SWANNY'S WORLD OF SPORT: Crazy decisions continue to hold England back
England's ambition to became the number one Test nation will be dashed for the foreseeable future by their dopey selectors.
That’s the most disappointing message to come from a quite brilliant two-match Test series in Bangladesh, one the hosts thoroughly deserved to draw, at the very least.
Okay wickets that render new-ball seam bowling redundant are not ideal, but spinners make the sport far more interesting. How refreshing to see spectators getting over 90 overs in a day for a start, and all countries should prepare wickets to suit their own teams, rather than adopt England’s policy of helping visitors feel at home.
But the rest of this winter looks set to be bleak for England. It would have been tough enough going to India for a hectic five-match Test series with the entire team fit and in form, and with the best players getting selected.
Sadly the selection errors of the summer series against Pakistan have been repeated in the winter.
That baffling decision not to pick Jimmy Anderson in the first Test against Pakistan to help preserve his fitness was a stinker at the time and more of a stinker now that he’s not likely to play in India until the series is lost.
And England should have ditched idiotic plans to rotate seamers and gone all out to beat Bangladesh 2-0, knowing that they will get thrashed in India with this squad.
Steven Finn ahead of Stuart Broad? What were they thinking? In fact Steven Finn ahead of anyone is wishful thinking. The bloke hardly bowled and can’t field or bat.
Now they are faced with throwing a teenage opening batsman in Haseeb Hameed into the heat of an Indian series when he could have enjoyed a softer introduction last week.
England also missed the chance to give Jos Buttler (right) a game last week. His positive approach would at least have given the Bangaldeshi bowlers something other than Gary Ballance’s forward defensive, to worry about.
Ballance should never have returned to the England set-up and he now gets a seven-week stint to carry the drinks in India because England foolishly selected both squads at the same time. They must be regretting that now as Ballance, Adil Rashid and Finn would surely be discarded.
Buttler and Ben Duckett should be encouraged to take the attack to Ravi Ashwin & co in India. We may as well get beaten playing positively. Let’s not die wondering.
It’s a forlorn hope though. England have been committed to a ludicrous schedule of five Test matches in six weeks, but at least some, if not all, won’t last the full five days.
It’s going to be quite cruel watching Virat Kohli abusing the most hopeless set of slow bowlers in recent English history.
Credit though to those players who chose to accept the confidence of England security chiefs and make the trip to Bangladesh.
Security guru Reg Dickason is already an unsung hero of this winter tour. Without him we would have been denied a great series.
HERO OF THE WEEK: I know the pitches were skewed in the favour of spin bowlers - well good ones anyway - but to take 19 wickets in your first two Test matches as a teenager, as Mehedi Hasan, did is impressive stuff. Hopefully the gifted Bangladeshi will have helped end the England Test careers of Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid.