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Old 12th April 2016, 15:23   #81
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... 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. ...
These are two factors often mentioned in defence of opting for the extra seamer, but I think both are easily overstated.

On the first point, I think pundits and selectors are still often surprised by the way test match pitches play. When there is an unexpected amount of assistance for the seam bowlers, the bowling attack that has been selected tends to be perfectly adequate to the task; sometimes in such cases the spinner and/or the fourth seamer won't get a bowl. More notable as far as selection of the bowling attack is concerned are the instances when the pitch offers unexpectedly little assistance for the seamers. It may be that he is slightly old-fashioned, but Geoff Boycott is fairly often heard to say that because of the way a pitch has turned out, he's sorry England didn't pick an extra spinner. And he's not alone; and it's not always the case that the second spinner, who hasn't been picked, is from Yorkshire.

I think that test teams have got used to shrugging off their sometimes unfortunate lack of a second spinner because usually in order to fit in the second spinner they would have had to drop either their third seamer or a batsman, and so they don't think it's worth it unless they can tell in advance that the pitch will be a raging bunsen. But England are now in a special position in that regard, because if they were to call Stokes their third seamer and pick a reliable spinner, then they could pick a second spinner (e.g. Rashid, Patel, Ali, Ansari) who is so good at batting that it wouldn't matter much if he hardly bowled in some matches.

As for reverse swing, I think it's still quite rare to find a bowler who can do it reliably. Bresnan was associated with that art for a while, and it may be partly due to that that he was picked instead of Panesar in this famous match. Also, it's something that you wouldn't necessarily have to pick an extra player for, because you're always going to have two or more seamers in the team, and if it's reversing they should be able to reverse it; whereas if it's turning nicely you would want to be able to put a spinner on at both ends. More generally, I don't think reverse swing should be thought to be a functional alternative to spin bowling, because the former is dependent on the age and state of the ball and so may come and go relatively swiftly, whereas the latter is more dependent on the state and age of the pitch, and so can come into play quite consistently towards the end of the game.
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:00   #82
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Ali didn't look particularly convincing with the ball, going at over four an over the few times he was trusted to bowl, against a Division Two batting attack. After being criticised for only be economical and not taking wickets in his first match, Rashid took four wickets for Yorkshire, while maintaining good control. Despite Rashid demonstrating better control and the ability to take wickets against better opposition, Ali's ton means that there is likely to be little talk of Rashid replacing him in the side.

Ali made his ton at three, and there are currently three possible vacancies in the top order. The argument is often that Ali, a better batsman than bowler, shouldn't bat above eight. While he may not be an opener, there must be some consideration going into moving him up the order and allowing Rashid to take his place at eight, or possibly nine. Sri Lanka should prove to be an easy win for England, so now would be the ideal time to see what Rashid can do and if he can push on and consolidate his place in the side ahead of the upcoming series against India, where it is likely he will play no matter what.
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:14   #83
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Ali didn't look particularly convincing with the ball, going at over four an over the few times he was trusted to bowl, against a Division Two batting attack. After being criticised for only be economical and not taking wickets in his first match, Rashid took four wickets for Yorkshire, while maintaining good control. Despite Rashid demonstrating better control and the ability to take wickets against better opposition, Ali's ton means that there is likely to be little talk of Rashid replacing him in the side.

Ali made his ton at three, and there are currently three possible vacancies in the top order. The argument is often that Ali, a better batsman than bowler, shouldn't bat above eight. While he may not be an opener, there must be some consideration going into moving him up the order and allowing Rashid to take his place at eight, or possibly nine. Sri Lanka should prove to be an easy win for England, so now would be the ideal time to see what Rashid can do and if he can push on and consolidate his place in the side ahead of the upcoming series against India, where it is likely he will play no matter what.
Because bowling at lower order batsmen attacking for bonus points after getting one wicket in you first 30 overs at edgbasten is comparable to other matches on other pitches. Sheesh.

