Wednesday, June 30, 2010

England's team to win the 2010-2011 Ashes

Principle: you need five bowlers to win test matches with sufficient regularity - unless at least two of the bowlers are first rate.

England has only one first rate bowler (Swann) therefore we need five bowlers.

The reason is that the bowlers need to average about 15 wickets per match (at a reasonable average) between them to win matches (it does not have to be twenty wickets per match on average, since some wickets fall to stumpings, run outs etc. and a some test matches will inevitably end as draws due to weather or good/ lucky batting (although I believe there are more draws than 'necessary' due to many teams having inadequate bowling resources for the modern game).

Most frontline test bowlers average about 3-4 wickets per test match - the good ones nearer to 4. Great bowlers usually get more than 4 (e.g. McGrath) or about 5 (Warne) - amazing bowlers get 6 (Murali) - and the most ever was 7 wickets per test match (SF Barnes).

A batting all-rounder like Flintoff or Kallis will usually only get 2-3 wickets per match - for example, Sobers took 'only' 2.5 wickets per test match - but those extra wickets from the fifth bowler make a critical difference to the ability of a team to win. It also allows a team to win even when a frontline bowler is injured during a match.

NOTE - Currently Australia are strong in batting, but only moderate in bowling. This means that England need to focus on bowling, because the series will be decided by who wins the contest between English bowlers and Aussie batters.

Therefore:

1. Strauss

2. Cook or Trott or even Bell (who cares? - this is the weakest batter)

3. Peterson

4. Collingwood

5. Morgan (come on - he has *got* to play, cricket is about entertainment: or Bell if you really want to be boring)

6. Prior (he has an excellent record at number 6 - much better than Flintoff, about as good as Alec Stewart taking into account that modern averages are higher; but if England now refuse to bat Prior at 6, then Kieswatter will have to come in).

7. Bresnan

8. Swann

9. Broad

10. Anderson

11. Finn (or Onions depending on fitness/ conditions/ resting)


If it is a spinning wicket then substitute Yardy for Bresnan.

If this team could be fielded, it should be able to beat the current Aussies.

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