Monday, May 21, 2007

Specialist fielding substitutes - should be part of the squad

I see that James Benning is fielding as substitute for Matthew Hoggard in the ongoing Test Match against the West Indies.

This sort of thing is terribly amateurish in the context of international cricket. No matter what Benning's fielding abilities may be, the fact is that he has not trained as part of the England team. The team on the field ought to be a fielding-unit, and this means that they must train together.

So, Test match teams ought to consist of a squad which includes at least one specialist fielder, who travels and trains with the Test team, and can slot into the on-field side.

Against this idea are that it will cost money, and will disadvantage a county side who will be losing a player. In favour of specialist fielding squad members is that a fielding substitute is almost always needed during a Test match, and having a fielder who has trained with the team would almost certainly help win Test matches. That's good enough for me.