4 wickets so far this season at 53. Deffo kicking the door down. Lol.
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:35   #84
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Because bowling at lower order batsmen attacking for bonus points after getting one wicket in you first 30 overs at edgbasten is comparable to other matches on other pitches. Sheesh.

4 wickets so far this season at 53. Deffo kicking the door down. Lol.
Not kicking down the door, but he has certainly performed better with the ball than Ali, who has not been trusted with it. When Rashid was not taking wickets, he was still economical, while Ali was treated with contempt by Division Two batsmen. Whether you like it or not, Rashid will be playing against India and so playing him in the side now so he can continue his Test cricket development against lesser opposition would certainly be something to consider.
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:38   #85
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Not kicking down the door, but he has certainly performed better with the ball than Ali, who has not been trusted with it. When Rashid was not taking wickets, he was still economical, while Ali was treated with contempt by Division Two batsmen. Whether you like it or not, Rashid will be playing against India and so playing him in the side now so he can continue his Test cricket development against lesser opposition would certainly be something to consider.
How do you see the side with Rashid in it? Who gets dropped? One of the bowlers or a batsman?
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:41   #86
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Not kicking down the door, but he has certainly performed better with the ball than Ali, who has not been trusted with it. When Rashid was not taking wickets, he was still economical, while Ali was treated with contempt by Division Two batsmen. Whether you like it or not, Rashid will be playing against India and so playing him in the side now so he can continue his Test cricket development against lesser opposition would certainly be something to consider.
Not trusted to bowl or conditions not suited to him? How many spin overs were there in the match?

Why on earth would we pick a weaker team vs a side we lost to last time we played so we have someone ready to play a team we beat last time we played?
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:43   #87
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How do you see the side with Rashid in it? Who gets dropped? One of the bowlers or a batsman?
See CDogg's earlier post. As I read it, no one gets dropped, because Moeen takes Taylor's spot.
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Old 28th April 2016, 13:53   #88
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See CDogg's earlier post. As I read it, no one gets dropped, because Moeen takes Taylor's spot.
So a batsman then. We will have 6 bowlers. That will really confuse Cook.
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Old 28th April 2016, 15:01   #89
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See CDogg's earlier post. As I read it, no one gets dropped, because Moeen takes Taylor's spot.
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So a batsman then. We will have 6 bowlers. That will really confuse Cook.
Haha. Two spin bowlers in a test in England. Why on earth would anyone think this is a sensible idea? Has it worked for us at any point in last twenty years?
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Old 28th April 2016, 15:11   #90
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I'm not sure how much preparation bowling 10 overs a day at Chester-le-Street would be for India for any spinner. I can see England going down the 6 bowler route at Lords and The Oval if both series are wrapped up and using either Ansari or Rashid as a 5th bowler and Ali as a 6th. I think they would like to have 3 spinners and 3 seamers in India.
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Old 28th April 2016, 15:18   #91
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Haha. Two spin bowlers in a test in England. Why on earth would anyone think this is a sensible idea? Has it worked for us at any point in last twenty years?
IF we needed more spin there is always Root. His bowling s/r 48.6 last year.
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Old 28th April 2016, 15:24   #92
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Not trusted to bowl or conditions not suited to him? How many spin overs were there in the match?

Why on earth would we pick a weaker team vs a side we lost to last time we played so we have someone ready to play a team we beat last time we played?
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Haha. Two spin bowlers in a test in England. Why on earth would anyone think this is a sensible idea? Has it worked for us at any point in last twenty years?
Ali has been in the side for about two years now as the frontline spinner. I can't remember too many spells when he's looked consistently dangerous and been able to take wickets while keeping the scoring down. I'm sure there are a few examples of this but not nearly enough.

When Ali was called into the side he wasn't a particularly outstanding county spinner, and batting was his better discipline. He has possibly improved marginally as a Test bowler, but not enough for my liking. He'll probably pick up wickets when a batsmen plays a bad shot, but it's not very often he turns the ball square and bowls a player.

