My England Xi to Compete in Australia: Part 3
I feel I must lay down a warning at the beginning of this blog. James Anderson is not in my bowling attack. I love Jimmy every England fan does but I do feel the skills he offers will not be needed in Australia, and i just cannot see him fitting in the side in terms of balance.
So today it’s the final part of the series. If you’re sitting here perplexed as to what this is well it’s my team to compete in Australia later this year. In part 1 I discussed the importance of competing and my top 3, https://www.therunoutblog.co.uk/post/my-england-team-to-compete-in-australia-part-1
In part 2 i went for the all important middle order, which was the usual suspects, https://www.therunoutblog.co.uk/post/my-england-team-to-compete-in-australia-part-2
So part 3, today it’s the bowlers; numbers 8-11, the men who win you series. This was the easiest section for me and there will be some honorable mentions. However this will also be my most controversial part of the series and i would love to hear from you (@therunoutblog1 on Twitter). Anyway let's crack on.
So at number 8, well this was a tough one. I did toy with the idea of 5 seamers (something that England could seriously experiment with) but I am a young traditionalist and went with a 4-1 split with Stokes bowling as well. I ended up settling for Ollie Robinson at number 8. It was a call between him and Jofra but I felt Robinson was the right call due to his superior batting record. I can already hear the cries for Chris Woakes and truth be told i was close to selecting the Warwickshire wizard and if Robinson where to get injured he would be straight in, it must be noted that if Woakes carries on the trajectory he is on at the moment where he is consistently gaining control of his line and length then he would most likely start. Robinson offers England very useful attributes for down under. The Sussex metronome has immaculate control of his line and length, good pace, a real bang it in action, and good height and bounce with him coming in at a tower 6’5. Robinson is also capable of throwing down the odd short ball and will help England sustain pressure from both ends for long periods of time. Off course there are arguments that this makes the tail long however Robinson can hold a bat and as mentioned before i firmly believe that Robinson offers more to the side with the ball. Robinson will most likely act as first change and will bowl some tough middle overs with Stokes and the spinner and to be honest i wouldn’t be surprised if we see him feature at some point in the coming year.
Jofra Archer slots in at number 9. Jofra is a simple cricketer and one who the future of England cricket will revolve around. Electric pace, a searing bouncer, immaculate control of his line and length, swing, seam and as my mother once put it “a great arse”; Archer is the perfect bowler. Jofra really chose himself and I think we all agree we want to see him on some fast bouncy wickets toying with his prey. Though i have to say this, we cannot turn one of our best bowlers into some sort of short ball devotee instead we must let Jofra play his game the way he wants to play it, which will often include a good line and length with a hint of movement building and sustaining pressure, with the odd short ball thrown in. Jofra will be pivotal, the success down under and a good series from him helps England so much.
The Nut is in at 10. Leach is a good spinner and a good enough one for this test side. Although the selectors are tempted by Bess and his batting and fielding (both very useful qualities), I believe in Australia you have to play your best spinner and that, undoubtedly, is Leach. A remodel of his action, making it more explosive through the turn by adding more pace to his run up, has seemingly had a good effect on Leach who so far in Sri Lanka has shown glimpses of his ability. The Somerset tweaker has the skills to provide a useful option down under, he has good accuracy and can bowl tight helping keep down the run rate, if there is turn on offer Leach can exploit it and in the 3rd/4th Innings Leach has the ability to attack. Leach’s control allows Root to rotate and rest his seamers accordingly, something which A. will be vital if England go for their faster bowlers and B. he didn’t have last time out with Moeen. Leach is a solid enough player for England and already an Ashes cult hero so can he add to his reputation?
Number 11 was a fairly simple choice. Stuart Broad. Broad was a simple one for a few reasons. First he is England's attack leader in the form of his life and has not let England down over the past 24 months. Second he has David Warner doing tik tok dances at the crease with his bowling. Third, Broad wasn’t apart of the 2010/11 series and was mediocre in the time he was there eventually being overshadowed by Tremlett, in 2013/14 he was a glimmer of hope and in 2017/18 he was fairly standard, so Broad will be chomping at the bit to be apart of a winning team down under, show what he’s made off and be England's attack leader against the old enemy. We all know that Broad gets into an Ashes contest more than anyone and he is England's most valuable bowler not only at the moment but for the coming years.
Ok so now my honorable mentions for the bowlers. Mark Wood and Olly Stone where both in contention and if Archer or Broad go down i would bring one of them in, the aforementioned Woakes was also very close to being picked, Craig Overton was in the mix with his extra yard of pace and experience in Australia (albeit minimal experience), and Jimmy Anderson was off course close and i wouldn’t be surprised to see him play. Dom Bess was the only other spinner to rival Leach and I just feel that for now Leach is the superior spinner, but with a top order filled with primarily right handers Leach did pip him.
So there we have my Xi to compete in Australia. The full Xi reads as follows.
Joe Root ©
Jos Buttler (Wk)
12th man: Chris Woakes.
I do feel this England team is special. The likes of Crawley, Pope, Archer, Robinson, and Lawrence are all exciting players who will not go down without a fight and by god will they have to fight against Australia. But for now let us relax and just imagine the scenes when Ollie Pope raises his bat for the 4th time in the series to seal England's 5-0 win at the SCG and the press conference after in which Justin Langer formally apologises to all bins in the Sydney area and Pat Cummins retires claiming “i mean this ginger kid he’s just too good”.