India ODI series

England have announced their 15-man squad for the test series against India that begins in December. National selector Geoff Miller said the selection process was relatively straight forward and I can see what he means. They have been consistent in the selection of players that operated during the summer and not a great deal of risks have been taken, writes Thomas Rooney, exclusively for The Village Cricketer.

There is also an obvious relationship between the test squad and one-day squad. Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen appear keen to have a similar group of players operating in both the short and long version of the game. Highlighting this is fact that of the 11 players who played the last ODI game against South Africa, only two – Samit Patel and Luke Wright – are not in the test squad for the India tour.

The main talking points prior to this squad being announced were surrounding the wicket-keeper position, the second spinner and the extra batsmen following Michael Vaughan’s absence.

In terms of who will be getting the gloves for the first test in India – well, we still don’t know. Both Matt Prior and Tim Ambrose have been selected in a relatively save move from the selectors. They have recognised Ambrose’s failures but have kept faith with him. Something I think will be another trait of the Moores/Pietersen partnership. However, Prior is likely to get the nod for the One Day series and should he perform well, I think the cricket odds will be backing him to keep the gloves for the test matches.

The next significant selection was that of Graeme Swann who will operate alongside Monty Panesar in the spin department. The Nottinghamshire man was picked ahead of Adil Rashid and Samit Patel who were aiming to make their first test squad. Again, this is a rather conservative selection from the selectors. Not that this is a bad thing. Swann has been in and around the England set-up for quite some time now and has performed admirably in the 12 one-day games he has played. It would perhaps have been too much to ask of Patel or Rashid to make their test bow as the second spinner against India in India. Especially at their age.

Finally, let’s discuss the selection of Owais Shah. The player himself said he was surprised at getting the call, but I wasn’t at all. I believe that Pietersen is a huge fan of Shah’s and has a lot of faith in his ability. The new captain promoted the Middlesex batsman to number three in the ODI games, after all. Shah’s selection meant that Ravi Bopara missed out. As you know, I am a big fan of the Essex man, but it appears that Shah’s superior ability to play spin secured his seat on the plane. Bopara will be devastated, but I don’t think he can have too many complaints on this basis. Bopara’s international career is certainly on hold right now and he is in danger of slipping down the pecking order too far.

Anyway, they are the main talking points after England’s squad for India was announced. Everything else was as expected, with the nucleus of the side looking very strong. It has to be said that in terms of cricket betting, India will be favourites to win the series. However, England will be hoping that the feel good factor surrounding the Pietersen era, along with faith in certain players’ ability and consistent selection could help them prosper.


Apologies for the lack of post recently, have been a busy chappie watching England almost throw away the ODI series against India. Fantastic to win a close series and great to see an England ODI side with promise.

Am very excited about the prospect of the International Twenty20 competition. England have an outside chance, but the head says it’ll probably be another competition win for the Canary Yellows. The timing of this competition is a little odd mind, why play it at the same time as the Rugby World Cup?

The Village Cricketer is wondering why Zaheer Khan is such a grumpy chap this summer. Granted he is a fast bowler, so should lack powers of reason and logic, but he seems strangely moody. Any explanations would be more than welcome. Mind you, he is not as bad as Yuvraj Singh, who is fast qualifying for TVC’s most annoying international cricketers’ XI.

Grumpy Khan

Singh, annoying

KP (Telegraph, March 3, 2006): “It’s not a deliberate plan of mine to attack India’s spinners, it’s just the way I play all spin… I feel a bit sorry for the little kid who bowled today.”

KP (Cricinfo, August 29, 2007): “Fair play to the bloke. One of the reasons he’s here is because he knocked [Sachin] Tendulkar over in a trial game a couple of years ago. He’s a good little bowler.”

KP punishes the little kid

Storming victory of England in the first ODI against India, here is what the papers made of it:

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, Cricinfo: India were lethargic on the field and static with the bat. Not only did they lack a fifth bowler but also missed the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth fielder. It might have helped if they had 70 overs to bat. A runner for every batsmen would have come in handy.

Richard Hobson, The Times: With two hundreds from the top three, a Monty Panesar run-out and an outstanding leg-side catch by Matt Prior, England saw fantasy turn into fact at the Rose Bowl last night. Add some 90mph balls by Andrew Flintoff on his international comeback and an incisive first spell by James Anderson and it made for a near-perfect display.

Jonathan Agnew, BBC: Neither Bell nor Cook is known for being comfortable at improvising. But how well they played, and the fact that they have both shown that they are able to score centuries in this form of the game will have a huge impact on their confidence. There were no silly shots and, importantly, no getting out when they were set.

Derek Pringle, Daily Telegraph: Big Freddie bowled fast and furious, his choirboy haircut at odds with the brutal energy he imparted on the ball, which, according to the speedgun, occasionally reached 92mph. It was certainly too much for Mahendra Dhoni, India’s big hitter, taking 60 balls before gloving a short ball from Flintoff behind. There was redemption too for Matt Prior.

Angus Fraser, The Independent: The selection of Cook and Bell ahead of Owais Shah surprised many of those attending a dank and dreary Rose Bowl yet the combination provided England with the pivotal partnership, adding 178 for the second wicket. The pair are two of the less glamourous members of England’s one-day side and it was brain rather than brawn that dominated the 31 overs they spent together.

Paul Weaver, The Guardian: Andrew Flintoff threw back his head and screamed at the night sky like a werewolf. In his comeback match and his first home one-day international for two years he had already bowled heroically fast.