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Old 21st January 2016, 09:34   #121
geoff_boycotts_grandmother
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I remember his role in the beating of Windies well and was at that famous "4 innings in a day" at Lord's but it really was a very small period that he was that good. By the end of the Sri Lanka tour he barely bowled with anything like the same speed and ended up batting from fine leg against Dizzy and Brett Lee in the 2001 Ashes. I think for a time he registered the quickest ever speed for an England bowler, 97mph.
It was a short peak, but same's true for England greats Flintoff, Vaughan, Simon Jones and from further back Larwood, Tyson, Voce etc
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Old 21st January 2016, 09:57   #122
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What I am saying is that for many reasons jock's obsession is bizarre.

.
I care about the England team and spin bowling. I'm sure some Alan Knott fans had a similar whinge regarding wicketkeeping - but to me spin bowling is a bigger factor. Many tests matches in the last couple of years have been drawn because we failed to have a spinner who could unlock the gate and rip through a side.

"Swann will tear you apart again" is now "Mo will hold down an end at 4 an over until Broad's had a rest.."

As for the nonsense that "there isn't anyone else" - that didn't keep Bell, Lyth, Compton (1st time around) Buttler, Ballance, Morgan, Carberry etc in the team - they didn't perform to a standard - they got dropped - yet in the spin department we persist for 20+ tests with at best mediocrity.
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Old 21st January 2016, 10:32   #123
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As for the nonsense that "there isn't anyone else" - that didn't keep Bell, Lyth, Compton (1st time around) Buttler, Ballance, Morgan, Carberry etc in the team - they didn't perform to a standard - they got dropped - yet in the spin department we persist for 20+ tests with at best mediocrity.
This is a good point. There's nothing to suggest Hales would be a better Test player than Lyth, but because Lyth didn't perform he was replaced by Lyth. Is Compton better than Bell? No, but Bell was out of form and so Compton was bought in. Somebody can't be guarenteed a place in the side just because there are no obvious replacements.
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Old 21st January 2016, 10:44   #124
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The rule of replacement doesn't seem to apply in the same way to players who aren't selected as specialist batsmen but who can nonetheless bat a bit. Those kinds of players are liable to hang around in the team for some time, regardless of whether they're very good at anything. For this reason, I don't really ever expect us to select our best bowling attack, let alone our best bowling attack and our best wicketkeeper. Is it a coincidence that the no. 8 spot always seems to be occupied by a bowler who's not as good a bowler as nos 9, 10 and 11?

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Old 21st January 2016, 10:55   #125
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I don't really ever expect us to select our best bowling attack
Yet you'd be even more disappointed if we did as there wouldn't be a spinner.
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Old 21st January 2016, 11:11   #126
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Yet you'd be even more disappointed if we did as there wouldn't be a spinner.
In the summer going in with five seamers could work. The teams we are playing are no mugs when it comes to spin. Anderson, Broad, Finn, Stokes and Wood would be a dangerous bowling attack. If the pitch suddenly changes and you need a spinner Root could have a bowl.
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Old 21st January 2016, 11:16   #127
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In the summer going in with five seamers could work. The teams we are playing are no mugs when it comes to spin. Anderson, Broad, Finn, Stokes and Wood would be a dangerous bowling attack. If the pitch suddenly changes and you need a spinner Root could have a bowl.
But he won't really bowl the number of overs required. At best he'll bowl 3-4 overs top whack in a spell as he's not enough of a regular bowler to maintain the consistency. It should be reminded that not only is it SL and Pak at home but then Bang and Ind away. Much as Mo might actually be the inferior bowler to the potential 5th seamer England are highly unlikely to play 5 seamers as after a while it just becomes too predictable if you are not scything through them like a knife through butter. The Aussies rarely leave out Lyon even if all their best quicks (and I know that's rare) are fit.
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Old 21st January 2016, 11:31   #128
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Are we now pretending joe root (our best batsman) does not have a bad back? He is only young and this will only get worse with age. I would suggest that asking him to bowl more often than rarely would be daft. Only the greatest of all can bowl loads of overs and still be comfortably their side's best batsman.
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Old 21st January 2016, 11:36   #129
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Yet you'd be even more disappointed if we did as there wouldn't be a spinner.
How do you know? I don't mean necessarily our best 4 bowlers each judged in isolation, I mean the best available combination of bowlers for the pitch in question. At various times that might mean wanting to play 2 spinners, or it might mean wanting to play 4 seamers. It also of course depends who there is available. If I'm guessing correctly, you seem to be saying that England currently don't have any spinner who's as good as their best four or five seamers; but that doesn't mean they should select no spinner. In any case, it's more to the point that (a) England wont have the flexibility to adjust their attack to best suit the conditions if they always need to select a no. 8 on the basis of his batting, and (b) England won't really have a proper idea of who their best available spinner is if they can't drop Moeen because of his batting, or if they can only consider dropping him for another spinner if that other spinner is also a very good batsman.
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Old 21st January 2016, 11:40   #130
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But he won't really bowl the number of overs required. At best he'll bowl 3-4 overs top whack in a spell as he's not enough of a regular bowler to maintain the consistency. It should be reminded that not only is it SL and Pak at home but then Bang and Ind away. Much as Mo might actually be the inferior bowler to the potential 5th seamer England are highly unlikely to play 5 seamers as after a while it just becomes too predictable if you are not scything through them like a knife through butter. The Aussies rarely leave out Lyon even if all their best quicks (and I know that's rare) are fit.
Usually I would agree but there is still a fair bit of variety in the attack. Also, how many times this summer will there be a desperate need for a spinner on an English pitch? Granted, there will be times when it gets to day five and the pitch is turning, but if all the seamers are at their best you would expect them to pick up wickets anyway.

