Stephen Brenkley: Strauss starts the game of musical chairs

Who opens? Vaughan at four? Does Giles play? Or Collingwood? Questions galore for Lord's winners

Such an innocuous incident, such immense consequences. Not quite to be rated alongside what happened when the horse shed a shoe and the next thing you knew the whole kingdom was up the creek, but significant for English cricket none the less.

As a result, one batsman has retired, another has embarked on what might be an illustrious career, another has been deprived of one possibly forever and yet another may make a significant move in the batting order, if not for that long, then for the foreseeable future. More may become clear today when the squad is announced for the Second Test against New Zealand, and more still on Thursday when the game at Headingley starts.

There will be no Nasser Hussain, who with characteristic, pumped-up emotion called it a day after his heroic innings at Lord's that had secured an epic opening game of the series for England. There will be, obviously, Andrew Strauss, Man of the Match on his debut for scores of 112 and 83, the second of which was ended only by Hussain's crass call for a run.

There will probably, but may not, be Paul Collingwood, centrally contracted to general surprise but whose chance may now have come and gone, although he has had little chance to do anything wrong. Perhaps above all, there will be Michael Vaughan returning as captain, but maybe not in the opening position where he made his name and became, albeit briefly, the No 1 ranked batsman in the world.

Thus was the course of English cricket changed by an unsung 19-year-old spinner called Zac Taylor. Brought in specially to the England nets at Lord's, Taylor was bowling when Vaughan stretched to play a sweep and twisted his knee. It put Vaughan out of the Test.

Since an opener was wanted, the selectors ignored Collingwood, who was in the squad, and sent for Strauss, who was not. On seeing Strauss perform with such unfussy crispness, Hussain's mind, already cluttered with thoughts of retirement, was made up.

But it leaves the No 4 position vacant. Since Strauss is an opener, and is happiest playing there, it apparently provides an opportunity for Vaughan to move from opener. The grounds for doing this are that Vaughan is the side's best batsman and is therefore better off in the middle order, and has struggled with the combination of opening and being captain.

Statistics indeed show that Vaughan was averaging above 50 before assuming the captaincy and that figure has plummeted to 33 since. Statistics also show that in his first incarnation as an England player, he batted at four and had an average of 26. Make the figures fit any way you will.

The argument about having a side's best player at four is fairly spurious. Did not Vaughan start there when patently he was not the side's best player? Has not Hussain occupied the position for long enough when, gritty though he has been, it would have been difficult to make a case for him as the leading batsman?

Equally, an argument can be made for not having Marcus Trescothick and Strauss as the opening pair. Two left-handers together make it easier for the bowlers to adjust, notwithstanding the 190 the pair shared at Lord's on their first appearance. It might have become a fad to have a left-right combination, as opposed, say, to simply having your best opening batsmen, but it is based on a sound principle.

One way round the conundrum would be to move Trescothick. It was being openly discussed late last summer when Trescothick was continuing to get out to the new ball, usually caught napping outside the off stump and edging behind. But he responded to this by scoring a dominating double century at The Oval, which was as notable for its rigorous self-denial as its array of bludgeoning attacking strokes. However, Trescothick still tends to give a chance to new-ball bowlers that other opening batsmen do not.

In all this, poor Collingwood may be swept away. He is an admirable cricketer and has understandably impressed the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, who admires his dedication and willingness to learn. On his two appearances in the Test arena so far, Collingwood played with typical sturdiness.

But compare him, say, to Key, who is interviewed below. Not only does he not have that indefinable touch of class that Key has always exuded (call it time to play, if you will), but also he is not in the same form as Key.

Unless Fletcher is sure that he can help to turn Collingwood into a genuine Test middle-order player, it could be argued that he and the selectors would be wasting valuable time. On the other hand, maybe the devoted Durham lad deserves to be given a go.

It may come if the decision is taken to drop Ashley Giles, the side's specialist spinner. In the formative stages at Lord's, Giles was awful and expensive to the extent that he looked on his way out. He came back, as if he knew his international future was on the line. Giles may stay for now. It is not his fault that he remains England's best spinner. By and large he has made the most of what he has, but he knows that it is a reflection on the state of the art here that he remains No 1.

Still, this is nothing new. Rose-tinted spectacles tend to hark back to the era of John Emburey and Phil Edmonds as though it was a vintage age. Emburey took 147 wickets in 64 matches at 38.40, Edmonds 125 in 51 in 34.18. Not world-beating figures. Giles has 88 at 40.66. Worse but not that much worse.

The result of the result at Lord's is that England's side this summer may change more than anybody would have thought likely or possible.

Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone