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Thread: Worst Selection Decisions

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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    Worst Selection Decisions

    I am sure there have been worse than this, but pre-2006-07 Ashes I remember it being announced that Fletcher had lost the plot and done the following:

    Jones in for Read- Jones was a poor wicket keeper who could on occasion look good with the bat. Read was a far superior keeper who didn't look pretty with the bat but had improved vastly with it and done everything asked of him.

    Giles for Panesar- The Aussies regarded Giles as a joke. Monty eventually came in and took 8 wickets at Perth. Giles retired with an average over 40.

    Anderson for Mahmood- Doesn't look bad now, but at the time Jimmy hadn't played any cricket for months and was hammered by the Aussie batsman.
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    Dropping Bradman.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    In 2006/07, neither Anderson nor Mahmood should've been anywhere near Test cricket - it was ridiculous that Anderson was even in the Test party. Giles, like Anderson, had not even played for a year - should never have been in the Test party.

    Don't have so much of a problem with Jones replacing Read as at that point there was nothing between them - both decent wicketkeepers and hopeless batsmen. Whoever was picked it really wasn't going to make any difference.

    These howlers, however, look like masterstrokes when compared to the decision to pick a 30-year-old Australian who'd barely played any First-Class cricket at home never mind in England for a Test in 2008. And at least Giles and Anderson, who hadn't played for a year in 2006/07, were decent players; the same cannot be said of Amjad Khan, who in 2009 was picked for a Test which was his 7th First-Class game in over 2-and-a-half years. Picking a poor player is one thing; picking a player who's barely played for an eternity is another thing. Doing both in the same piece of selection is the sort of thing that anyone with two eyes and a vague knowledge of cricket should be capable of avoiding. It seriously worries me that those in charge of the England team did it.
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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    In 2006/07, neither Anderson nor Mahmood should've been anywhere near Test cricket - it was ridiculous that Anderson was even in the Test party. Giles, like Anderson, had not even played for a year - should never have been in the Test party.

    Don't have so much of a problem with Jones replacing Read as at that point there was nothing between them - both decent wicketkeepers and hopeless batsmen. Whoever was picked it really wasn't going to make any difference.

    These howlers, however, look like masterstrokes when compared to the decision to pick a 30-year-old Australian who'd barely played any First-Class cricket at home never mind in England for a Test in 2008. And at least Giles and Anderson, who hadn't played for a year in 2006/07, were decent players; the same cannot be said of Amjad Khan, who in 2009 was picked for a Test which was his 7th First-Class game in over 2-and-a-half years. Picking a poor player is one thing; picking a player who's barely played for an eternity is another thing. Doing both in the same piece of selection is the sort of thing that anyone with two eyes and a vague knowledge of cricket should be capable of avoiding. It seriously worries me that those in charge of the England team did it.

    Come on, Richard, Read was a far better keeper than Jones. Clearly there for all to see. I will grant you that neither were test class with the bat, but Jones wasn't test class for either.

    I agree with your other points.


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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromLancs View Post
    Come on, Richard, Read was a far better keeper than Jones. Clearly there for all to see. I will grant you that neither were test class with the bat, but Jones wasn't test class for either.
    When are we talking? 2004 or 2006/07? Read was indeed a far better wicketkeeper in 2004 than Jones but Jones got markedly better in 2005/06 and by 2006/07 was pretty decent. Read had far more finesse but wasn't really that much better any more, and also did not fit well with the England slip cordon as his style was markedly different to Jones'. Both by then were hopeless with the bat.

    In 2004 we now know both were hopeless with the bat as well, but Jones appeared to have a lot going for him in terms of his batting at that point; Read had already had his shortcomings exposed. I don't have any problem with the decision to drop Read for Jones in 2004 - in fact I supported it; in 2006/07 as I say I wouldn't really have had any truck whichever way they decided to go because it was not going to make any difference and neither had any convincing case.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromLancs View Post
    I am sure there have been worse than this, but pre-2006-07 Ashes I remember it being announced that Fletcher had lost the plot and done the following:

    Jones in for Read- Jones was a poor wicket keeper who could on occasion look good with the bat. Read was a far superior keeper who didn't look pretty with the bat but had improved vastly with it and done everything asked of him.

    Giles for Panesar- The Aussies regarded Giles as a joke. Monty eventually came in and took 8 wickets at Perth. Giles retired with an average over 40.

