Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bowler-heavy squad for crucial London derby

Of the 14 men named for the short jaunt to North London, by my count, 11 would make passable bowling options as Chris Adams continues his all-rounder heavy selection policy.

This is partially due to a lack of available batting options through the squad, Ramprakash is apparently still not up to Twenty20 fitness-wise, Wilson shows no sign of recapturing his best form (and is away with Ireland anyway), there's been little word on Michael Brown for some time and Adams doesn't seem willing to gamble on a Lancefield or Burns from the Seconds.

So, the 14 man squad and my expected XI is as follows:

Steven Davies
Jason Roy
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Tom Maynard
Zander De Bruyn
Zafar Ansari
Chris Schofield
Yasir Arafat
Stuart Meaker
Dirk Nannes
Chris Tremlett

Bench: Spriegel, Batty, Linley

So possibly just the one change from the game at Whitgift, but it's not a simple one this. There are only five out-and-out bats in the side so they pick themselves - and it was crucial to see Davies and Hamilton-Brown get good runs. I still expect the Roy-Davies opening partnership to continue though even if it hasn't quite fired yet. Ansari has impressed with bat and ball so he deserves a continued place in the side - so that's the top six sorted.

I've not traditionally been a fan of Schofield in the Twenty20 side but he did bowl very well on a tiny ground on Monday, and Batty didn't bowl at all. It's perhaps harsh to drop either of them for the returning Arafat but Adams seems to have faith. Meaker really has to play after his excellent comeback performance from a poor first over at Whitgift, and although Nannes and Tremlett were a touch expensive against Sussex you can't ignore their pedigree.

Middlesex have been poor in the Twenty20s this season, they sit rock bottom having won only two of their 12 matches and were recently annihilated by Gloucestershire. However this is a game they'll be desperate to win to dent our hopes of progression, and there is some threatening talent lurking in their 14 man squad. There is no Dawid Malan and Gareth Berg is still out, but Finn, Murtagh and Mclaren is a good attack on paper and in the batting Stirling, Rogers and as the game at the Oval showed, Newman can still do damage.

After tonight's game we have three tough games against table-topping Hampshire, Kent and Sussex again, so given Middlesex's poor record in the T20 this year we really need to look at this as a must-win (is there anything else?). Two consecutive wins against Glamorgan and in the game on Monday should give plenty of confidence and key batsmen have hit some form. If the dodgy weather holds, this should be an excellent game.


Anonymous said...

A fair analysis I would say. Its a shame we haven't got another batter waiting in the wings who could slot in at 6. Wilson (even if he were available) isn't good enough and you can't have someone in the side as a specialist fielder (however good he is). Lancefield could possibly be given a go although he's injured and I'm not sure Burns is quite the power hitter that we need at 6. Ansari will do the job for now and deserves his chance after a couple of decent performances. I'm still a fan of Spriegel although he seems so out of nick that it would be a huge gamble. Still too many bowling options for my liking, but I guess without another batsman knocking on the door, we've got to get 11 from somewhere!
Either way, fingers crossed the weather holds off and we get a decent game in.

GreenJJ said...

I quite agree, there is a shortage of options and it must be as frustrating for Adams as it is for us! Spriegel seems to have fallen out of favour which is a shame, but he'll be back. Weather looking pretty poor right now!