That said, he has contributed with the bat. If you were to say what Ali's finest accomplishment in an England shirt was it would be heard to look past his ton against SL. While saying that he 'won' the Ashes is ridiculous, the important contributions he did make came down the order scoring runs with the tail. He does make a contribution to the side, but being able to score runs with the tail isn't really good enough.

If batting is his strongest suit, which is has been over his career, why not move him up the order and give him a batting spot? Yes we lost to SL last time out, but our biggest challenge in the next year will come in India. With Rashid looking likely to play in that series, why not start giving him some games against lesser opposition? Best case serious is Rashid proves he is a Test quality bowler and Moeen fills one of out top order problematic positions.
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Old 28th April 2016, 17:15   #93
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We can't go to India with these 3 after what happened in the UAE

Ali - 48.66 econ 4.08 s/r 71.5
Patel - 54.66 econ 3.90 s/r 84.0
Rashid - 69.50 econ 4.06 s/r 102.6

Malik 20.72 econ 2.92 s/r 42.4
Shah 21.53 econ 2.60 s/r 49.6
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Old 28th April 2016, 17:54   #94
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We can't go to India with these 3 after what happened in the UAE

Ali - 48.66 econ 4.08 s/r 71.5
Patel - 54.66 econ 3.90 s/r 84.0
Rashid - 69.50 econ 4.06 s/r 102.6

Malik 20.72 econ 2.92 s/r 42.4
Shah 21.53 econ 2.60 s/r 49.6
Recent pitches in India have been a shoutout between spinners from what I recall, and some pretty ordinary ones have been successful, including their own.
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Old 29th April 2016, 07:15   #95
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We definitely do not need 4 seamers and 2 spinners in the team this summer. I'm not totally against the idea of Rashid replacing Ali in the side, but if Ali is to bat at 5, he has to be one of the best 5 batsmen in the country. He isn't. Batting has been a real issue for a couple of years. Let's get the right men in for the job. For me, Ballance gets a chance at 5, where he has batted successfully for Yorkshire.
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Old 29th April 2016, 10:29   #96
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We definitely do not need 4 seamers and 2 spinners in the team this summer. ...
Judging by the rest of the post, the aspect of this hypothetical bowling attack to which you object is just the bit about two spinners. But it is too early to make a judgement like this about either part of the hypothetical attack. With the first test still some weeks away, it seems to me just as likely for the fourth seamer to be overkill this summer as for the second spinner to be. If we are willing to vary the attack by varying the team that is selected with last-minute sensitivity to the likely conditions, then there's no need to make any judgement of the kind that you've made here. If we are not willing to do that, but instead we want to pick a team that can be maintained all summer and cover all bases, then it would seem prudent to include the second spinner as well as the fourth seamer, even though there may well be games in which one or other is not used. It should be pointed out that the current availability of e.g. Ansari, Stokes, Ali, Patel, etc. makes it possible to pick such a team without compromising the batting too much. That situation is exceptional; but already, it seems, the decision has been taken to lean towards the selection of the fourth seamer at no. 6, even though it may well be that your reservations about having Ali in the top six would apply equally to Stokes, and even though there may well be matches where we wouldn't need four seamers. I think it's interesting that this decision hasn't come under much scrutiny, yet whenever someone suggests playing a second spinner -- which can actually be done without affecting the batting much -- that suggestion comes under attack.
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Old 29th April 2016, 12:45   #97
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Judging by the rest of the post, the aspect of this hypothetical bowling attack to which you object is just the bit about two spinners. But it is too early to make a judgement like this about either part of the hypothetical attack. With the first test still some weeks away, it seems to me just as likely for the fourth seamer to be overkill this summer as for the second spinner to be. If we are willing to vary the attack by varying the team that is selected with last-minute sensitivity to the likely conditions, then there's no need to make any judgement of the kind that you've made here. If we are not willing to do that, but instead we want to pick a team that can be maintained all summer and cover all bases, then it would seem prudent to include the second spinner as well as the fourth seamer, even though there may well be games in which one or other is not used. It should be pointed out that the current availability of e.g. Ansari, Stokes, Ali, Patel, etc. makes it possible to pick such a team without compromising the batting too much. That situation is exceptional; but already, it seems, the decision has been taken to lean towards the selection of the fourth seamer at no. 6, even though it may well be that your reservations about having Ali in the top six would apply equally to Stokes, and even though there may well be matches where we wouldn't need four seamers. I think it's interesting that this decision hasn't come under much scrutiny, yet whenever someone suggests playing a second spinner -- which can actually be done without affecting the batting much -- that suggestion comes under attack.
Anderson, Stokes, Broad and Finn are all match winners. They get in because they can bowl magic spells and turn a game. If it were the case that we had 2/3 match winning spinners, I'd pick them all. Reality is, we have none. So one spinner is fine to bowl 10-15 overs a day. That might as well be Ali and he can average 25-30 with the bat and give Stokes and Bairstow and extra partner to bat with.
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Old 29th April 2016, 13:04   #98
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Judging by the rest of the post, the aspect of this hypothetical bowling attack to which you object is just the bit about two spinners. But it is too early to make a judgement like this about either part of the hypothetical attack. With the first test still some weeks away, it seems to me just as likely for the fourth seamer to be overkill this summer as for the second spinner to be. If we are willing to vary the attack by varying the team that is selected with last-minute sensitivity to the likely conditions, then there's no need to make any judgement of the kind that you've made here. If we are not willing to do that, but instead we want to pick a team that can be maintained all summer and cover all bases, then it would seem prudent to include the second spinner as well as the fourth seamer, even though there may well be games in which one or other is not used. It should be pointed out that the current availability of e.g. Ansari, Stokes, Ali, Patel, etc. makes it possible to pick such a team without compromising the batting too much. That situation is exceptional; but already, it seems, the decision has been taken to lean towards the selection of the fourth seamer at no. 6, even though it may well be that your reservations about having Ali in the top six would apply equally to Stokes, and even though there may well be matches where we wouldn't need four seamers. I think it's interesting that this decision hasn't come under much scrutiny, yet whenever someone suggests playing a second spinner -- which can actually be done without affecting the batting much -- that suggestion comes under attack.
Stokes averaged 60 v South Africa in our last series.

