To me, this is madness.
Obviously, England wanted Harmison out.
I think the penny dropped when Michael Vaughan only gave four overs to Harmless during the second innings of the first test.
Captains, when touring, act as a final arbiter of who gets into the team, and clearly Vaughan lost all confidence in Harmison.
Nevertheless, I thought that Harmison would be retained for another match because he was not alone in the Rubbish Gang in the last match. Half the England team were members in that game. If they dropped Harmison, they’d have to drop others: like the Hoggler.
My reasoning was correct, but I got it wrong.
The England management were showing their players that THEY HAD BALLS and were MEN, REAL MEN.
On the surface, it seems fair: you play badly you get dropped; Harmison is being treated like everyone else.
But, in reality, this isn’t fair at all. Harmison is bowling in the same form as he has done for the past three years. He bowled slow and wide. He didn’t bowl as many wides as he did against the West Indies, so perhaps he’s even showing signs of improving.
Matthew Hoggard, on the other hand, has been consistent for England for years. He’s usually England leading wicket taker, and our chief threat. Last week he was under-prepared and had a one-off bad day.
He was dropped in favour of James Anderson by, in Vaughan’s words, “a gut feeling” and because “he apparently bowled well.”
“It’s a very tough call on Hoggy but we’ve gone with that and hopefully it will be the right decision”Damn right it’s tough. Although the decision looks meritocratic and even-handed, it reveals an obvious bias in the England set-up.
How one bloke can persistently under-perform for years and still retain his place, whereas our best bowler, after one bad game, is dropped immediately and without hesitation, is astonishing.
You know what, sod you England. Sod you and your bloody press conferences.