss, so it was really in the final two innings that the game was lost. England's collapse in the fourth innings was bad enough to see us lose almost regardless of the third innings; but nonetheless one might wonder what was going on in the third innings to see Bangladesh post the highest total of the match. There Woakes and Finn were our two most expensive bowlers and also they only bowled 5 overs between them, taking no wickets. If Batty had played instead of Finn then Bangladesh might not have set us such a stiff target. Who knows; but at the toss, when Finn was named in the team it was already vanishingly unlikely that he would be any use to the team at all. And Cook must surely take some responsibility for selection whilst on tour.
Captain and coach make selections on away tours no ?

If Cook was pushing to blood other spinners beyond bang average Moeen he kept very quiet about it.

And his fields when the spinners were bowling are crap.

Apart from that he's blameless.
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Old 9th November 2016, 15:14   #1083
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Captain and coach make selections on away tours no ?

If Cook was pushing to blood other spinners beyond bang average Moeen he kept very quiet about it.

And his fields when the spinners were bowling are crap.

Apart from that he's blameless.
Jock if you ignore the decision to open with Ali in Pakistan, a clear disaster before it happened Moeen currently averages 39.5 with the bat and 38.6 with the ball. While nobody disputes Moeen is at the bottom end of a test spinner would you concede he is a decent test match batsman/fifth bowling option?
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Old 9th November 2016, 15:45   #1084
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Jock if you ignore the decision to open with Ali in Pakistan, a clear disaster before it happened Moeen currently averages 39.5 with the bat and 38.6 with the ball. While nobody disputes Moeen is at the bottom end of a test spinner would you concede he is a decent test match batsman/fifth bowling option?
Think he mentioned something along those lines on the other thread. Without quite going into the realms of "decent fifth bowling option" but something like "passable second spinner" which is pretty high praise indeed.
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Old 9th November 2016, 16:17   #1085
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Jock if you ignore the decision to open with Ali in Pakistan, a clear disaster before it happened Moeen currently averages 39.5 with the bat and 38.6 with the ball. While nobody disputes Moeen is at the bottom end of a test spinner would you concede he is a decent test match batsman/fifth bowling option?
I'm not sure I would want to ignore Moeen's efforts in the UAE. I thought he started off well in that series with the bat, and I don't know what went wrong there, really. The thing is that if you discount that series, he hasn't batted in the top six much. I hope England persist with him at no. 5, but despite his various fine innings down the order I think he has yet to prove that he can hold down a regular place in the top six. However, as long as he is picked as the main spinner in home tests and as one of the several we generally need in away tests, there's no need for him to be pickable as a batsman, so the question of whether he could hold down a place as a batsman can't really arise. The test will only come if and when England start regularly picking someone other than Moeen as their main spinner.
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Old 9th November 2016, 16:28   #1086
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I'm not sure I would want to ignore Moeen's efforts in the UAE. I thought he started off well in that series with the bat, and I don't know what went wrong there, really. The thing is that if you discount that series, he hasn't batted in the top six much. I hope England persist with him at no. 5, but despite his various fine innings down the order I think he has yet to prove that he can hold down a regular place in the top six. However, as long as he is picked as the main spinner in home tests and as one of the several we generally need in away tests, there's no need for him to be pickable as a batsman, so the question of whether he could hold down a place as a batsman can't really arise. The test will only come if and when England start regularly picking someone other than Moeen as their main spinner.
He was crap with the bat in UAE as you could have predicted from a player who had never opened in first class cricket and was rarely used as a frontline bowler when he batted top 4 for his county. The thought that someone expected to bowl20 overs a day would be abale to open the batting is simply bizarre and I still can't believe this was allowed to happen.
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Old 9th November 2016, 17:07   #1087
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I'm not sure I would want to ignore Moeen's efforts in the UAE. I thought he started off well in that series with the bat, and I don't know what went wrong there, really. The thing is that if you discount that series, he hasn't batted in the top six much. I hope England persist with him at no. 5, but despite his various fine innings down the order I think he has yet to prove that he can hold down a regular place in the top six. However, as long as he is picked as the main spinner in home tests and as one of the several we generally need in away tests, there's no need for him to be pickable as a batsman, so the question of whether he could hold down a place as a batsman can't really arise. The test will only come if and when England start regularly picking someone other than Moeen as their main spinner.
My gut reaction is he definitely isn't a top 4 batsman. I'm not 100 percent certain he's a number 5 as he can be very loose early in his innings, although the bits I got to watch over my lunch break this did seem quite a mature innings. I think he's a pretty good 6 or 7, which is where 5th bowlers have traditionally batted. The decision to use him as an opener remains the strangest decision I have seen as he doesn't remotely bat like an opener. I still wonder if they initially planned to use Ansari as an opener when they first picked the squad last year.

