Monday, November 26, 2007

Anderson or Broad?

After the weekend’s embarrassing antics, I felt that some worthy and boring pieces about selection policy should redress the balance. So bear with me whilst I indulgence my ego.

Mercifully, the England management broke into Steve Harmison’s room at night, and attacked his spine with hammers. This injury should keep him well clear from temptation and ensure that we should have proper bowlers in the set-up. For a while, at least.

The remaining places should go to Matthew Hoggard (who’s great), Ryan Hairybottom (who has Done Enough) and Monty Panesar (who is like whelks to the gulls). There is one more spot, but two bowlers: James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Who should take it?

This is an awkward one, because, unlike the Shah/Bopara debate it’s not a simple matter of old vs. young. They are both young players, and we should hope that they’ll both be in the side when the two old swing bowlers retire to the big swingers’ party in the sky.

So, as bowlers, what do they offer? So far this season, Anderson has taken 14 wickets in three matches (averaging just under five wickets a match), although in 2006/07 he was less impressive: averaging nearly ninety runs per wicket. Plus, he’s yet to take a wicket during this tour.

Broad, on the other hand, extracted wickets and some bounce from the slow Lankan pitches. Although, the difference isn’t great; both offer a similar package. At test level, it seems sensible to assume that Anderson is the incumbent and, as he has not performed terribly, should retain his place in the interests of stability and fair-treatment.

The issue may be decided, however, not by bowling, but by this “three dimensional cricketer” nonsense. As you can see from the picture, but Anderson is not a natural batsman.

If Anderson was picked, Hairybottom would have to come in at eight – leaving a very long and vulnerable tail. If you are picking Owais Shah at six, as a specialist batsman, and Matt Prior as batsman-wicket keeper at seven, you might consider this ample protection for a weak tail.

I’m not convinced by this line.

This may be negative, but in Sri Lanka you must look to extract the maximum from your squad. Furthermore, given that neither bowler offers an obvious edge over the other, then it is reasonable to bring in this additional factor, and consequently, we must side with Broad.

Pick Broad I say.

4 comments:

Tony said...

Anderson had, statistically at least, a dreadful time of it out here last year.

But I thought he bowled alright. There were times when he looked the most likely to take a wicket. It's just that he was badly used by Flintoff and the selectors were panicked into dropping him. I would have persevered; especially in Melbourne. The selectors should have dropped your mate Harmison who, I agree, is (and always was) pants. Then when Anderson came back for Sydney, he took a few wickets.

Uncle J rod said...

I like you better drunk.

Sam said...

You comment real spams when you are drunk. Broad, has he recovered after Yuvraj slaughtered him in the T20 wc ?

Tim said...

I did pieces on both the selection issues and came to exactly the same conclusions as you (http://www.third-umpire.blogspot.com/).

Here's hoping!