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Old 12th September 2007, 23:16   #301
Baron von Death
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It demands more of the practitioner. And it usually takes longer to master to be able to put the stock ball on the spot, over after over. Monty wasn't risk free, that's true. But he was the only fish in the pond and had shown himself sound enough that he was worth a try in the absence of anyone else who was of remotely Test class. It was clear that he was, at least, a proper specialist spinner with significant turn and bounce allied to accuracy, and a willingness to work hard. Next step down was Ian Blackwell. And that's a long drop.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:17   #302
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A good deal of the selection question over Monty though was the perceived problem of his lack of all-round contribution to the team. He forced his way into the team on the strength only of his bowling and his personality. With Rashid one senses that the business of his batting may be a possible selection criterion. Is this a good thing for English leg-spin?
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:19   #303
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If he can't exist at Test level as a bowler then his batting is irrelevant. He has to hold down a place as at least, a second spinner. If so then his batting adds to his value.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:19   #304
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A good deal of the selection question over Monty though was the perceived problem of his lack of all-round contribution to the team. He forced his way into the team on the strength only of his bowling and his personality. With Rashid one senses that the business of his batting may be a possible selection criterion. Is this a good thing for English leg-spin?
Unclear, I fear. His batting does cloud the issue. Certainly he wouldn't be anything more than a distant option if he couldn't bat. It's also a danger that he'll fail to improve his leg spin as much as he might if he didn't have very useful batting to work on too. Still, let's not complain that he might be good enough to be a genuine all rounder.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:21   #305
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If he can't exist at Test level as a bowler then his batting is irrelevant. He has to hold down a place as at least, a second spinner. If so then his batting adds to his value.
No, I really don't think it's as simple as that. He has a FC batting average of around 40. He clearly cannot be considered as a pure bowler and selected solely on that basis if he's capable of averaging 35+ (or arguably even 25+) with the bat in test cricket.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:29   #306
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I'm not disagreeing. But he's unlikely to be selected as a specialist batsman - there are better candidates for that role. And if he's not actually Test class as a bowler (yet) then there's no point in picking him as a bits and pieces player. He needs to be of out and out Test class in at least one discipline. And at the moment, that's most likely to be the bowling.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:32   #307
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I'm not disagreeing. But he's unlikely to be selected as a specialist batsman - there are better candidates for that role. And if he's not actually Test class as a bowler (yet) then there's no point in picking him as a bits and pieces player. He needs to be of out and out Test class in at least one discipline. And at the moment, that's most likely to be the bowling.
Hmm, even then I'm not completely sure I agree. He's have to be pretty close with both disciplines to justify a place in the side though. That could only be as one of five bowlers though so is only going to be remotely possible if Flintoff is fit for selection or Broad makes big strides as bowler and batsman himself.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:42   #308
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Depends on the pitch conditions though surely? In a situation where a second spinner is required, then he has the advantage that he should be able to bat at least as well as Giles. If he holds his own as a bowler, then all well and good. If he is picked prematurely, or turns out to be just below Test class in both disciplines then he has nothing to offer. Rather as transpired with Jones and may (and I emphasise MAY) transpire with Prior.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:43   #309
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Monty wasn't risk free, that's true. But he was the only fish in the pond and had shown himself sound enough that he was worth a try in the absence of anyone else who was of remotely Test class.
In Sri Lanka England are likely to need two spinners at least once in the three test series (probably twice; maybe three times). Even if England have decided to play only one spinner then they will need a back up in case Monty is injured / ill on the eve of a match.

In the absence of an absolutely outstanding candidate in terms of bowling alone I would suggest it would be sensible to go for the best batsmen and fielder available, particularly when the man in question is 18 years old and has the potential to be a great bowler.

