The Test side is at this moment still unsure of almost everything, writes Ted Corbett
This summer may prove to be one of the most important of all time for much-maligned England as it tries to rebuild. It will succeed — even the Royal family are trying to help.
No-one needs to be reminded that the Test side is at this moment still unsure of almost everything from the captaincy to its best opening partnership.
It must have been this novelty in the land of Hobbs, Hutton, Boycott, Trescothick and Strauss that caused the Duchess of Cambridge to test her batting skills during their tour of New Zealand. Not to worry; there is no secret plan. The selectors have made strange decisions recently but even allowing for a tight red skirt and high heels in a debut innings the Duchess showed no form to suggest she may partner Alastair Cook any time soon.
Nor will the Duke — an off-key bowler — be offered the captaincy or a place behind the stumps. Charlotte Edwards, a great success leading the women’s side, will get the job ahead of the Duke.
You see the selection problem. Kevin Pietersen has gone, to have a closer relationship with his bank balance, even though the papers are inexplicably full of quotes from former teammates singing his praises.
Why did they wait until the remote top men from the ECB ruled he must never darken the dressing room doors again? Surely one of these friends could have spoken on his behalf; now it’s too late.
Joe Root is still nursing the broken finger that showed he is a batsman with courage.
There is a chorus chanting that England must go back to Nick Compton, but Compton is too similar to Jonathan Trott and Cook so that each day threatens to end 250 for three or thereabouts.
Matt Prior, discarded in Australia, will probably keep wicket as he already has runs behind him and Cook who scored a hundred this week will probably be captain because “there is no-one else.”
Jonny Bairstow was the obvious alternative to Prior but he is out for two months with a broken finger.
“No-one else” — what rubbish. There is always someone else in a land where 18 county captains every day have to decide the consequences of winning the toss, who will play and which end suits which bowler. It is harder in Tests but to say there is no-one else is either an excuse or a lack of understanding.Giles may get the nod
Interviews have begun to find the new coach although I swear it will be Ashley Giles despite the best efforts of sensible commentators.
When England flew off to Australia it had six fast bowlers ready for heaven alone knows what. Only Stuart Broad showed signs of genuine skill and aggression on that tour but now there seems to be hope in the heavily muscled body of Chris Jordan who shaped up well at the tour’s end and in the World T20.
He is quick, athletic in the field and he can bat so there is hope, if he can stay fit and given adequate support. As for a spinner, don’t look around expecting to see one on the horizon. That cupboard is bare since Graeme Swann retired.
At least the Tests against Sri Lanka will give Giles the chance to settle down before the more exacting battle against triumphant India. That will prove who is fit to represent England; but on current form it is more likely to prove who is unfit to serve.