Banglasdesh away shouldn't be much of a challenge, and this would be the ideal time to try out some other spinners. No doubt there will be a few who excel in County cricket, so take them to Bangladesh and if they do well play them against India.
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Old 21st January 2016, 11:48   #131
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Usually I would agree but there is still a fair bit of variety in the attack. Also, how many times this summer will there be a desperate need for a spinner on an English pitch? Granted, there will be times when it gets to day five and the pitch is turning, but if all the seamers are at their best you would expect them to pick up wickets anyway.

Banglasdesh away shouldn't be much of a challenge, and this would be the ideal time to try out some other spinners. No doubt there will be a few who excel in County cricket, so take them to Bangladesh and if they do well play them against India.
If you are talking about an earlier season English pitch then you can turn it around and say that you don't really need a 5th seamer and that you would expect your 4 main quicks to do the job. There is then a prospect that one of them would be under-employed and that is where the 8th batsman cum spinner might become useful. The second half of the season (Pakistan series), pitches usually take spin so you will need one then.

As for Bangladesh away, there are signs that they have actually improved in the last couple of years so England shouldn't underestimate them. Whatever the case we will need a spinner or two to show real promise in the next few months otherwise we may find the India tour rather more troublesome than we did in late 2012.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:25   #132
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. Whatever the case we will need a spinner or two to show real promise in the next few months otherwise we may find the India tour rather more troublesome than we did in late 2012.

Some poor sap will get drafted in as second spinner, go for 100/0 on a road on their debut in India then get dropped.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:28   #133
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At the moment the realistic hope for England is probably that Ansari proves himself in division 1 next season. At the moment I don't think its clear if he is a spinner first or batsman and he is a left armer - so more likely to get out a right handed batsman rather than a left-hander. I don't know the stats but I think quite a high proportion of Ali's wickets have been left handers, which is an advantage when all your quicks are right handers. If Ansari does replace Ali it will be difficult to place him in the order as I believe (never seen him play but I have seen 7 of Ali's tests) he is more of an accumulator and probably not suited to number 8.

Ali is clearly batting poorly and his average has dropped from over 30 before the UAe (think it was 33 after The Ashes) to 28 and probably needs a few championship knocks to get his confidence back. All bar one of his scores over 50 have had an impact on the results of matches, so the plus is he has shown he can produce when required. Quite a few of his cheap dismissals have also come when we've been chasing runs for a declaration, so to a degree his average doesn't tell the whole story.