In fact I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that Rashid is already good enough to perform better (with the ball alone) than the likes of Keedy, Batty, Udal, Swann, Schofield, Yardy, Blackwell or anyone else you could care to mention. If I've missed the outstanding candidate then please let me know!
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:47   #310
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Depends on the pitch conditions though surely? In a situation where a second spinner is required, then he has the advantage that he should be able to bat at least as well as Giles. If he holds his own as a bowler, then all well and good. If he is picked prematurely, or turns out to be just below Test class in both disciplines then he has nothing to offer. Rather as transpired with Jones and may (and I emphasise MAY) transpire with Prior.
I really don't like your analogy at all. A wicketkeeper batsman who is marginally below test class in both disciplines is a bit of a liability. A batting bowling all rounder who is marginally below test class in both disciplines is still likely to score a few runs and take some wickets while balancing the attack.
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Old 12th September 2007, 23:54   #311
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Don't doubt his potential. But I do think that your thinking is flawed. If Monty's injured and you serve up a debutant leg spinner as one of four bowlers then that's a huge risk when the only others you have to turn to in an emergency are Collingwood and Pietersen. His batting and fielding are irrelevant in that situation if he turns out to be cannon fodder with the ball. As a second spinner among five bowlers then there might be more room for experimentation and informed hope.

Maybe Rashid should tour. I haven't seen him so don't have a firm opinion. Just don't want to see the errors of the past repeated.
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:01   #312
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Don't doubt his potential. But I do think that your thinking is flawed. If Monty's injured and you serve up a debutant leg spinner as one of four bowlers then that's a huge risk when the only others you have to turn to in an emergency are Collingwood and Pietersen. His batting and fielding are irrelevant in that situation if he turns out to be cannon fodder with the ball. As a second spinner among five bowlers then there might be more room for experimentation and informed hope.
I agree it would be a massive risk to play him as part of a four man attack. That's why I would take three spinners on tour - Monty, Rashid and AN Other. If conditions suited I'd play Monty + Rashid. If Monty was crocked I'd play AN Other who would be an experienced county bowler unlikely to wilt under pressure (e.g. Keedy or Udal). I wouldn't expect too many wickets from them though.

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Maybe Rashid should tour. I haven't seen him so don't have a firm opinion. Just don't want to see the errors of the past repeated.
I don't buy this sh!te. It's lazy. If you're referring to the likes of Salisbury and Schofield they didn't make it because they weren't good enough. Even if a good player fails when given their first opportunity they will improve their game and come back stronger. Nobody is "ruined" by early exposure at the top level (IMHO).
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:05   #313
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I really don't like your analogy at all. A wicketkeeper batsman who is marginally below test class in both disciplines is a bit of a liability. A batting bowling all rounder who is marginally below test class in both disciplines is still likely to score a few runs and take some wickets while balancing the attack.
Don't get you on this. If you want a batsman then pick one. If you want a bowler then pick one. Don't fudge it by picking a young, debutant all rounder and hope that somehow he'll scrape through with a bit of this and a bit of that. Especially when he's in the process of trying to master the most difficult art in cricket. That was the Giles recipe and there were too many matches (especially overseas) where he contributed almost nothing. Though Giles, in his defense, was often picked on the basis that he was the only remotely credible spin option available. England don't have the luxury of that option now. Pick Rashid by all means, but only if the selectors are sure that he can hold the line as a bowler. 1 for 136 off of 20 overs and 20 runs with the bat are of no more use than Giles was in Australia.
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:14   #314
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I agree it would be a massive risk to play him as part of a four man attack. That's why I would take three spinners on tour - Monty, Rashid and AN Other. If conditions suited I'd play Monty + Rashid. If Monty was crocked I'd play AN Other who would be an experienced county bowler unlikely to wilt under pressure (e.g. Keedy or Udal). I wouldn't expect too many wickets from them though.

I don't buy this sh!te. It's lazy. If you're referring to the likes of Salisbury and Schofield they didn't make it because they weren't good enough. Even if a good player fails when given their first opportunity they will improve their game and come back stronger. Nobody is "ruined" by early exposure at the top level (IMHO).
Disagree as far as spinners are concerned. There's too long a track record with English spinners going into a shell the first time they are seriously assaulted, and then never coming out to play again. It hasn't been helped by the attitude of many English captains and coaches. And leg spin especially, relies on (among other things) the bowler having confidence and total control of his basic method of delivery. Immature leg spin's just too prone to the jitters. If they haven't mastered the basics fully before they enter the Test arena (like Salisbury) then they'll get really hammered (like Salisbury), especially against an aggressive team of confident players of spin in Asia.
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:19   #315
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Hmm, even then I'm not completely sure I agree. He's have to be pretty close with both disciplines to justify a place in the side though. That could only be as one of five bowlers though so is only going to be remotely possible if Flintoff is fit for selection or Broad makes big strides as bowler and batsman himself.
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Don't doubt his potential. But I do think that your thinking is flawed. If Monty's injured and you serve up a debutant leg spinner as one of four bowlers then that's a huge risk when the only others you have to turn to in an emergency are Collingwood and Pietersen. His batting and fielding are irrelevant in that situation if he turns out to be cannon fodder with the ball. As a second spinner among five bowlers then there might be more room for experimentation and informed hope.

