With the Test series against New Zealand only days away, there are still a number of key questions which England hope will be answered over the next few weeks. Chiefly, there are the following three:
- Should Strauss play? After a series of poor performances, Andrew Strauss was dropped last year. Despite not making many runs since, he now appears to be poised for a Test recall. It’s understandable that he continues to be in the selectors’ minds (not least because he has a Central Contract), but how many poor innings can he have before someone else is given a chance?
- Is it time to try another spinner? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Monty. I’ve queued in my lunch hour to watch him sign books, for goodness sake. But he’s been playing Test cricket for long enough now to be judged by the same standards as anyone else. That means that if there’s a Young Buck out there whose batting average is higher than his bowling average at the time of writing, he might get a chance in Monty’s stead.
- Who is the best wicket-keeper? Now that Matt Prior has gone the way of Geraint Jones, Tim Ambrose will get to sip from the poisoned chalice. Those who keep wicket well are criticised for not scoring enough runs, and those who average more than 40 in Test cricket face scrutiny of every mistake they make with the gloves.
Whilst there may not be immediate answers available to any of these questions, it must be hoped that they are a lot easier to answer by the time the teams reconvene for another series in May.