At the present moment I'd guess the mythical world class spinner is probably more in competition with the seamers for the 4th bowling spot, unless Ali's bats very badly for the remainder of the winter. There remains a big opportunity for Rashid and Ansari to still push for a regular place in the team as I'm sure the management would like a reliable leg spinner or left armer in the squad for most tests.
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Old 9th November 2016, 17:34   #1088
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I'm not sure I would want to ignore Moeen's efforts in the UAE. I thought he started off well in that series with the bat, and I don't know what went wrong there, really. The thing is that if you discount that series, he hasn't batted in the top six much. I hope England persist with him at no. 5, but despite his various fine innings down the order I think he has yet to prove that he can hold down a regular place in the top six. However, as long as he is picked as the main spinner in home tests and as one of the several we generally need in away tests, there's no need for him to be pickable as a batsman, so the question of whether he could hold down a place as a batsman can't really arise. The test will only come if and when England start regularly picking someone other than Moeen as their main spinner.
If we're discounting that series then this is his 13th test out of 30 where he's been in the top six, I believe. If we include it then he's been in the top six half of his tests - unless we're excluding that one game vs Sri Lanka when we had a NWM in one innings. Hardly insignificant, I'd say.
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Old 9th November 2016, 18:19   #1089
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If we're discounting that series then this is his 13th test out of 30 where he's been in the top six, I believe. If we include it then he's been in the top six half of his tests - unless we're excluding that one game vs Sri Lanka when we had a NWM in one innings. Hardly insignificant, I'd say.
I don't know the figures but I think that his stats in different positions are very high at 7 and not so good in other positions. There is a post somewhere on here where someone did post his average in every position except 7 to support dropping him ... so my guess is his average at 7 could be as high as 60. His average at 6 and 8 wasnt that good. As most teams now expect runs from 7 my personal view is it is still a position in the team where a batting contribution is expected. His average at 6 looks a lot better if you include his first century, when he was in the team at 6 but we used a night watchman.

If he does make a real go of 5 this winter it will be interesting to see where England go next summer. Outside London 4 seamers and Mo generally seems enough. So do they bring in another batsman? If they do its almost a vote of no confidence playing them after the all rounders. As Stokes is average at anywhere but 6 and Bairstow is probably the best number 7 in test cricket that could mean Ali dropping all the was back to 8, or a specialist batsman at 8 in some tests.
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Old 9th November 2016, 19:36   #1090
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Averages including this inngings
1/2: 14
5: 47.75 (including this inngings)
6: 21.00
7th: 87.85
8th: 28.06
9th: 37.50

The problem is all three of Ali,Stokes and Bairstow really look like #6 or #7 batsman at the moment, with our lack of test quality specialist batsman moving one of them to #5 seems sensible and as Bairstow only averages 24.7 at 5 compared to 45 and 44 at 6 and 7 then it makes sense to give Ali a go there especially as IMO he's the best player of spin out of the three. It also helps that Woakes looks like a good #8 at test level.

If those three play well in those positions for the rest of the winter and one of the spinners plays well then with all our test matches being in the mid to late summer next year unless a batsman really performs extremely well in county cricket FC (that would be difficult with the schedule putting the domestic one day stuff at the beginning of the season) I don't see an issue with trying two spinners at home with Ali/Stokes/Bairstow/Woakes at 5/6/7/8.
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Old 9th November 2016, 19:43   #1091
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... Outside London 4 seamers and Mo generally seems enough. So do they bring in another batsman? If they do its almost a vote of no confidence playing them after the all rounders. ...
Outside London 3 seamers and Mo would probably be enough too, or 3 seamers and another spinner too. Unless you think it's illegal to play two spinners if you can get away with one. I remain of the opinion that a 4th seamer is generally a waste of a space. I also think that with so many all-rounders it has to be an option to play a specialist batsman -- e.g. Billings -- as low as 8. There are spare spots in the order and at present we're using them in a rather unimaginative manner. Playing Finn last summer didn't do him any favours. Almost every over he bowled would have been better bowled by someone else already in the team, and the batting was unnecessarily weak despite the all-rounders.
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Old 10th November 2016, 03:19   #1092
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Averages including this inngings
1/2: 14
5: 47.75 (including this inngings)
6: 21.00
7th: 87.85
8th: 28.06
9th: 37.50

The problem is all three of Ali,Stokes and Bairstow really look like #6 or #7 batsman at the moment, with our lack of test quality specialist batsman moving one of them to #5 seems sensible and as Bairstow only averages 24.7 at 5 compared to 45 and 44 at 6 and 7 then it makes sense to give Ali a go there especially as IMO he's the best player of spin out of the three. It also helps that Woakes looks like a good #8 at test level.

