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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


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England may well have lost this match before a ball was bowled. It was folly to leave out Panesar; it was folly to choose to bat. All the evidence (and admittedly there's not much of that) is that the first innings in Dubai is more likely to yield a low score: the pitch is a road from day 2 onwards. These strategic errors are compounded by England's inability to bat as Prior batted. He demonstrated the virtues of taking a good while to adjust to the conditions (he'd scored about 4 after 40 balls) and playing straight and late - just as Thorpe did - and Thorpe should be involved in England's coaching - not the front-foot-press or sweep methods of Gooch, which were all too evident in England's first innings. Now, for my most controversial point, related to selection that allows Panesar into the side: Anderson &/or Tremlett should be left out. Finn has shown that he can be effective on these types of pitches - and Anderson is non-threatening on the Dubai strip. There's no swing, no seam there and when he hasn't got these, the cupboard is bare. Finn's raw pace offers more than the first pick quicks. Intransigence? Most certainly. We live and learn!

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