Friday, July 15, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different

One other thing that I've been thinking about a lot recently is the England team ahead of the Ashes, and in particular the selection of Kevin Pietersen ahead of Graham Thorpe. I must admit, I'm sceptical about this. Pietersen obviously has the big-match temperament - his baptism of fire, by making his international debut in South Africa, the country he left to play for England, was a test that most cricketers will never have to go through, and he rose to the challenge superbly. Yet his technique leaves much to be desired, and his method of scoring runs is to belt them quickly or not to score them at all.

Thorpe, by contrast, is the master at grinding out a big score when the team is in trouble. At number 5, this is an invaluable skill. Especially when it is considered that Australia still possess the skill to knock out our top order very quickly. Although I think that should Trescothick and Strauss get on top of the bowling early doors we could post some huge scores, we will also find ourselves at 40-2 or 40-3 fairly regularly. And at that point, we need to consolidate, not a huge flash-bang-wallop. The idea of Pietersen, Flintoff, Jones at 5, 6, 7 gives me nightmares. We'll either score 700 in a day, or be rolled over meekly for about 150.

Thorpe may be almost past his sell-by date, but the role he could be playing against the Aussies would be invaluable to the team. It is a role I do not think Pietersen is capable of fulfilling. I would love to be proved wrong, but for now I am casting major doubt on the judgement of Graveney and company.