West Indies versus England, Sabina Park Wed 4th Feb – The England Starting XI I’d Like to See

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england-cricketEngland’s starting XI for the opening test should consist of 5 Bowlers, one spinner, a new look batting lineup and a back-to-form Steve Harmison.  2 Main Debates:

5 versus 4 bowlers?

Let’s face it, on current form and as the warm-up games suggest England don’t have it in their armoury to take 20 wickets in a match. 5 Bowlers to start is therefore a must. Also consider how playing 5 bowlers will take the heat off Freddie Flintoff”s broad shoulders and let him ease back to match fitness. The batting of Stuart Broad at no. 8 also means that England’s tail has been sured up and is not as weak and tragic as in recent years.

Owais Shah versus Ian Bell?

Ian Bell is not one of my favourite England players. He plays very elegantly but lacks substance to warrant such visuals. He is not a consistent performer, supplementing his average average against minnows of the game. When the pressure is on against top test sides he falters. Yet every time his place is unsafe he records a big score, in the process guaranteeing his place for the next tour or series.

Owais Shah is a talented player with a similar grace and elegance of shot who’s been consistently performing on the County circuit and constantly knocking on the England door. He arrives in the Caribbean high on confidence reflected in his century in the opening tour game. Bell’s time should be up. If Shah is given his chance he is likely to grab it with two hands.

My England XI:

  1. Andrew Strauss
  2. Alistair Cook
  3. Owais Shah
  4. Kevin Pietersen
  5. Paul Collingwood
  6. Andrew Flintoff
  7. Matt Prior
  8. Stuart Broad
  9. Steve Harmison
  10. Ryan Sidebottom
  11. Monty Panesar

Tell me who you’d like to see in the opening test . . .


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