Friday, 10 October 2008

Have we ever had such a long and strange batting line-up?

So we went with Cameron White to bat at number 8. Interesting. I presume we have had a change of tactics as White is not a bowler. And we have Watson at number 6. Not a bad bat, but not as good as Jacques. And not a Test class bowler.

So, let's theorise what the selectors are doing, as it's clearly not obvious. I think that they are so unfathomably keen to get Watson in the team that they had to find a way to get him in there. Instead of picking a proper bowler, they picked a bloke (White) you can bat reasonably well to cover for the fact that Watson really isn't that good a bat. And the selectors seem to like White too, so having Watson there is cover for White's own lack of bowling skills.

It's a strange circular argument - use White to cover for Watson, and Watson to cover for White. The better solution? Pick a decent batsman in Jacques and a decent bowler in, well.... Maybe there is the problem. Picking White is conservative. The selectors probably thought "we don't have enough bowlers to bowl them out, so there is no way they are going to bowl us out." What a shame we seem to have to go against the way we have picked teams over the last 15 very successful years - that is, 6 good bats, 4 good bowlers and a keeper. Haddin is a top batsman, we should not forget. We don't need this much lower order cover and we need a spinner, not Watson's medium pace (and White is pretty much a pace bowler too given that he doesn't really spin it!)

It's the strangest line-up since Bevan was picked at number 7 in the Test team. The difference then was that Bevan could actually bowl and took the South Africans apart!

And what happened to Casson? Is White plus Watson really better than Jacques plus Casson (or Bollinger or Siddle or West - probably not Krejza)?

Oh well, Watson will probably go and score 100 and White take 10 wickets now. We are lucky India are not the team they were a few years back when I have no doubt they would have taken us apart.


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