If those three play well in those positions for the rest of the winter and one of the spinners plays well then with all our test matches being in the mid to late summer next year unless a batsman really performs extremely well in county cricket FC (that would be difficult with the schedule putting the domestic one day stuff at the beginning of the season) I don't see an issue with trying two spinners at home with Ali/Stokes/Bairstow/Woakes at 5/6/7/8.
So he's Bradman at 7. As Cook was very much 1 and Ali 2 .... maybe he's best at odd numbers. I'd agree the problem with the 3 is they are all natural 6s and 7s.
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Old 10th November 2016, 04:11   #1093
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So he's Bradman at 7. As Cook was very much 1 and Ali 2 .... maybe he's best at odd numbers. I'd agree the problem with the 3 is they are all natural 6s and 7s.
Indeed maybe Bairstow isn't the best #7 in the world :-)
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Old 10th November 2016, 06:01   #1094
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Ali's overall test match record with the bat is now pretty handy, especially for an all-rounder. I think a test for him will be whether or not he'll make it as a no.5 v the pace attacks, and not the spin based attacks that he is facing this winter. I've been supportive of him playing at no.5 in Asia and am glad that he's so far had a good time of it (a 50 in the Bangla bunsen was not that mean a feat either). South Africa next year at home and Australia away, I'd been less convinced about his batting in the upper order.
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Old 10th November 2016, 06:28   #1095
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Ali's overall test match record with the bat is now pretty handy, especially for an all-rounder. I think a test for him will be whether or not he'll make it as a no.5 v the pace attacks, and not the spin based attacks that he is facing this winter. I've been supportive of him playing at no.5 in Asia and am glad that he's so far had a good time of it (a 50 in the Bangla bunsen was not that mean a feat either). South Africa next year at home and Australia away, I'd been less convinced about his batting in the upper order.
That's my thoughts, although Pakistan do have a decent seam attack. I actually thought his 60 in the last test in South Africa was his best innings was his best test innings because Rabada really worked him over and he actually took it really well. Prior to that I'd felt he was a bit of a fair weather batsman against the quicks. I think Rabada felt the same thing as he was really quick and hostile at the start of the innings.
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Old 10th November 2016, 14:54   #1096
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Ali's overall test match record with the bat is now pretty handy, especially for an all-rounder. I think a test for him will be whether or not he'll make it as a no.5 v the pace attacks, and not the spin based attacks that he is facing this winter. I've been supportive of him playing at no.5 in Asia and am glad that he's so far had a good time of it (a 50 in the Bangla bunsen was not that mean a feat either). South Africa next year at home and Australia away, I'd been less convinced about his batting in the upper order.
I'm expecting he will swap places with YJB back in England.
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Old 10th November 2016, 14:56   #1097
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Outside London 3 seamers and Mo would probably be enough too, or 3 seamers and another spinner too. Unless you think it's illegal to play two spinners if you can get away with one. I remain of the opinion that a 4th seamer is generally a waste of a space. I also think that with so many all-rounders it has to be an option to play a specialist batsman -- e.g. Billings -- as low as 8. There are spare spots in the order and at present we're using them in a rather unimaginative manner. Playing Finn last summer didn't do him any favours. Almost every over he bowled would have been better bowled by someone else already in the team, and the batting was unnecessarily weak despite the all-rounders.
Early season games in England a spinner just isn't going to do a lot outside of London. I'm not sure Finn was a good pick at all last summer, certainly with hindsight Ball would have been a better option. A really high quality spinner would get in my side regardless and in general I'd want my best spinner in the team for most tests - although the evidence from this winter so far from 2 tests and a few overs is that he is already in the team and batting at 5. If Ali maintains his form with the bat and Leach tours well and starts the season well it certainly opens a spot to have a good look at him over the summer. Its also a massive incentive for Rashid and Ansari for the next 4 and a half tests to show they are worth a longer look. I f you look from 5 onwards there are quite a few players who are pretty secure in the team for the start of the summer: 5 Ali, 6 Stokes, 7 Bairstow, 8 Woakes 9 ? , 10 Broad and 11 Anderson.

The options for the 9 spot are either an extra batsman (probably with some adjustment to the batting order) or someone who spins it the other way to Ali. As things stand at the moment I'd probably be looking at bringing Leach in, but a lot can happen between now and May.
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Old 14th November 2016, 08:53   #1098
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Can we give positive marks to all 3 spinners for the game just gone? Rashid's best test performance by far so far (albeit some might say that wasn't exactly difficult!), a decent performance from Mo, who might have got a couple more wickets with a bit of luck, and similarly so from Ansari up to a point, though he clearly has a fair bit to learn.
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Old 14th November 2016, 17:37   #1099
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From what I've seen of Ansari he's no worse than Mo was after two tests and a long way ahead of Rashid.

Didn't Swann and Monty begin their career on recent India tours? Both were competent without setting the world alight. I know he debuted in Bangladesh, but let's hope it's a similar start to an equally productive career for Zafar.
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Old 14th November 2016, 22:05   #1100
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Can we give positive marks to all 3 spinners for the game just gone? Rashid's best test performance by far so far (albeit some might say that wasn't exactly difficult!), a decent performance from Mo, who might have got a couple more wickets with a bit of luck, and similarly so from Ansari up to a point, though he clearly has a fair bit to learn.
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From what I've seen of Ansari he's no worse than Mo was after two tests and a long way ahead of Rashid.

Didn't Swann and Monty begin their career on recent India tours? Both were competent without setting the world alight. I know he debuted in Bangladesh, but let's hope it's a similar start to an equally productive career for Zafar.
I've actually been a bit disappointed by what I've seen of Zafar so far, especially on the final day in Rajkot. His action is pretty horrible and I would imagine it makes bowling accurate rather more difficult than might otherwise by the case. I've also seen next to nothing by way of guile either. There's simply no way that he is a better bowler than Leach.
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