Following England’s collapse against Pakistan in the first test in Dubai, questions should be raised about Andy Flowers’ team management. With the increased humidity in Dubai, spin did for the English batsmen – and a lack of it blunted England’s bowling attack.
Prior to the series England spin merchant Graeme Swann had called for cult favourite Monty Panesar to join him in a two spinner attack. According to a Telegraph.co.uk poll last Friday, 80% of the public back the move.
Pragmatic Flowers would be naturally wary of losing another batting place, but even Panesar’s limited skills at the crease could have bettered many of the English top order.
Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen – all of whom failed to reach double figures in either innings – highlighted a lack of preparedness. Reports have now surfaced that the batting line-up is currently having extended sessions with a bowling machine called “Merlyn”, which can purportedly replicate any player’s bowling action, in a bid to prepare for the second test.
Flowers, while acknowledging an improvement is needed, seems keen to stress that tweaking, not overhauling strategy is the answer. “Our batsmen have a pretty good record against spin, so I don’t think it’s a matter of reinventing the wheel,” he said, according to the Guardian.
That maybe true of technique, but in terms of the team sheet and preparation, a reinvention is exactly what England needs.
MANAGEMENT UPS AND DOWNS
Only one team in this year’s NFL playoffs had a worse regular season record than Coughlin’s New York Giants. But following a string of “post season” victories – including one over the Green Bay Packers, the team with this year’s best record and last years champs – Coughlin’s Giants have found themselves facing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
As well as Spurs’ loss in a controversial top-of-the-table clash (or should that be stamp) with Man City, ‘Arry is facing the music over tax evasion charges at Southwark crown court – along with his former club Portsmouth’s owner, Milan Mandaric.