Better Plans, Not Changes Needed For England

Just because they have had two bad games in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there is no need to call for wholesale changes to be made

Neil Fairbrother
Better Plans, Not Changes Needed For England

England's batting display in the two Test matches against Pakistan has come in for intense criticism with calls being made for players to be dropped. 

It is the first time in the last two or three years that England have come across a “different” type of spinner in Saeed Ajmal and it is clear that three or four batsmen need to find some answers pretty quickly.

But the way the press have reacted has been a bit over the top. Let’s not forget this group of batsmen have scored masses and masses of very big and important runs over the past two years. Let’s not forget this group have made it to the top of the Test world rankings. Just because they have had two bad games in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there is no need to call for wholesale changes to be made.

They are batting on sub-continent wickets which are flat, there’s not much bounce but clearly there is a lot of spin. If you are in good touch you will score lots of runs on these wickets. If you’re not in good nick they are the worst places to try and find form. You can’t use the pace and bounce of the ball to work the gaps in the field. You have to put the pace on the ball yourself and go searching for the ball. This can be very difficult when you are not sure of yourself.

All they can do is keep working to find a plan in the same way that people found plans for Anil Kumble, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. It would be nice to see one or two batsmen with a better plan in the third game against Pakistan.

When faced with 145 to win, I’m not sure the game plan of just trying to stay in and bat long was the right one. This allowed the bowlers to get on top and get into a rhythm rather than the batsmen taking the attack to the opposition. In this instance the England batsmen reneged on the philosophy which has seen them dominate bowling attacks over the past two years.

On the plus side, the bowling attack looks a really good unit. Stuart Broad had another excellent game. The fielding has also stood up under pressure so two out of the three components are working well. Let’s hope the third discipline comes good in the third game.

Over in Sri Lanka two of ISM’s young players Jos Buttler and Craig Kieswetter both scored excellent hundreds to give the England Lions a 2-0 lead in the ODI series against Sri Lanka A. The ODI and T20 teams for England’s games with Pakistan will be announced later this week so let’s hope Jos and Craig have scored their runs at just the right time.

Paul Collingwood’s Perth Scorchers were narrowly beaten the KFC T20 Big Bash final at the weekend but it was an excellent tournament with really big crowds. Colly had a great time and scored some good runs in the semi-final and final, unfortunately the Scorchers just came up short in the final. However they do now qualify for the T20 Champions League in India in October.

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