Against Somerset and Worcestershire we came up well short in chasing a big target, in both instances the pitch was a great one to be batting on, and yet in both instances we were very light on batting.
You could argue that had we won the toss that in both matches we would have prevailed, and that may well have been the case but today, against Sussex on a smallish ground, we absolutely must pick the extra batsman and play Spriegel at number seven. Adams has named a very young squad with no Ramps, Tremlett or Batty:
This is a big gamble, no question, because it means getting 8 overs from Spriegel, Hamilton-Brown and young Zafar Ansari - who is in line for a first team debut. Not to mention a full 8 overs from Schofield. We are really suffering this season from a lack of a genuine all rounder, a Ryan ten Doeschate or a James Franklin, and I'm beginning to think that should be the number one priority for Chris Adams this winter.
Davies' absence is a blow but its a good chance for Wilson to stake a claim for a place in the side as a batsman when Davies returns. I've never been a huge fan of Wilson but he has matured as a player this season, and he's always been one of the few Surrey batsmen willing to play innovative shots. The other question is likely to be the order, I suspect Adams will shift Walters up the order to open but I really hope he gives Roy a whirl up there instead, as I said in the preview of the Worcestershire game, our wins this season have largely relied on big starts and Roy can give us just that. You still have to think that a decent total is going to rely on a big knock from Pietersen or Hamilton-Brown though, which is a very dangerous position to be in.
Cheetham was no worse than Dernbach or Tremlett on Wednesday, they were all well below par, but if we aren't going to retain him next season I see no reason to play him. I think Linley's more consistent line and length is more likely to keep the runs down at Sussex than Meaker's pace. It will be interesting to see how Matt Dunn gets on, his bowling was good against Sri Lanka for the England Under-19s earlier in the year by all accounts and I hope he gets off to a great start.
Sussex, although without Yardy and Wright who are with England, have named a strong squad: RG Aga, JS Gatting, MW Goodwin, AJ Hodd, EC Joyce, RJ Kirtley, CJ Liddle, CD Nash, MS Panesar, MJ Prior, OP Rayner, Yasir Arafat. A bowling attack of Arafat, Monty, Kirtley and Rayner has bags of experience and easily has the edge over our attack. The batting, led by Prior, ably assisted by Nash, Joyce and Goodwin is also very strong.
There's nothing but pride in this game for us, but there's a lot to be said for us beating Sussex to boost morale. That said, they are one of the best limited overs sides in the country and I just cannot see the side above making any mark on them today. I am curious as to the wisdom of resting players this close to the end of the season, I suppose it is just to give younger players a go - I thought we'd been doing that all season?!
Pakistan Cup Ramblings...
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