Supposedly England's best 22 Twenty20 players squared up against one another in Dubai today, and the 'second string' came out on top, largely thanks to 3 frugal wickets from Adil Rashid and 81 more bludgeoned runs from Craig Kieswetter.
Neither side was perfect, so which were the 11 best players on show that England should take to the World Twenty20?
Openers: Trott & Denly or Lumb & Kieswetter? On the strength of today's game, there's no contest, the latter two scored 138 runs compared with 28 for Denly and Trott, but its not quite as simple as that. Certainly in 2009 Denly and Trott performed very well in the Twenty20 domestically, so they shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. However Lumb and Kieswetter made plenty of runs domestically too, hence why they're out there in Dubai. As much as I rate Trott and Denly, for the World Twenty20 I'll be taking Lumb and the Saffer.
Middle order: Pietersen-Collingwood-Morgan-Wright-Prior or Gale-Bell-Carberry-Trego-Tredwell? This one's easier in my view, the Lions middle order isn't quite of sufficient quality for the World Twenty20. As good a players as Bell and Carberry undoubtedly are, I don't think they're the sort of player who will prosper in this format at the top level. I don't know enough about Gale and he hasn't covered himself in glory on this tour. Pietersen-Collingwood-Morgan is a classy middle order and should be the spine of our OD and T20 sides. Has Wright found his niche in the lower-middle order for England? Possibly, so I'll take a punt on him. Prior misses out here because Kieswetter is taking the keepers' gloves, and it might just be worth giving the hard-hitting Trego a go, although I'd be more inclined to go with a proven allrounder like Mascarenhas personally, or perhaps Denly could fit into the middle order here.
Bowlers: Bresnan-Broad-Sidebottom-Swann or Rashid-Woakes-Finn-Kirby? I think Bresnan, Broad and Swann have done enough in the last 12 months in all forms to take them to the World Twenty20, any of them will be very unlucky to miss out. So who gets the final bowling slot? In reality Anderson will almost certainly go but I continue to have doubts about his ability to adapt quick enough to not be destroyed too many times in Twenty20. I like the look of Woakes, and Finn has that height to create problems for many batsmen, and there's also Ajmal Shahzad to think about. I have yet to see enough consistent evidence that Rashid has curbed his tendency to bowl a couple of four-balls an over - but I hope he does soon! I think I'll take another gamble and stick Steve Finn in the side.
So my combined England/England Lions team looks like this:
Trego (or maybe Denly!)
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