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Posts Tagged ‘adil rashid’

Andrew Flintoff is out of the Fourth Test against the West Indies, which could precipitate a considerable restructure in England’s middle order as they attempt to fight their way back into the series.

With Graeme Swann also a doubt through injury, England have already flown out cover in the form of Amjad Khan and Ravi Bopara. The two arrived this week from New Zealand, where they were touring with the England Lions. Adil Rashid, of course, is also out in the Caribbean, but his inexperience is likely to mitigate against his selection even if Swann joins Flintoff on the sidelines.

Whatever decision is made about the make-up of the side, Flintoff’s sheer presence and ‘heart‘ will be greatly missed by the tourists. There is certainly no ready-made replacement available to England in terms of his bowling, and even if there were, there is no-one in English cricket with the talismanic properties that Freddie occasionally displays.

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Now that the dust has settled on England’s god-awful performance with the bat against the West Indies, it’s time to start thinking about what England need. The answer, it seems to me, is change.

What do I mean by change? Not a radical throwing out of the baby with the bathwater, but a reasoned reassessment of the whole batting line-up. Ian Bell has had enough chances now, and keeping him in the side because he has occasionally showed promise (mainly when England are already cruising) would be foolish. Owais Shah is the only ready replacement in the squad, and his good form in the tour of India has probably earned him another shot (his four knocks so far aren’t necessarily enough information to go on regarding his ability at Test level).

As well as dropping Bell, Collingwood needs to be made to feel under pressure. His recent form has been poor, as has Cook’s, but there are limited options for making wholesale changes in the middle of a tour. Much as I rate Rashid, whether he is good enough to come in purely as a batsman is uncertain to say the least. Swann may get his chance soon

In the medium term, England need to chop away at the dead wood, but the fear of angering senior players, or of not having a settled side for the Ashes will probably save most of the old guard.

As for blaming the IPL, that’s lazy journalism (as predicted elsewhere) at its most clichéd. All the players who aren’t involved in the IPL made equally poor scores, and Flintoff, who could potentially have been adversely affected by learning of his newfound riches, made the side’s biggest score (admittedly a below-average 24, but the next-highest was Strauss with 9). There shouldn’t be any excuses made for a performance as bad as Sunday’s – the players, after all, are supposed to be taking more responsibility for their own performances.

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England have decided to forgo the usual warm-up match silliness and field a team of a mere eleven players against St Kitts & Nevis in the first match of their tour of the Carribean.

Owais Shah is included in the XI, presumably to remind the more inconsistent members of the top order (that’ll be pretty much everyone, then) that their places are, in theory at least, under threat.

Much more interesting from my point of view is the inclusion of Adil Rashid. I hope that isn’t just the metaphorical throwing of a bone to a player not expected to play much part in the Test series, but is rather a genuine opportunity for the youngster to impress.

You can follow the match here, should you so desire.

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Either England’s selectors have come to their senses, or the crazed combination of staunch conservatism and random stick-a-pin-in-Playfair changes has accidentally happened upon something approaching reason.

Not only is Michael Vaughan, who was given a central contract as part of the ECB’s continuing commitment to 2005 nostalgia, not included in the squad for the strangely logical reason that he is in poor form, but no less than two of my Ones to Watch have been selected to tour the Windies – Adil Rashid for the Test side, and Steve Davies in the One-Day squad.

What’s next? Batsmen being dropped for not making runs? An acceptance that Alastair Cook is not a Twenty20 opener?

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Amjad Khan called up

Amjad Khan has been included England’s squad for the still-not-quite-confirmed Tests against India. The young Kent quick was included in the squad for the two postponed ODIs last month as cover, and the call-up to the Test side marks a remarkable couple of years for the Copenhagen-born paceman. He missed the entire 2007 season following surgery on his cruciate ligament, and his impressive form following his comeback has obviously impressed the England selectors.

As well as Khan, star of the future Adil Rashid has been promoted from the
Performance Squad to join the full side in order ‘to gain experience’, although it’s very unlikely that he’ll play any part in the Tests themselves.

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The county season’s over, the dust has settled, here are my picks for the best of 2008

  • Best Batsman: Not so straightforward this season, especially given Ramprakash’s relative slump. It’s between Marcus Trescothick and Martin van Jaarsveld, and whilst van Jaarsveld was relegated despite his team winning more matches than Trescothick’s, it’s the sympathy vote that swings it for Marcus.
  • Best All-Rounder: Adil Rashid took more County Championship wickets than Harmison, scored more County Championship runs than Phil Mustard, and was still overlooked for England. What more could he have done? Well, I suppose he could have scored the 8 extra runs that would have put him ahead of Graeme Swann.

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England’s touring squad for India, named later than planned but still unnecessarily early, does not include Adil Rashid. Instead, Graeme Swann has been selected.

Leaving aside the question of whether Rashid needs the experience or not (he’ll still get some, with the Performance Squad touring too), the choice should have been based on which spinners were more likely to take wickets.

Panesar, despite some poor form recently, was always a near-certainty to be selected, so it came down to a three-way decision between Swann, Rashid and Samit Patel. Of those three, Rashid has had the better season for his county, but Swann has more international experience.

Amongst the reasons given for Swann’s inclusion is the fact that he’s right-handed. That’s just silly. Also, his batting has been touted as a reason for his selection, but he’s probably a worse batsman than Rashid.

The England selectors should probably be given the benefit of the doubt, but I reserve the right to say ‘I told you so’ at a later date.

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