Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Clinical England destroy Pakistan

What a day to be a fan of English cricket? And, my oh my, how many days not to be fan of English cricket have been endured? Most of my memories of growing up revolves around the travails, and more often than not failures, of such international stars as Chris Lewis, Graeme Hick, Mark Ramprakash and Mark Ealham or earlier models such as Derek Pringle, Bill Athey, Kim Barnett. It hurts, it hurts.
We have been spoilt in recent times. And long may it continue. The positives are abundant and don't really need my pointing out although this post would be even more redundant if I didn't extol England's stars.
Andrew Strauss, through both his second innings century and captaining; Monty Panesar; Kevin Pietersen; Ian Bell; Sajid Mahmood; Marcus Trescothick and Chris Read all contributed magnificently.
I am so happy for Chris Read. At last. He has been waiting in the shadows for too long. And Monty just gets better and better.
Of course, there remain some concerns Hoggard and Harmison didn't excel in this test and to beat the Australians we will need all of our bowlers firing on all cylinders at the same time.
I think Strauss has now done enough to retain the captaincy for the Ashes and that will allow Freddie to concentrate solely on his batting, bowling, fitness and slip fielding - it's enough to be getting on with. Actually, with Vaughan's continued absence through injury, Strauss should be given the captaincy on a full-time and permanent basis.
The Ashes squad should be the XI in this team plus Freddie, Liam Plunkett/Stuart Broad, Ed Joyce/Robert Key, Giles (if fit. If not Jamie Dalrymple or Alex Loudon) and James Foster.

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