My England team to compete in Australia.
On the 23rd of November, later this year, 11 England players will walk out at the Gabba to start one of English crickets most important series in recent times. The amount of focus put on this series by the likes of Root and Silverwood and of course the media is ever growing and one can only imagine the atmosphere at Brisbane. I do feel I must mention that this series is not about winning, although it would be nice, it’s a series about redemption for Root and this England side competing. Root is yet to win a test in Australia and also yet to make a 100 down under and has been very open about his desire to scratch both of those off as well as win back urn from the ever steady gloves of Tim Paine and co. England do have the ingredients to mess with the best but they need to find a recipe to do so. India have shown England an effective plan by having bowlers with great control and building pressure from both ends and not letting up and then with the bat playing the conditions digging in and scoring when runs are to be had. England will be desperate to show they can fight and this is a team i believe are capable of doing so.
This is the first in a 3 part series covering the whole Xi and today i’m starting with my top 3 (no surprises who i’m choosing).
So lets get tucked in.
The first three are crucial in somewhere like Australia. Not only do they have to get you off to a good start in terms of tempo and runs but they have to negate any early movement. You look at any side who have had success in Aus they have had a solid top 3. South Africa had Smith and Amla, England had Cook Strauss and Trott, And India had Pujara. When i say this i mean it, a good series from one of your top 3 makes winning in Australia a lot easier.
The top 3 in this side does chose itself.
To open i have opted with Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley.
Burns may be a contentious issue after a mediorce summer in which he missed out on a half century and struggled against the left arm of Shaheen. However there simply is no one else to do it, of course Zak Crawley is another option but i feel Crawley is an ideal number 3 and i’ll explain why later. But Burns being the only one to partner Sibley isn’t the only reason why England should stick with him. Burns has faced this Australian attack before in much harder conditions, for an opener, with relative success scoring his maiden test ton and finishing as Englands second highest run scorer behind Ben Stokes. On top of this his partnership with Sibley is still growing and settling and the benefits of having stable openers who know each other is monumental to the development of a test side. Furthermore Burns has shown vast improvements against pace bowling and will only get better. Burns is a solid choice at the top of the order and i fully expect him to be facing Englands first ball at the Gabba.
To partner Burns, it’s the Warwickshire wall himself Dom Sibley. Sibley is a key part of the test side at the moment having cemented his spot in the side this summer with his 2nd test century and 2 fifties to match, which took from young pretender to a reliable asset. England have given Sibley their full support and backing despite his slow scoring rate but i do believe that when Sibely has become more assured of his place in the side this is bound to change. Sibleys innings in the 1st innings of the 3rd test of South Africa was the true Sibley. Brimming with confidence after his stellar 133* he cut and drove, when appropriate, and was out caught round the corner (an issue he has seemingly worked on and relinquished himself of). So if Sibley plays all the tests in the run up to the Ashes, injuries permitting, i feel by then he will be a totally different player and capable of batting for long periods of time whilst accumulating runs to make his hundreds into big hundreds. Sibleys game against spin is still weak but will undoubtedly improve over the winter and i feel confident in his ability to help England down under- please read down under in a thick Aussie accent as it’s intended.
At number 3 is the man himself Zak Crawley. Crawley, creepy, the boy (as Ted Dexter has referred to him in Wisden Cricket Monthly), is a fantastic player and the ideal number 3 for England going forward. A wicket falls early and the opposition feel as if they’re on top, Crawley has the ability, and application, to keep out their good balls whilst strumming it to make sure the momentum falls back to equilibrium. The openered get off to a flyer on an easy scoring pitch, Crawley is more than capable of keeping the momentum going and helping his side out. Honestly no matter the situation he can work. In Australia a good tempo is key and momentum is vital to a good series. Get intimidated and cower early well the quicks will hunt you down and embarrass you in front of thousands and then their batsmen will dismantle even the best of you. Yet stay on top or equal to them show them you have what it takes and things seem different the cries of “Howzat!!” turn into a meek “nice one Garry” and the Aussies don’t know how to respond. Crawley has what it takes. At a tower 6’6 his BFG esq limbs help him rock onto the backfoot and hook whilst also allowing him to tuck into a full ball with a check drive, his ability to play the ball late and his temperament will be crucial for his success down under- accent please! Honestly i could talk about Crawley all day and when he gets his double at the Gabba i probably will, but until then i shall say would you really drop him or move him. No? Yeah neither would I.
So there we have it the first in this brand new 3 part series. Do you agree with my selection? Who would you have had? Is there anything i missed out both negative and positive? Let me know @therunoutblog1 on Twitter!