Yes, we won the Ashes, something we all kinda thought would happen after Lord’s, then thought would never happen after Headingley then definitely thought should happen after Stuart Broad.
But thanks to the ECB’s decision to exclude the 7 million or so viewers who don’t fancy giving their dollars to Sky there is no call for the nation to celebrate as one. So The Leading Edge will accommodate its necessarily niche audience by looking to the future. So here’s one half of The Leading Edge’s view of what the team should look like for South Africa:
1. Strauss. Of course… Man of the series and the only batsman who the nation really trusts.
2. Key. Its tempting to say Denly, a part of me even fancied Luke Wright, or screw it, even Lord Rory Hamilton-Brown, to make the move. After all Watson proved that you don’t need to be an opening batsman to open the batting. But Key’s the man. He’s done it before and should be solid enough if a little fat.
3. ….which of course opens the door for Cook at 3. He’s good enough to play at test level as the rankings show. Taking the pressure off him could help him immeasurably.
4. KP. Love him or hate him, England are just better with the NOTW hack on the teamsheet. He has that Iron Will to win lacking in the middle order and is just fun to watch.
5. Bell. Although Trott is in consideration, we should not forget Bell’s experience as a No. 5 where his average is much higher. Lest we forget that Bell top scored in the first innings at the Oval when England were on the rack!
6. Prior. Good with the gloves and can counter attack well with….
7. ….Broad. A genuine all rounder who will put on runs with the tail. Does anyone still doubt him as a bowler?
8. Swann. Let’s just forget about Panesar shall we, Swann’s our man even if he was a tad erratic against the Aussies.
9. Anderson. Not always effective but when it swings he’s the best in the world.
10. Harmison. Controversial we know, but what other England bowler is hammering on the door to be Straussies ‘fast and nasty’. Tell Tremlett and Plunkett to take some more wickets and stay fit, but until then its Steve all the way.
11. Onions. As Glenn McGrath used to tell young bowlers, ‘to be great you’ve just got to bowl 99/100 deliveries on off stump.’ Onions may not be the metronome but he’s got the most control in the England attack.
That’s that, not the most inspiring selection I know, but it kept me up all last night as I mused on what a force England would become in the future.