Monday, August 01, 2005

Why Some People Are Destined Only to Coach Derbyshire

This article from last week's Times shows why Dave Houghton's greatest coaching success has been keeping Derbyshire rooted firmly to the bottom of the County Championship.

“No disrespect to Ashley Giles, but what use is he in the side?” he said. “He’s not going to get wickets against the Aussie batsmen and he’s not going to make any runs against their bowlers. With him, England are effectively playing ten against 11. They should either include another specialist batsman and use the off spin of Vaughan and Pietersen or pick a spinner who can bat, like Gareth Batty, and or one who’ll get wickets — Gary Keedy is the guy.”

For a start, why is he making this judgement after just one Test match? Giles has been highly valuable for the last few series; whilst Australia are in a different calibre to any of the teams we've played, we don't have a better spinner. And our ill-fated attempts at picking five seam bowlers in the past have failed miserably. If four guys can't get the job done, why will a fifth person doing the same thing fare any better?

His lack of judgement is shown even more by suggesting Batty or Keedy are up to Test standard. Picking Gareth Batty for the Test side is an insult to off-spinners up and down the country; I haven't seen any evidence that Keedy will prove more successful than Giles at Test level (besides, if we were picking spinners based on performances in the County Championship, Shaun Udal would have been the only one in contention throughout the nineties).

We should leave the team as it is for Edgbaston; otherwise we are showing that we are scared of the Australians. Besides, does anyone think that County Championship form is worth a damn against McGrath and Warne, two of the best bowlers the world has ever known? Dropping Thorpe was a big mistake, for he has proven class at the highest level (maybe Bell should have been asked to wait a series). We're not going to beat the Aussies if there's uncertainty about team selection.