The Next Big Challenge

October 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment


For England, the Ashes was one thing, but now they will want to do well in South Africa. After the Ashes, it is probably the biggest challenge for England and they will want to do well. If not for the reason of showing they are consistent. Consistency is the metric by which you measure a good team.

England won there in 2004/05 in their first series victory over South Africa for 40 years. Can they repeat the effort five years later? It is going to be a gruelling tour – the tour is beginning with two Twenty20 games followed by five one day internationals. Then the four Test series will wrap up the tour.

Four Test matches in a month is a very demanding program and the players are going to be tested mentally and physically. Cricket betting has South Africa as the slight favorites.

England will still have concerns with their squad. Andrew Flintoff is now retired meaning they have to replace two cricketers with one. His all-round skills are going to be lost which is a huge blow for England. In addition there is still the huge question mark regarding the fitness of Kevin Pietersen. Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell are good cricketers but as foils – they aren’t headline acts. This is why Bopara wasn’t included in the squad.

One player who will be a certain selection is Jonathan Trott. His performance against Australia in the decisive Fifth Ashes Test was the stuff of legend and he will provide some much needed steel to the English batting line-up.

Looking at the bowlers, the likes of Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Graham Onions are certain selections. Steve Harmison wasn’t selected as he is a notoriously poor traveller and without the comfort of Flintoff’s company is an even greater risk. Ryan Sidebottom will go as the spare seamer and Adil Rashid as back-up to Swann in the spinning department. Luke Wright is a good selection and will be an able call-up if needed.

Steven Davies will go as the back-up wicket-keeper and will be better off for the experience of touring.

Alastair Cook had a pretty average Ashes and that is being kind to him. It is critical that he performs better in South Africa. Already too much is being left to Andrew Strauss. He has to contribute more at the top of the order.

It should be a fascinating tour and there should be plenty of great cricket played.

David Wiseman writes for this blog.  When not writing about cricket, he writes about the Melbourne Cup
.

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