    Anderson for Mahmood- Doesn't look bad now, but at the time Jimmy hadn't played any cricket for months and was hammered by the Aussie batsman.

    Donkey Panesar isn't far behind Giles in the joke bowler stakes. Given finger spin was never going to be a significant factor Giles was the right selection. Donkey just got some free wickets through Australian arrogance and luck. Now the guy can't even buy a wicket in county cricket.
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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    When are we talking? 2004 or 2006/07? Read was indeed a far better wicketkeeper in 2004 than Jones but Jones got markedly better in 2005/06 and by 2006/07 was pretty decent. Read had far more finesse but wasn't really that much better any more, and also did not fit well with the England slip cordon as his style was markedly different to Jones'. Both by then were hopeless with the bat.

    In 2004 we now know both were hopeless with the bat as well, but Jones appeared to have a lot going for him in terms of his batting at that point; Read had already had his shortcomings exposed. I don't have any problem with the decision to drop Read for Jones in 2004 - in fact I supported it; in 2006/07 as I say I wouldn't really have had any truck whichever way they decided to go because it was not going to make any difference and neither had any convincing case.

    We are talking "full stop". Read was a better wicketkeeper than Jones per sa, by definition. Jones was such a poor keeper he installed a sense of dread in the spectator when the batsman nicked one. By 06/7 he was also a terrible batsman and apart from the odd pleasing on the eye stroke was never really a good batsman, ever.

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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaly piscine View Post
    Donkey Panesar isn't far behind Giles in the joke bowler stakes. Given finger spin was never going to be a significant factor Giles was the right selection. Donkey just got some free wickets through Australian arrogance and luck. Now the guy can't even buy a wicket in county cricket.
    The fact is that finger spin was our only option, and at the time Monty was the best in the country by far.

  9. #9
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Here's a few from slightly further back:

    The decision to pick Wayne Larkins for the tours of West Indies in 1990 and Australia in 1990/91; wtf? All I know is that Larkins was a long, long, long way short of being good enough for Test cricket and that that was obvious. I don't know if there were any who had a clearly better case, maybe our friend David could give us some insight there. But it was 20 years ago now () so I'd forgive if not.

    David Capel getting recalled for the tour of West Indies in 1990; again, wtf? Wasn't it pretty obvious by then (if it wasn't before he was even picked ITFP) that he was miles short of requirements.

    Ditto Derek Pringle in 1991, 1991/92 and 1992.

    All right, Neil Williams only played his single Test because Chris Lewis woke-up with a migraine. But there was at the very, very, very least one bowler who should've played rather than him, Martin Bicknell - if there weren't others I'll be surprised.

    Ian Botham being recalled in 1991, 1991/92 and 1992. Was clearly no longer in a remotely fit state to play Test cricket. And it made it worse that the legacy of a once superlative player was tainted by the overweight incompetant that turned-up (or perhaps more accurately didn't) for those last 5 games.

    Dermot Reeve playing Test cricket.

    John Emburey's recalls in 1993 and, worse, 1995. He was in his middle-age ffs.

    Recalling Neil Foster in 1993 when his body was so crocked by then that he retired a week after the Test he was picked for. What was worse he replaced Phillip DeFreitas who was about the only semi-decent England bowler at that point.

    Mike Watkinson playing Test cricket. Now then, yes, he did indeed play important roles in his first two Tests, but he was 35, had never remotely excelled as batsman or bowler over a long career, and if Darren Gough had to be replaced (and let's be honest, he did), then a specialist bowler might've been a better bet, no?

    19-year-old Ben Hollioake playing Tests in 1997 basically because he'd done well at under-19 level.

    Chris Schofield playing Test cricket in 2000. I don't care if Robert Croft was no use in home Tests; he was a damn sight more use than Schofield was ever going to be.

    In 2001, Usman Afzaal playing Test cricket, and Ian Ward as a middle-order batsman (in Ward's case in the only season of his 7 where he was unable to produce the goods). There were at least 3-4 batsmen with better cases.

    But the worst of the lot, until Pattinson and Amjad Khan, surely has to be Richard Dawson's elevation to Test level in 2001/02. Honestly, you could not wish to see a bowler with less to recommend him - even if he was only taken on his first tour with the intention of "gaining experience". Hardly spun the ball, never got any drift because his arm was too high, did not bowl with great flight therefore got no loop, and basically obviously was never, ever going to amount to anything. Gareth Batty in 2003/04 wasn't great either but he was at least marginally better than Dawson.

