This entry was posted on Thursday, November 23rd, 2006 @ 12:34 am on the category cricket.
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This Panesar thing is getting out of control Chris. The guy’s not that good. He can’t bat and can’t field and his bowling is really not good enough to justify inclusion on its own merits. He had one or two good matches against India on favourable pitches but looked very weak in the warm-ups in Australia and has serious problems that haven’t even nearly been ironed out yet – it is quite a trick to lack both consistency and variety but Monty manages it.
Jones I think you have more of a point about because he is just terrible, but we need someone who can bat. I don’t think that Jones can actually bat against top quality opposition, but there is some logic to the idea if you base it on that false premise.
Yes, but Panesar is far more likely to take wickets than Giles, who has never been that impressive and who hasn’t played for a year. It’s just ultra-caution. Giles’ batting and fielding aren’t that hot either.
I agree Panesar is still something of an unknown quantity — we just don’t know how well he’s likely to perform against Australia, and he might be awful. And not having the TV pictures last summer, I’ve probably watched him bowling for less than a couple of hours in all, and it may be that when I see more of him, I’ll decide he’s over-rated. And of course he can’t bat or field, no argument there.
But his record in ten Tests is impressive, and seriously good batsmen who regularly play against the best spinners in the world make up a decent proportion of the people he’s got out (starting with Tendulkar). He averages 32 to Giles’ 39, and Giles has consistently bowled less well against Australia (average 50+) than against other sides. He also showed over the Summer that as well as bowling aggressively to hunt for wickets, he could bowl long defensive spells, and that’s quite useful with a pace attack in as unreliable form as England’s are at the moment.
You win matches by taking 20 wickets, and you take 20 wickets by playing your best attack. That means Panesar playing, with Read behind the stumps. It’s not easy to get Australia out twice in 5 days, and sacrificing a few runs by having Panesar batting instead of Giles (who only averages 15 against Australia, anyway) is a small price to pay.
Up till now I’ve been quite fond of Giles, and I was there in Bangalore when he was chucking it down the leg side to try to prevent Tendulkar scoring runs, which Wisden later went apeshit about, but which seemed to me to be a pretty good tactic in the circumstances. But Giles isn’t a good enough bowler to command a place in the side when a potentially very very good spinner comes along, and Panesar is (potentially) very good indeed — but we’ll never find out just how good he is if Fletcher keeps picking his teams quite so defensively.
I think your captaincy’s much too aggressive for the series. The trouble is that winning is basically out of the question for England – that was screwed when we knew that Simon Jones wouldn’t be making the trip. They need to save draws in the early tests and hope for a favourable balance of injuries (a lot of this series is going to be decided by attrition). That means, in practical terms, trying to make sure that Strauss doesn’t run out of partners. A specialist wicketkeeper is a luxury that we just can’t afford if Collingwood and Cook are in 4 and 5 (which I presume they are?)
Which means Giles and Jones; Giles doesn’t score runs but he knows what he’s doing and can hold up his end, and Jones is at least in principle a batting keeper. With Read and Panesar in there, we would have to not only get Australia out, but get them out cheaply and then score quickly ourselves.
Look at how things have gone to date in the first test – if we presume that Panesar would have got the same wicket that Giles did, would you really now rather be going into day 2 with P&R rather than G&J? With P&R it would be basically game over already, while with the lineup we have, there is at least a (admittedly slim) chance of grinding out a draw which would be a moral victory.
Panesar’s record is good but it has all been established on spin-friendly wickets. He is too quick to get much turn in Australia and doesn’t (yet) know how to adapt. Until he does, he is basically a medium-pace bowler whose function is to give Flintoff and Harmison a rest – which is exactly the function of Ashley Giles. He can be given experience later but for now the priority has to be to keep the patient alive.
(admittedly I say this from the position of a Panesar-sceptic on the bowling. There are loads and loads of spinners who took a few big scalps through sheer novelty early on, but when we say “has the potential to be very good indeed”, we’re talking about “basically maybe a bit better than Tufnell” here rather than a new Warne aren’t we?)
Come on, Panesar has quite a lot of variety for an English finger-spinner as well as the ability to turn the ball. There’s no reason why Australian wickets will be less spin-friendly than English ones.
D squared- is that a pseudonym for Duncan Fletcher? You seem to share his negative approach.
And Giles bowling way down Tendulkar’s leg side was a disgraceful tactic which if followed regularly would turn anyone off watching cricket. Far too many people think it’s a boring game as it is.
Australian wickets are hard and smooth; I thought it was more or less a given that you need to bowl higher and slower than on English or Indian wickets.
I am banging the drum for hard-headed realism here. If Chris will permit me to abuse his post title, it is quite clear that England *don’t* deserve to win, with or without Panesar and never have done – this series is all about trying to maximise our slim chance of hanging on to the Ashes undeservingly. The choice in the first test is and always has been lose or draw, and I’ll pick “draw”.
Remember that we’re defending the Ashes, not trying to win them. Given the squad we have (net of three massively important injuries), a negative, spoiling approach is the only sensible one. We can turn the world onto the thrills of exciting cricket in some other series. If we lose the Ashes then it clearly needs to be game over for Ashley Giles as he would have no long-term place, but for the time being it’s the sensible way.
I’d agree. Drawing the series would be good. However, Panesar is also an effective defensive bowler. The issue is that on Day 5 of this game, when we’re batting to save the game, it’s tea, we’re 6 down, Giles is more likely to stay in and get us the draw than Panesar. Incidentally, I think Panesar’s rabbit qualities are overplayed but there you go.
Same argument as Jones v Read. You could make the perverse argument that we don’t want to take all our chances as it potentially leaves us with less time to bat….Remember, you have to take 20w to win a game
The scenario is now so horrific that it is almost impossible to tell who would have been the best picks. I think it would have been best to start with Panesar, though that is with the hindsight of the abject failure of Harmison.
My theory is as follows. There was very little chance of this match being a draw, as the wicket is good enough for Australia to score at upto four an over, meaning that a result would be forced well within five days. Certainly Giles scratching around for twenty or so runs in each innings was never going to get us a draw. What we had to do, to avoid defeat, is take twenty wickets.
With Harmison suffering appallingly, and little movement for Anderson and Hoggard, we’ve been left with one strike bowler, Fred. I know Monty is unproven, but he might have taken wickets, (imagine if he’d got Ponting early.) You might say that Monty wouldn’t have turned it, but Pietersen turned it on the first day, and Monty would surely have been helped by extra bounce. Giles was never going to take enough wickets to win us the game.
The only hope now, (and I mean hope in its ridiculous, impossible, unfounded sense), is for Pietersen and Bell to score huge centuries, (double tons anyone?) That might sneak us a draw.