There is a changing of the guard in the England team right now. New captain, new opening pair and new faces in what was previously regarded as a: “closed shop”. Exciting times for the fans, but what about the players?
England are taking eight batsmen to India, not including Matt Prior. Then there’s Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad, all pretty handy with the bat – so we could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the selectors are slightly paranoid about how our players might cope with the challenge awaiting on the subcontinent.
Of course, not all eight will play and we know that Ian Bell is likely to be absent from the second Test to attend the birth of his child, so what are England going to do? Already Jonathan Trott has said he does not really want to open, and rightly so. Number three is the pivotal position for any team, and having a settled player there is vital, leave Trott where he is.
|Nick Compton; technique and temperament.|
The rest of the line up looks pretty set, Pietersen and Bell will be four and five and most likely Bairstow and six, so the big loser from the KP saga is Eoin Morgan. The danger of a 17-man Test squad is that nearly a third of those guys will be sharing the drinks carrying duties, which is hardly the best way to get into form. For Root touring with England will be a learning experience, but Morgan has been there already in Australia and Sri Lanka. He is going to come in for the second Test and most likely be jettisoned again, hardly a morale booster.
|Eoin Morgan in his role as waiter|
We hear a lot about balance in a side, but the balance of a squad in just as important. I think we’d all rather see KP strutting out at number four rather Morgan, but I fear resentment against England’s least favourite son might just have increased among those likely to suffer at the hands of his recall.
The second spinner option will be interesting too, bolster the batting more with Patel, or let Monty Panesar have another chance? Selection talk will dominate the lead up to the first Test, and I for one cannot wait, I just wonder if the players feel the same.