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Of roots, pies and nightwatchmen


Before the game started I had a strange feeling that England might, for the first time in this series, win the toss and bat. Not only that, but they would bat poorly. That has pretty much come to pass. What I did not expect, however, was either of the two selections that were made by the inventive (inventive may also mean stupid) Team England.

Bresnan: Madness rating 8/10 , Excitement rating 2/10.

Why is it mad? He has played plenty of Tests, and he is a solid performer. True and true. But, in the first Test, he looked absolutely harmless. And, for a fast bowler, there is no worse way to appear. People also harp on about his batting, but I can't remember when he last made a telling contribution (as opposed to a handy little cameo of 20-30). Talk of him reversing the ball, from what I have seen, is vastly over-rated. On a slow feather bed, with only the hope of variable bounce to assist, what you want in a bowler is pace (Meaker) or nagging accuracy (Onions). I hope I am completely wrong, and that being dropped has somehow festered inside Bressie-lad, and he finds the aggression that first made me like him. In short, I view his selection as insulting to Onions & Meaker or, at best, deeply negative.

Root: Madness rating 10/10 , Excitement rating 8/10.

Why is it mad? Are you kidding? Everything is mad. Samit Patel was looking better and better with each innings, and his spin was likely to be a useful fifth bowling option, especially when Tim Bresnan breaks down with some kind of rare pie-related injury. Also, Eoin Morgan, well famed for his (unproven) ability to play spin and previous Test experience, was a far more sensible choice than Joe – who, by the way, is only 5 and a half years old. OK, Joe made a hundred on the tour, but it was against a team made from school children and turtles. However, all that said, Joe is a young player full of talent and considerable skill. I am quite excited to see him bat, and this feels like a more aggressive selection; one that clearly wasn't made by the folks who chose Timmy Timmy Pie Man.

It should be noted that I am a fan of both Tim Bresnan and pies. I have just been disappointed with his form over the last 6 months, and do not think his re-selection was warranted at this time. He has one use however, a secret skill that has never been tapped into. A skill known quite powerfully as “potential nightwatchman”.


Why? I'll give you two good reasons:
  (1) To give the opposition a chance to get on a hat-trick.
  (2) To give your opposition a guaranteed early wicket in the morning.

Why not? Because it is only a break in play. There are other breaks in play too, but no-one has ever used a “lunch-watchman”, a “tea-break-pansy”, or a “drinks-break-monitor”. And if you really think it makes sense to play a nightwatchman, please, sodding PLEASE, choose one that can actually bat … aka NOT Jimmy Anderson. Tim Bresnan, with big shoulders, a wide bat, a solid defence, and 4 first-class hundreds is the perfect choice for a nightwatchman; and we should abolish all nightwatchmen now.

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