I think we are 99.9% sure of who the Ashes XI will be. We have 10 core players I'm (and most) are almost certain will play every game if fit which are:
On all the grounds barring Cardiff, I think Onions will play. Lord's (if it is the same as the test vs WI), Headingley and Edgbaston allow for swing if the atmospheric conditions are right. The Oval is pretty flat but that's the last test so we'll judge accordingly.
At Cardiff I will be shocked if Panesar doesn't play. If he bowls especially well, he could play @ Edgbaston since offies do well there as a rule.
The only problem I see is if Freddie isn't fit.
All-Time Test XI:
Gavaskar, Boycott, Tendulkar, G.Pollock, V.Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist (wk), Warne (c), Waqar/Wasim, Lillee, Ambrose.
Who would u have in there if freddie isnt fit? An extra bowler or an extra batsman? onions or bell?
No matter how well Onions did against the West Indies I think Sidebottom, who has hardly played much cricket in the last year will play. Onions will be the reserve bowler.
Panesar's form isn't very good this year. I think if they did play two spinners Rashid might be in contention as the second spinner especially if he plays and does well in the 20/20s even though it is a different format.
I see Flintoff playing as a batsman only on the 11th June for Lancs, batting and bowling on the 17th and then playing in the England XI v Warks game.
Freddie is in the team because of his bowling. His batting is very hit and miss.
I'd have Onions.
Panesar hasn't been in great form, but I still think in tests he is above Rashid in the pecking order. Rashid is in the lmited overs team(s) because he can bat as well as bowl.
Flintoff has the ability to not bowl a ball in anger in a game and then come back in a test and be dead on from the first ball. It's really incredible. His batting on the other hand requires him to spend a lot of time in the middle, hopefully more than a few innings.
I would play the exact same team that beat West Indies at home with Flintoff in for Bresnan (obviously).
I'd pick Sidebottom ahead of Onions, at least for the first 2 tests, he's looking as though he's fitter now. If we have Sidey and Jimmeh opening the bowling in swinging conditions we might have a chance to knock a few over, especially if Fred is coming on firing at first change.
If i was picking the side I put Flintoff at 8 or probably 9 and say right Fred, show us you deserve to be higher.
Decent lower order...if Anderson is required for NW, Flintoff could be batting at 10, he'd love that
Last edited by superkingdave; 13-06-2009 at 12:32 PM.
Dave Mohammed >>>> You
Well if the ball isn't swinging then Onions will offer more than Sidebottom.
2009 first class bowling
210.1 overs 42 wickets at 15.14 econ 3.02 s/r 30.0 - Onions
160.0 overs 9 wickets at 51.88 econ 2.91 s/r 106.6 - Sidebottom
I think we'll go with this side at Cardiff:
There is a genuine case for Flintoff to bat 8/9 as dav said, I think he'll finally play a full series (if he stays fit) as a 7 though. Prior is too good to not be in the top six.
Same team as dav I think, just a different batting order. I think Sidebottom V Onions is the only question being asked at this point.
Onions will probably get a game at some point though. Don't think we'll see Panesar or Vaughan all series, Bell is the first batsman in the queue I'd imagine.
I'd be totally happy with that team posted. It looks quite promising, actually.
A real worry to see Foster standing up to Sidebottom last night
If he's incapable of backing up or simply bowling medium pace, then he shouldnt be anywhere near the squad
Yeah, Jack Russell stood up to Mike Smith, Ian Harvey and Jonathan Lewis, all of whom were capable of bowling 84-85 mph, in one-day cricket. They were simply accurate enough that a good wicketkeeper, like Russell (and Foster is the same) could stand up for a relatively short time.
Obviously such a thing would never happen in a Test barring exceptional circumstances.
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