Thursday, September 14, 2006

Selection for the Ashes

I enjoyed reading Andrew Flintoff's autobiography - though I expect a few more volumes to be forthcoming ere long! Good luck to him as England Captain in Australia and to the rest of the team selected.

Two things bother me, though. Though Flintoff's captaincy in the Subcontinent last winter was impressive - much moreso than I had expected - he still seemed to perform less well in his own game than when not burdened with the additional strain of the captaincy. Andrew Strauss's batting has noticeably not suffered under the same pressure and, from a spectator's point of view, I would say that there's not much to choose between the two in the area of strategy and tactics.

The second concern is around match fitness. Flintoff, James Anderson and Ashley Giles have been out through injuries for a considerable period and it will take quite a while out in the middle for their reactions to quicken up sufficiently to meet and beat a fit Aussie side, especially on their home turf.

I am delighted they are taking Panesar and Mahmood. Monty will wow the crowds in Australia just as he has at home and Mahmood can be a lethal bowler if he keeps his radar under control and has shown no mean talent with the bat against Pakistan, particularly in the last ODI.

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