Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Harminson: time to go?

England’s bowling, the Montster aside, looked ineffectual over this game. Fast bowling is a serious problem for us. Seam was once a huge strength for England; it is the cornerstone of the English game. During 2005, we had three players capable of bowling at over 90 mph. Now we don’t seem to have any.

The Third Umpire reckons that Paul Collingwood was our best seam bowler. Indeed, I doubt any of the current fit bowlers would get into Australia or South Africa. Perhaps only Bangladesh would play them?

This is almost a crisis for England.

Henry Blofeld was unusually opinionated on TMS last night and argued that dropping Steve Harminson was the “kick up the backside” that he needed. All the “technical” faults, delivery flaws and niggles that were identified in Australia are still present. Either the man isn’t working hard enough on his game, or his doesn’t recognise that there is a problem. He therefore requires, thinks Blowers, a shock to the system to overcome his mental barriers.

I have some sympathy to this approach. Clearly, the current strategy of sycophantic cooing is not producing results. Huge wides and pacey long-hops are unforgivable crimes in Test Match Cricket. Cumulatively, they can lose matches, allowing the batsman to settle into a comfortable rhythm.

At 28, you rather feel that “potential” is not sufficient to hold a place in the international team. At the highest level of cricket, and with his experience, Harminson should be filling his boots. He is not. He is also taking up a place that could be used to invest in another player.

So, what alternative? Revert to the unimpressive trio of Anderson, Mahmood and Plunkett? They have been given plenty of chances, but have not delivered. How about skipping a generation? Calling up Graham Onions or Stuart Broad (when he’s fit)? How about returning to the past? Andrew Miller thinks that Andy Caddick or Darren Gough could be given a shot.

Whatever the solution, these are troubling times for English fast bowling. There is no bright prospect coming through: there’s no fiery Shaun Tait or Andre Nel character that could form the basis of a future attack.

This is why England have stuck with the expensively poor Harminson: he is the only fast bowling spark we have. This is a mistake, however, as retaining him in the side is doing neither him nor his country any good. I’m afraid I think he should go.

This doesn’t have to involve a permanent elimination from the side, but perhaps just a temporarily cold shoulder to move the onus back onto Harminson to earn his place.


Tim said...

They want for Sidebottom, which I'm fully in favour of.

The Atheist said...

Bloody hell! Didn't see that. Cheers!

It SEEMS like a sensible move, but it does smack a little of desperation. Is there really no one better? Apparently not.

Although, saying that, he has only been included in the squad; it is unlikely that he will actually play.

Tim said...

I certinly hope he does play.

There's something about 'horses for courses' which you've got to love!

The Atheist said...

Well, for bowlers, we have Flintoff, Monty, Plunkers and Harminson.

If we pick Sidebottom either we drop Plunkett or drop a batsman - none of which are droppable (accounting for Shah making way for Vaughan). So, really, can't see that there's a place for him. Unless someone isn't fit.