Having Flintoff at 8 is just going too far.
The question is how much of a difference is there between a 5-pronged England attack and a 4-pronged attack. And if Mahmood is the 5th prong, I'd say there's not much of a difference in terms of effectiveness. As such, I'd advocate a specialist batsman at 6, Flintoff (fully fit) at 7 and Read at 8.
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If at any point we could put out a fit & firing attack of Flintoff, Harmison, Hoggard, Jones & Panesar the five-man attack again has merit. Tis a pity none of the last four can bat for toffee tho.
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Its also a bit of a negative move.
It's negative to pick an extra bowler because you don't have faith that your 4 best bowlers can do the job. If England had four specialist bowlers worthy of selection, it would be a different matter. But as things stand, they barely even have 2, so why bother to play a substandard 5th?
That yorker length ball that he blocked through the covers for four was something special though.
But if Jones does prove England's version on Bond then the 4-bowlers could work, but the keeper dilemma would still be up..
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Im not going to go in to why 5 bowlers is a bad idea for the 100th time. Apart from to say that to win Tests you must score more runs than your opponents and virtually every test shows the benefits of guys lower down scoring runs (Pollock, Warne etc) and turning a potentially average total into a good one and being able to salvage an innings if the top order collapses. Also, f you want to win games you have to bowl the opposition out relatively cheaply (generally in under 90 overs) and there are not enough overs in these scenarios for 5 bowlers to bowl equally and heavily, and usually at least 1 bowler is left twiddling his thumbs whilst the others take wickets and bowl overs.
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