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Posts Tagged ‘geoff miller’

Apparently, absolutely no one has been ruled out of the running for inclusion in the side to play the Fifth Test at the Oval, so make sure you’re prepared in case you get a call next week to say you’re in the squad. Let’s face it, the prospect of you playing for England in the Ashes is no less ridiculous than the possibility of Mark Ramprakash getting a Test recall.

Having failed to explicitly deny the possibility of recalling the world’s biggest Transformers fan, Geoff Miller went on to suggest that picking anyone other than Jonathan Trott would run counter to the “logical thinking” that had seen him installed as backup at Headingley. Given the selectors’ past record, some might say that’s almost a guarantee that Trott won’t play at the Oval.

If Ramprakash were to be brought back into the side, what sort of message would that be sending to those who have toiled in the England Lions squad, or to the many players called up as cover in the past? Probably not an encouraging one, even if it was seen as a last throw of the dice by the home side.

Once again, it seems the English selectors (or, in this case, certainly the English cricketing media – to be fair, the squad hasn’t been announced yet) have only two modes – chummy cosiness with change feared almost as much as it is by Daily Mail readers, and wild panic-driven desperation.

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Despite their central contracts, neither Steve Harmison nor Michael Vaughan were included in the England ‘pre-Ashes’ squad of 16 (not 17 as was reported at the weekend – does anyone know what went on there?) that was announced today. Although Geoff Miller has said that “[t]he door has not been closed on any player at this stage“, their exclusion more or less signals the end of both players’ hopes of featuring in the First Ashes Test in just over two weeks’ time.

Given that neither player really merits a place in the side at the moment, it isn’t a massive surprise that Harmison and Vaughan are both left out, but the selectors’ past loyalty to the stars of the 2005 series, along with the considerable investment made in both via their central contracts, had convinced many that there would be roles for both in the squad. Harmison does feature in the England Lions team to play Australia next week, but he is currently England’s sixth-choice pace bowler at best.

Amongst those who have been included, there number three spinners: Swann, Panesar and Rashid. The latter two are likely to be in direct competition for the role of second spinner now that Swann is well established in the side, and suggestions are being made in some quarters that Rashid’s superior batting ability may see him edge out Monty, something that would arguably portend the end of Panesar’s England career.

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Monty Panesar has not been included in England’s 13-man squad for the Second Test against the West Indies at Chester-le-Street, confirming that he is now very much England’s second choice spinner. The first choice (and man of the match at Lord’s), Graeme Swann, has burst onto the Test scene to supplant Panesar – with the latter now looking less likely than ever to feature in the Ashes frontline.

Amongst the reasons suggested for the selectors’ preference for Swann had been Panesar’s reluctance to set his own fields, which some amateur psychologists have pointed to as evidence of a mindset too fragile to withstand the inevitable Aussie onslaught of an Ashes series. More obviously, Swann has taken 33 wickets in his six Tests, whereas Panesar has taken only 11 in the period since Swann joined the England setup.

Geoff Miller ‘explains’ the selection here, although he doesn’t adequately explain what Ian Bell has done since the last Test squad was announced that justifies his recall.

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Despite his county furnishing him with free gym membership, Samit Patel has missed out on his second sucessive England selection for reasons of fitness.

The “bouncing all-rounder from Nottinghamshire”, as the Independent describes him today, has again failed to meet the ECB’s standards. Geoff Miller has said that there are “various measurements we go by”, and less charitable souls may wish to speculate as to whether waist, chest and pie consumption are some of the measurements involved.

On a serious note, Patel’s inability to attain the standards that the rest of the World Twenty20 squad has met may suggest a problem. Either there is some obstacle preventing him from reaching the required level of fitness, or his commitment to international cricket isn’t as strong as it might be. Neither is a particularly encouraging prospect.

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Geoff Miller recently said that he wanted England’s “peripheral players not to be just knocking on the door but banging it down”.

Ravi Bopara is probably one of the players he was talking about, and Bopara has continued his recent good form by making 201 not out in Essex’s Friends Provident Trophy Quarter Final destruction of Leicestershire.

Despite his poor form in Sri Lanka, there’s still a strong case for Bopara’s promotion from the England fringe to the Test side, especially if Paul Collingwood or Ian ‘Cricketer of the Year‘ Bell continue to produce the type of form that requires votes of confidence from the selectors.

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