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John Stern: England long on logic, short on flair

October 8th, 2009 by John Stern in England, Test cricket


Shah, Bopara, Harmison. Three very talented individuals, all now with more time on their hands than they might have anticipated.

At last the two Andrews have been able to craft tour squads in their own images. It feels like that Flower the pragmatist has spoken: he doesn’t want flaky, he wants people he can trust, reliable people.

I can see the point and, broadly speaking, I support the ethos but it will only get you so far. In terms of winning matches, you will need the one or two members of the awkward squad. Nasser Hussain makes the point that as captain, he felt that he had to embrace the different characters and work with what he had whereas Mike Atherton’s default setting was to wish players were how he wanted them to be.

I guess we are at the start of the Flower-Strauss era. It is 1999 all over again. We’re off to South Africa with an inexperienced side of moderate quality. The Ashes win is a fillip but of little relevance to England’s overall standing in the world game. It could be a grin-and-bear-it winter, not in a humiliating way but in an attritional way.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, Test cricket | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “John Stern: England long on logic, short on flair”

  1.   Will Burns says:

    Looks like the end for the big man, and I guess it’s been coming.
    I can take it. Can’t blame them for taking Plunkett instead, and I guess it’s a selection with the future in mind…
    Just off to watch my homemade Harmy “best bits”. Sniff.

  2.   Hofstadter says:

    Harmison was a busted flush; Shah only good for one-day competition. But Bopara must feel a little unlucky at essentially being a casualty to the ‘new Flintoff’ question.

    Immediately after the Ashes, Stuart Broad was hailed at the coming man; now Luke Wright looks like he’ll get a go. But Adil Rashid is in the party too? Will playing two spinners really be an option on the veld?

    One other omission (from the Test squad) to note: Joe Denly. Could be a largely cosy tour for the batsmen, again.

  3.   R. Sen says:

    Don’t worry folks, I’m an Indian and I’m sure the two cricketers of Indian origin i.e. Bopara and Shah will don the English colours again. Shah especially, should be a permanent member of the ODI side by the time the 2011 WC arrives. Bopara has age on his side but I’m sad for Harmy-a curious case of wasted potential. There’s no way back for him. It will always remain a regret that the Hoggard-Harmison duo never even came close to tormenting the opposing batsmen the way they should have.

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