He clearly isn't in the same league as Swan as a spinner, but having him in the team does make the unit more effective. His bowling figures are worse, partly because he is part of a 5 man attack and partly because England's seam attack is developing in to a very balanced unit. I think he's only taken 13 wickets from 7 - 11, so his record at dismissing the top 6 isn't bad. If you were Cook and the no 7 came in and you've got the choice of 2 of the top 5 bowlers in the world, Finn's height, Wood bowling at 90 mph plus and Stokes now showing he can bowl at about 90 mph and swing the ball who would you throw the ball to? Traditionally England have struggled against the tail but I've had a look through the records and I think there have only been 3 50's by 7 - 11 since Ali came in to the side (in an era when most number 9s can hold a bat). I think having him there has allowed the seamers to get at the tail fresher and having that 5th bowling option also give Cook the option to bowl a bowler out for the day if they really get in to the groove rather than rest them for a later spell. It would be interesting to see Broad and Anderson's bowling averages before and after we went to a 5 man attack, my guess is they are both much lower.

In the ideal world there would be a better spin option. However Bayliss isn't stupid and I think at the moment he sees him as a player who does contribute more than his average. He comes across as one of those players who will go out try to do whatever the coach and captain ask, rather than just play for himself. Clearly he isn't a world beater, but a lot of the great teams have had bits and pieces cricketers who get their head down and allow the better players around them to get on with what they do, Larry Gomes and Roger Harper were almost the glue for some pretty good West Indies sides who did more than their averages and strike rates.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:29   #134
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Some poor sap will get drafted in as second spinner, go for 100/0 on a road on their debut in India then get dropped.
Do you think this likelihood is any way telling us why England may be sticking with Ali?
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:32   #135
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He clearly isn't in the same league as Swan as a spinner, but having him in the team does make the unit more effective. His bowling figures are worse, partly because he is part of a 5 man attack and partly because England's seam attack is developing in to a very balanced unit. .
Swann and Gilo part of England teams with brilliant pace attacks - didn't stop them performing better than Ali.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:36   #136
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Do you think this likelihood is any way telling us why England may be sticking with Ali?
I think Rashid would have benefited from playing in one or two of the WIndies and the dead rubber at the Oval. It might have given him enough rope to hang himself earlier but worth finding out.

The same logic that has everyone screaming for Footit to play over Woakes..]

Cape Town, Trent Bridge vs India, Abu Dhabi.

One we nearly won when the draw was nailed on.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:45   #137
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Swann and Gilo part of England teams with brilliant pace attacks - didn't stop them performing better than Ali.
What? Giles played lots of his career with a fat flintoff, Craig White, Ian Salisbury, mark butcher, alex Tudor. The last couple years he was part of a good attack! I suppose that is why he got more five fers at a worse average and much worse strike rate. But you ignore that some more.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:45   #138
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Interesting post JRC. Ansari is certainly an intriguing option as spin bowling all rounder, although with the current shape of the side, the fact that he can bat offers rather less than it might have done if England didn't already have an obvious pick batman who can bowl in Stokes and a fairly obvious pick bowler who can bat in Ali. One could argue that Ansari wouldn't be a silly choice as specialist opener given how other options have done but you're not really needing to pick him in a batting slot and have six bowlers, nor would you be keen to drop a fast bowler for him as while that would give exceptionally long batting, you certainly want a fourth quick. I suppose the time you might go for it if touring India, Bangladesh, UAE (we tried the former option with Ali there, who's not even an opener) or Sri Lanka.
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Old 21st January 2016, 13:49   #139
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I think Rashid would have benefited from playing in one or two of the WIndies and the dead rubber at the Oval. It might have given him enough rope to hang himself earlier but worth finding out.

The same logic that has everyone screaming for Footit to play over Woakes..]

Cape Town, Trent Bridge vs India, Abu Dhabi.

One we nearly won when the draw was nailed on.
I think Rashid should have played in WI but neither of us saw him in the nets there.

I'm not in favour of Footit over Woakes, partly as I think the latter is a better long term prospect.

I'm not sure England almost winning a test Rashid returned catastrophic first and very good second inning figures in really proves the point you think it does. You don't pick specialist bowlers to be useful in the second innings now and again and otherwise hopeless.
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Old 21st January 2016, 14:00   #140
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I don't like "giving people a go" in dead rubbers. What does it show? If they do well it can be written off as a dead rubber so oppo not trying. If they do badly it can be written off as not mattering.

This is still a test match and because of how the rankings work all tests matter and I think the player who has earned the right to play should.
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