30 January 2009

Why England’s bowling is a great concern ahead of crucial year

It has been well documented that the England cricket team have a huge few months ahead of them. First up there is two test series against the West Indies, both of which England are expected to win. Then, as we all know, is the much publicised Ashes series.

With this in mind, it is worth taking a look at how the team are shaping up ahead of these three extremely significant series. Well, first things first – the batting seems ok. I believe there is enough there with Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff, Shah or Bell to score big runs this year.

However, the bowling department is completely different. In fact, as an England fan, I am very worried about the way in which the bowling attack has been performing. Every single one of the bowlers, with the exception of Flintoff, will feel they need to prove their critics wrong.

This isn’t the healthiest position to be in because in reality, this is just a different way of saying that the majority of England’s bowlers are out of form. To emphasise this point, let’s take a closer look at the men that will be looking to haunt West Indies and Australia’s batsmen in the coming months. Again, with the exception of Andrew ‘England’s best bowler by miles’ Flintoff.

Stuart Broad – This is a young man with a huge amount of talent. He can bat, bowl and field. However, he needs to show the selectors that he can take regular test match wickets if he is to nail down his place in the side.

James Anderson – Mr Inconsistent. On his day, Jimmy can be one of the best swing bowlers in World cricket. Unfortunately though, these days seem to be few and far between. Does he truly believe in himself?

Steve Harmison –
It seems as though Harmy will be fighting it out with Anderson for the final position in the side. He needs to show everyone that he can perform on tour after his dismal showing in New Zealand last year. Figures of 0-60 on the first day against West Indies ‘A’ aren’t that encouraging either.

Ryan Sidebottom –
The Nottinghamshire man was England’s leading wicket taker in 2008, so form isn’t something that he needs to prove as such. Instead, because of a long injury lay-off, he needs to prove his fitness. He didn’t look that threatening against West Indies ‘A’. Can he find the same rhythm as last year?

Graham Swann – Swann had a decent series in India that started with him taking two wickets in his first over as a test match player. Whether he has enough to take regular wickets is another matter though. He has to prove that he is in the team for the long haul.

Monty Panesar –
Another England bowler that has had his fair share of criticism in recent months. Many say that he hasn’t progressed enough as a bowler and he will want to use the games against a weak West Indies team to remind everyone what he is capable of.

Adil Rashid – How much this young Yorkshire man will figure this year is questionable. He has been earmarked as one for the future, after all. However, if he is given the chance he will want to tempt the selectors into giving him a run in the team.

So, overall there are too many players that are going into this year without being completely satisfied with either their place in the team, their form or their fitness. The cricket odds still expect England to beat the West Indies, but it will mean that a couple of their bowlers perform above the standards they have been in recent months.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting


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Not a walkover it sounds like.

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