Maybe Rashid should tour. I haven't seen him so don't have a firm opinion. Just don't want to see the errors of the past repeated.
Sounds like you agree with me. I suppose your point is that he's not ideal as cover for Monty. Perhaps that's true and Keedy would be a better pick for that role. The thing is that I see Keedy as having next to no utility in Sri Lanka if Monty is fit.
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:21   #316
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Disagree as far as spinners are concerned. There's too long a track record with English spinners going into a shell the first time they are seriously assaulted, and then never coming out to play again.
Who are these spin bowling Messiahs who slipped through the net?

I'm sorry Death but test cricket is, above all, about mental strength. If a players career is ruined at the first set-back (as you seem to be implying) then they weren't good enough in the first place.

Do you honestly think Ian Salisbury was good enough to make a major contribution for England over the short, medium or long term?
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:24   #317
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Don't get you on this. If you want a batsman then pick one. If you want a bowler then pick one. Don't fudge it by picking a young, debutant all rounder and hope that somehow he'll scrape through with a bit of this and a bit of that. Especially when he's in the process of trying to master the most difficult art in cricket. That was the Giles recipe and there were too many matches (especially overseas) where he contributed almost nothing. Though Giles, in his defense, was often picked on the basis that he was the only remotely credible spin option available. England don't have the luxury of that option now. Pick Rashid by all means, but only if the selectors are sure that he can hold the line as a bowler. 1 for 136 off of 20 overs and 20 runs with the bat are of no more use than Giles was in Australia.
We're not talking about 1 for 136 and 20 runs though, or at least I'm not. My qualification was actually fairly strict. Read my posts again. Actually, don't bother because I'm about to repeat them. I said that as one of five bowlers he might well justify selection even if marginally below test class (at that point) with both bat and ball. I'm not suggesting that a useful number 8 who could bowl a few overs and take one wicket for over a ton is a sensible pick. Anyway, you've already agreed with me, as above.

It's just not as simple as saying that a batsman or alternatively bowler who can only do one thing is a better pick than a guy who is close to their levels in both disciplines. In fact, that's a fairly absurd contention.
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:30   #318
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I agree entirely, Psyduck. If they 'go into their shell' and their bowling is 'ruined' then it was never meant to be. Sink or swim, baby. If you're mentally weak you will get found out. I just think the guy needs to bowl and bowl and I think he would be better served doing that playing domestic cricket somewhere where he is pretty much guaranteed to bowl a lot of overs. He won't bowl nearly as much traveling and playing with England as he would playing domestic Cricket.

I would also suggest, going by this years county statistics, that he isn't really good enough at the moment either ..
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:39   #319
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I agree entirely, Psyduck. If they 'go into their shell' and their bowling is 'ruined' then it was never meant to be. Sink or swim, baby. If you're mentally weak you will get found out. I just think the guy needs to bowl and bowl and I think he would be better served doing that playing domestic cricket somewhere where he is pretty much guaranteed to bowl a lot of overs. He won't bowl nearly as much traveling and playing with England as he would playing domestic Cricket.

I would also suggest, going by this years county statistics, that he isn't really good enough at the moment either ..
There's a fair bit in what you say. I doubt he'd get more overs for Yorkshire this winter than he would touring Sri Lanka though.
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Old 13th September 2007, 00:46   #320
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It seems somewhat academic to me, apart from Rashid and Swann, none of the seasoned practitioners of the spin establishment have done anything to justify touring Sri Lanka.
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