SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: England’s shallow talent pool, heroic Anderson, pundits dim, Murray smart

Hero of the week Jimmy Anderson.
Hero of the week Jimmy Anderson.
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Guess the England cricket squad for the Ashes tour this winter has become a popular game in the national press.

But the names being thrown about just confirm how shallow the talent pool is in this country.

Foul-mouthed Ben Stokes.

Foul-mouthed Ben Stokes.

The gap in quality between the likes of Jimmy Anderson, Joe Root and Ben Stokes (above), and the rest of the current line-up is vast enough. Those on the outside looking in are on another level of inferiority.

A couple of injuries or a suspension for foul-mouthed Stokes and England will be sunk without trace against an Australian team ranked just five in the world.

Captain Root needs to man up and bat three. Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali need to bat a place higher and then we can discard at least one of out-of-depth pair Dawid Malan and Tom Westley.

HERO OF THE WEEK

Sadio Mane deserved to be sent off.

Sadio Mane deserved to be sent off.

The fact Jimmy Anderson gets a large percentage of his Test wickets in seamer-friendly English conditions stops the England bowler becoming an all-time world great. But 500 Test wickets is still a superb achievement and a record that will provide a big consolation when he’s getting pounded on Australian flat tracks this winter.

LAWLESS FOOTBALL PUNDITS
Four games into the Premier League season and already the so-called experts pundits have done my head in. In recent weeks the award of red cards to Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane (above) has led to referee abuse when both were absolutely spot-on decisions. If there is a problem it’s with the law-makers, not those entrusted to apply the laws. Until these monotone half-wits pass a referee’s exam they should be banned from discussing officials.

SMART MOVE FROM MURRAY

Andy Murray has made the smart move in not playing again this year. A fit Murray will challenge for major honours again. The US Open showed how average the standard is outside of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.