Friday, 15 June 2012

England Lions

As I blissfully watch Leicestershire versus Nottinghamshire in the 2012 Friends Life Twenty20. Michael Lumb almost, metaphorically walks out from my television and asks me why he hasn’t been picked for the upcoming ODIs against the Windies. Superlative hitting, troublesome to dismiss from a bowlers point of view and a good professional to have in the dressing room with the youngsters. Even if not used in the 50 over format of the game, I could happily see both himself and Ian Bell open the batting for England in the Twenty20 against the dismal West Indies bowling attack.

Now, THE LAST THING I’M HINTING is that the ECB and the selectors are poor and make controversial selections. Personally, I find that the ECB, alongside the Australian Cricket Board, are the best there are due to a number of factors:

- The wages in contrast to the work are fair.
 - They demand the absolute best from the team and players otherwise they are dropped.
- No player is bigger than the team. Take Pieterson’s ego for example. A player of the highest quality yet his contract is set and should not be changed. The fact he purely wants to play the Twenty20s is near insulting for any club cricketer, including myself, who would give their right arm to play one minute for England.
- For me, the most important factor that makes the ECB successful is their work on the England Lions and their control of that. In fact…I think it needs its own separate paragraph.

As so often that ever changing weather in Britain rains off a beautiful game of Test Cricket in England, David Gower presents a small tape on The England Lions performance training. The humorous factor was how it was shown directly after a conversation including Michael Holding on the current failures of the West Indies Cricket Board. It showed the Batsmen and Spinners off to the challenging conditions of Bangladesh and the Pace Bowlers off to South Africa. What I enjoyed seeing was how the ECB inter-linked both the Lions and the First team players to learn from each other.

Furthermore, the ECB have treated the matches against the Windies as an appatizer before the anticipating main course meal of South Africa this summer. This means they are giving the first cap to Jonny Bairstow at the tender age of 22 as a specialist number six batsman. Regardless of his average run score being below par in how the selectors would have wanted it (12.66 per match). There is no better way of improving what is to be a world class player, which he certainly has the potential to be, by throwing him at the deep end after a cracking average (45.21 per match) for his county Yorkshire.

So I’ve spoken and given my opinion on Michael Lumb and Jonny Bairstow. However, I must now touch on a subject which I speak many a time in conversations, which can lead in to arguments, on the ever growing, media conversations rather than height, on the superb efforts made by James Taylor with his former club Leicestershire and now his club…well…funnily enough Nottinghamshire. Scoring what the pundits call, the best century in a county cricket match with a tantalising 115* in only 77 balls on the 31st of May showing the England selectors he is the perfect candidate to replace Kevin Pieterson. Alongside his superlative batting
performance, he is the hot topic of discussion in the media for his cracking captivating captaining ‘Quoted from Andy Flower…I couldn’t have made that gold up’ in the England Lions A team leading them to a 3-2 victory in Sub-Continent conditions. And to be completely blunt, the England First team didn’t perform like the world beaters of test cricket and looked like a bunch of primary school children playing rounders, whilst the school bully on the other team (In this case Saeed Ajmal) was demolishing everyone.

Let’s see how the youngsters perform against the Windies in the first ODI on Saturday with the likes of Gayle, Pollard, Narine, Dwayne Bravo and if Tino Best and Marlon Samuels are playing, then the cricketing world will be watching a fantastic spectacle of athletes performing at the highest of the high. Can Alistair Cook do it?

We’ll wait and see.

No comments:

Post a Comment