And it wasn't all in one knock (memorable as it was) as only Root passed 50 more often for us that series.

Bit drastic to be calling for him to be dropped from the top 6 wouldn't you agree?
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Old 29th April 2016, 13:07   #99
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Anderson, Stokes, Broad and Finn are all match winners. They get in because they can bowl magic spells and turn a game. If it were the case that we had 2/3 match winning spinners, I'd pick them all. Reality is, we have none. So one spinner is fine to bowl 10-15 overs a day. That might as well be Ali and he can average 25-30 with the bat and give Stokes and Bairstow and extra partner to bat with.
I wouldn't say Stokes is any more a match winner with the ball than Ali is with the ball. You can't go into every game saying our spinner is going to bowl 10 to 15 overs a day, especially with a tour of India coming up. The lack of a top class spinner was the difference between us and Pakistan, and it might be the difference between us and India.
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Old 29th April 2016, 14:15   #100
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Anderson, Stokes, Broad and Finn are all match winners. They get in because they can bowl magic spells and turn a game. If it were the case that we had 2/3 match winning spinners, I'd pick them all. Reality is, we have none. So one spinner is fine to bowl 10-15 overs a day. That might as well be Ali and he can average 25-30 with the bat and give Stokes and Bairstow and extra partner to bat with.
Sorry, I thought you were making a rather different argument, about the appropriate abstract make-up of our bowling attack for the summer. As for the seamers you mention, it remains to be seen whether or not they're fit when it comes to picking the team for any particular test.

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Stokes averaged 60 v South Africa in our last series.

And it wasn't all in one knock (memorable as it was) as only Root passed 50 more often for us that series.

Bit drastic to be calling for him to be dropped from the top 6 wouldn't you agree?
I don't think it's worth considering your question. Nobody is making that call, as far as I can tell. If they do, presumably they'll explain.
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