Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Squad for Durham game named - for what it's worth

Although the next four days are forecast to be a rain-fest, a thirteen man squad has nonetheless been named to face Durham starting tomorrow. Theoretically at least.

Jacques Rudolph makes a welcome return to the squad but otherwise it is unchanged from last week. The 13 and possible XI is as follows:

Jacques Rudolph
Steven Davies
Mark Ramprakash
Zander de Bruyn
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Tom Maynard
Jason Roy
Gareth Batty
Stuart Meaker
Jon Lewis
Jade Dernbach

12th men: Linley, Jordan

With Rudolph back in the fold the openers conundrum is solved for now, though the men tasked with that job are in search of some fluency. Ramprakash, fresh from his interview with the Daily Telegraph (and an ECB slap on the wrists for abusing umpires) in which he bemoans the state of April pitches, will get another chance to find some form. Whilst I sympathise with him that batting is tough, it is hard to deny that he's also in a rough patch of form. He has spent plenty of time in the middle this season, he's just never looked like scoring runs. Once he gets a session with 40 or 50 runs under his belt, I'm sure he'll feel right at home again.

Adams is unlikely to jettison Jordan or Batty at this stage but I think we are a bowler heavy. I would probably leave out Jordan, despite an encouraging couple of overs late in the day against Worcestershire, that the captain waited until the 33rd and 28th overs of each innings to introduce him suggests we could probably sacrifice him for some extra batting. Indeed, both Batty and de Bruyn were tried in Worcestershire's second innings before Jordan. Adams very rarely goes into a game without a spinning option (it was not so long ago that he played two spinners in an April game) so Batty is always likely to be retained.

That of course conveniently leaves room for Roy who while he didn't score heavily last week, at least looked likely to score runs during his short stays at the crease. The time he spent edging Alan Richardson through gully will serve him well later in the season.

Meaker's six wickets last week means if fit, he simply has to play (workload is not an issue yet, he's only bowled 58 overs in April). Lewis is similarly a nailed on certainty as our leading wicket-taker and third highest run-getter, which leaves a likely choice between Linley and Dernbach. Jade has been extraordinarily reliable so far this season, drying up the runs (no one has given away fewer runs per over than Dernbach's 2.3) and picking up regular wickets although he hasn't quite had the impact of Meaker or Lewis. I would definitely stick with him, again this is hard on Linley but he'll bowl plenty of overs through the season I'm sure.

I'm certain most of the batters would echo Ramps concerns about the spicy pitches, but this damp weather means respite for them is very unlikely. They must be longing for a warm July day on an Oval flat top.

Durham are the strongest opposition we've faced so far this season, with the greatest of respect to the three sides already played. They have quality right through the order with di Venuto, Collingwood and Benkenstein forming an almost unparalleled batting spine in terms of experience. They also have the prodigiously talented Ben Stokes and skipper Phil Mustard is no mug either. Their bowling is dangerous, spearheaded by Graham Onions (he of sixteen wickets in his two games this year) and Mitchell Claydon, with Stokes chipping in here as well.

Another on-off game is in the offing and a result seems all-but impossible. It could be another fight over first innings bonus points which for the batsmen will seem equally unlikely. Durham will provide a good test and if we can hold our own, and we ought to be able to, it'll stand us in good stead.


David Jennings said...

"They must be longing for a warm July day on an Oval flat top." If they are, then they're going to be frustrated, because they are due to face a maximum of 40 overs (in two T20 games) at the Oval in July..!

Wholesale Printing said...
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GreenJJ said...

Ha! You're quite right. Although I'd think most of them would still take that over ten overs of Alan Richardson under cloud!