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Spin Supremo

November 19th 2012 17:52
With Ian Bell returning home for the birth of his first child, England will have some big decisions to make regarding their starting XI. Bell came under much criticism for his shot in the first innings, but in the second he got his head down and looked got for his 22. Also the performance of Samit Patel certainly wasn’t one to silence any critics, and in fact he has probably given them more opportunities to shoot him down. He certainly isn’t of a high enough quality to challenge Test cricketers, and he wasn’t even able to just hold up an end economically, which is exactly what England needed. He started a fair few of his spells with slow leg stump full tosses which released any pressure that had been exerted at the other end. The seam bowling attack was also a long way off the mark, as they persisted in bowling a full line outside off stump, this is a tactic which is only going to work when the ball is moving around. The lack of surprise bouncers and use of yorkers really allowed the incoming batsmen to settle, and the incumbent batsmen to continue on their merry way.

The second Test starts on Friday in Mumbai, and England will have a fit Steven Finn ready and raring to go. I have said previously that I think he should come back into the side, also I think everyone’s favourite cricketer Monty Panesar should play as England need two front line spinners. His record on the sub-continent is also excellent, and he caused the Indian batsmen more problems than anyone else in the warm up matches. With Ian Bell not there a new batsman will need to come into the side. The choice will be between Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, or they could keep Patel or indeed move Matt Prior up to 6. The good thing for England is that all of these players, except Matt Prior have spent lots of time playing for the England Lions. The batting coach of which is Graham Thorpe who was England’s best player of spin for many years. The hope will be that he has passed on some of his abundant knowledge to the youngsters in the Lions set-up. Thorpe averaged 61.44 in 6 test matches on the sub-continent in 2000/01, and was considered England’s most complete player. If the youngsters have taken in his knowledge then they will have a much better chance of succeeding in the trying conditions. The batting coach for the full team is Graham Gooch who of course scored England cricket’s highest international score of 333 against India, but was not as much of a revered player of spin as Thorpe.

My England Team to play India on Friday:
1. Alistair Cook
2. Nick Compton
3. Jonathan Trott
4. Kevin Pietersen
5. Jonny Bairstow
6. Matt Prior
7. Tim Bresnan
8. Graeme Swann
9. James Anderson
10. Steve Finn
11. Monty Panesar

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