    But it is run close by the decision to pick Anthony McGrath with all-round skills in mind. It'd have been bad enough if he'd been picked as a specialist batsman; as an all-rounder, oh dear, no.

    Ian Blackwell and Liam Plunkett were shockers in 2005/06 as well, of course. And Saj in 2006 needs no mention.

    And you can give a convincing case as to why John Morris, David Lawrence, Neil Mallender, Paul Taylor, Richard Blakey, Mark Lathwell, Alan Igglesden, Stephen Rhodes, Joey Benjamin, Jason Gallian, Alan Wells, Ronnie Irani, Min Patel, Mark Ealham, Simon Brown, Chris Silverwood, Adam Hollioake, Warren Hegg, Chris Read, Ed Giddins, Darren Maddy, Chris Adams, James Foster, James Kirtley, Ed Smith, Martin Saggers, Shaun Udal and Chris Tremlett should not have played either. But at least they were all decent cricketers, unlike those detailed above.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    There's an element of a lottery about all selection decisions and a brave but ultimately failed punt shouldn't necessarily be castigated

    David Steele is a good example - seemed incredible to pitch a bloke in against Lillee and Thomson who only played off the front foot - didn't stop him hooking, not very safely in truth, but he had a bit of luck early in his first innings and avoided picking out the fielders on the square leg/fine leg boundary and a few months later was BBC Sports Personality of the year and the selectors were lauded - he could just have easily have picked up a pair and was a way short of international class ITBT

    Chris Schofield on the other hand was a terrible selection - even if it was against Zim in May

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromLancs View Post
    We are talking "full stop". Read was a better wicketkeeper than Jones per sa, by definition. Jones was such a poor keeper he installed a sense of dread in the spectator when the batsman nicked one.
    That isn't true. There is no "talking full-stop" to the Jones-wicketkeeper case because he was so much better by 2006 than he was in 2004 that it was difficult to recognise the same player. Read isn't quite as good a wicketkeeper as he was often made-out to be. There was indeed a time when Read was miles ahead of Jones, but there was also a time when there wasn't a lot between them.
    By 06/7 he was also a terrible batsman and apart from the odd pleasing on the eye stroke was never really a good batsman, ever.
    We can say that with hindsight, yes, but throughout Jones' career I and many others (including the England coach) maintained faith in Jones' batting and believed he had it in him to come good.

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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    I thought Tremlett might have had a future. Watching the India in England test matches in 07 I quite fancied an attack that had him, Flintoff and possibly Harmison in it for the more seamer friendly tracks.

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    State Regular GuyFromLancs's Avatar
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    That isn't true. There is no "talking full-stop" to the Jones-wicketkeeper case because he was so much better by 2006 than he was in 2004 that it was difficult to recognise the same player. Read isn't quite as good a wicketkeeper as he was often made-out to be. There was indeed a time when Read was miles ahead of Jones, but there was also a time when there wasn't a lot between them.
    We can say that with hindsight, yes, but throughout Jones' career I and many others (including the England coach) maintained faith in Jones' batting and believed he had it in him to come good
    I can quite honestly say that I never rated him as a player because I never rated his abilities in isolation. I thought he was picked because he was a good moral boosting team man who was good to have in the dressing room, etc.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    There's an element of a lottery about all selection decisions and a brave but ultimately failed punt shouldn't necessarily be castigated
    Hmm, I think it should TBH. No selection can be foolproof but in my book it's not often difficult to pinpoint those with the best chance of success. Taking a punt on someone with a lesser case than someone else might work occasionally but on the overwhelming majority of occasions it'll fall flat on its face. The fact that the occasions when it works attract attention tends to disguise this.

    You give the Steele example, and state why it could so easily have fallen flat on its face. Steele's case is regarded with such wonder - emphasised in his BBC SPOTY victory - precisely because it was so insanely improbable. Steele touched the hearts and minds of people because he was one of the most unlikely heroes in history.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromLancs View Post
    I thought Tremlett might have had a future. Watching the India in England test matches in 07 I quite fancied an attack that had him, Flintoff and possibly Harmison in it for the more seamer friendly tracks.
    Everyone's always thought Tremlett could have a future. He was said - rightly - to be a player with potential in 2001 and now, in 2010, he remains exactly the same thing. Tremlett has gone nowhere all career. And he was picked for Tests purely on the hope that he might start going somewhere at that point. Sure enough, it didn't happen.

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