Strauss wants improvement for 'Jekyll and Hyde' England
Saturday 23 May 2009
The next development in English cricket's slavish devotion to Murphy's Law will emerge in Bristol tomorrow. It is difficult to foretell how this will manifest itself.
Who could have predicted, for instance, a one-day international would be called off because of a waterlogged ground despite the presence of a brand new £600,000 drainage system? That happened on Thursday at Headingley, intended venue for the first one-day international between England and the West Indies, but doubtless Nevill Road will throw up its own version of anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
To have any chance of engaging the public, the series needs a match and a good one. Tickets for this second game have gone surprisingly well – 11,000 of the 13,500 seats have been sold. But in the absence of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen with injuries to knee and heel respectively, there will be no late surge to clamber over the walls.
England will almost certainly give a debut to Eoin Morgan, leaving Ian Bell to continue kicking his classy heels around the dressing room. However, Andrew Strauss, the England captain, has adopted a firm policy of refusing to give any indication of his team. If England intend to include Morgan, they might say so. A few spectators could be convinced that they should have a look at the new boy. Precious little else acts as an allurement.
"I don't really want to comment on team selection," Strauss said. "I think it is important to compartmentalise each form of the game and pick the best side to play in any given series." As opposed to what?
"We were a little bit Jekyll and Hyde in the West Indies before coming through and we have two more matches to develop something for the one-day squad and then it goes to the Twenty20 with different players involved, so you need to compartmentalise that, and Eoin Morgan is in the squad so of course there is the chance." In the absence of Robert Langdon, those who were not aficionados of arcane codes took it to mean that Morgan will play.
England appear unconcerned about Pietersen but are more worried about Flintoff. They would do without both, here and in the World Twenty20, as long as they are fit for the Ashes.
Probable team: AJ Strauss (capt), RS Bopara, OA Shah, EJG Morgan, PD Collingwood, MJ Prior (wkt), AD Mascarenhas, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, RJ Sidebottom.
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