Thursday, August 10, 2006

England name 30-man preliminary Champions Trophy squad

Mal Loye (Lancashire) - One of the last decade and a bit's nearly men. Never quite made it, but has now been named in the preliminary squad. His one-day pedigree is unquestionable and although I would not have him in my first choice XI, England's seemingly never-ending injury worries may see him get in. Given that he is over 30 a couple of failures wouls seem him banished back to county cricket, but a couple of typical Loye knocks could see him enjoy an Indian summer in the one-day format.

Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire)
- What a fickle game cricket can be: last week I would have said 'no' this week he scores a 'probably'. Raw pace, agression and bounce. It's what English cricket fans are licking their lips for.

Graham Onions (Durham)
- I must admit I have never seen him bowl live. He has got loads of wickets this season, but I think he needs a season or two more of consistency to warrant his place in the squad. His silly surname may yet become the darling of tabloid headlines. Onions (runs) Rings get my drift. Any why not?

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)
- Of course. Simply magnificent.

Liam Plunkett (Durham)
- Tricky. Has enormous potential, which is yet to be fulfilled in the international arena. I put great emphasis on 'yet'. I think his time will come but possibly in test cricket. For me it is between him and Mahmood and current form points to Mahmood.

Chris Read (Nottinghamshire)
Altogether now. England's number 1.

Vikram Solanki (Worcestershire)
- Not so much drinking at the last chance saloon but necking tequlia straight from the bottle. Simply not up to it. Has had chances galore and at 30 is unlikely to develop. Sorry, but a resounding no.

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex)
- Will be in the team. Should be captain and should open. Easy.

Marcus Trescothick (Somerset)
- England's other opener and senior player.

Michael Yardy (Sussex)
- I like Yardy. Rather than yardies. His batting is solid and his bowling is improving. I just think the same triumvirate that do for Giles (at least in my mind) also do for Yardy especially given our strength in depth in the batting department. A 'no' but only just.

I'm just glad there's no kabir ali.

you think they'll play goughie?

i would be very surprised if gough wasn't taken
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