And I’m not just saying that because I’m Australian.
I believe the selection of Ben Foakes in the England squad for the match against India proves my point.
I’m not saying it was a bad choice, in fact quite the opposite.
I think it’s a great call to get Foakes back into the England team, but it’s long overdue.
Why the England Cricket Team selection process is a farce
The Ben Foakes/Jonny Bairstow conundrum
England on Tuesday (January 23) confirmed that Foakes has been recalled to the Test squad and will don the gloves for the first Test match against India in Hyderabad.
The goalkeeper, arguably England’s best, has not appeared for England since the start of last year when he played in the drawn series against New Zealand.
Following this series, he was dropped from the crucial Ashes series to make way for Bairstow to return to action after injury.
Foakes up to that point really hadn’t done much wrong.
He scored 133 from four to beat South Africa at home in 2022, including a brilliant 113 not out at Old Trafford (a knock I was there to witness firsthand and it can be proven that it was a great round).
He then scored 64 in a solitary knock in the Test series against Pakistan in Karachi, before making 124 from four innings in New Zealand.
While behind the stumps, he took 23 catches and one stumping in those three series.
You really can’t ask for more.
But England chose the 90+ matches experience and 5000+ runs that Bairstow brought.
Not to mention before his injury, Bairstow had five innings in which he scored 136, 162, 71no, 106 and 114 against New Zealand and India.
So, to be fair, there is an argument to be made for Bairstow there. But the next thing is where my choice lies.
Bairstow had a mediocre Ashes series with the bat, scoring 322 runs – his 99 not out in the Test passing at Old Trafford was his highest score.
But it’s his glove work in the series that, how to put it tactfully, leaves a little to be desired.
Bairstow dropped more than half a dozen catches during the series.
After just the first three Tests, he dropped seven catches and missed one stumping.
Although he was not alone – England’s fielding in the first few matches of that Ashes series was disappointing – his job as wicket-keeper was to set the tone for his catching (he does wear gloves, after all). And he failed miserably at that.
Test captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday, after being informed that Foakes had been selected as wicket-keeper for the first Test against India, said: “Not only can Ben Foakes do what other other goalkeepers can’t but also makes them look extremely easy.
“He’s a very special talent and to have someone like that who can take that 2%, 3% chance, that could be huge in the series.”
– Special Test Match (@bbctms) January 23, 2024
So why didn’t they pick him after the first two Tests in the Ashes?
At that time, even though they were 2-0 down, there was still a change so they could come back and win.
After the third Test, Australia will retain the Ashes no matter what happens, so why not try something different?
It doesn’t make sense to me. I feel sorry for Foakes.
Then, because the British media are so good at this, they covered up Bairstow’s average year by having the BBC name him in their list. Men’s Test Team of the Year 2023 (a team that made a lot of mistakes, in my opinion – but that’s another story).
The English media, led by Piers Morgan, did a good job of brushing off Bairstow’s blunders in the Ashes instead of focusing on singling out the Australians and Alex Carey (which was a sore point for to me because I know Kez is one of the nicest cricketers in the world, having played with him at grade level when we were kids).
England’s fascination with retired players and Harry Brook ODI World Cup coldness
Right, enough about Foakes and Bairstow, but let’s stay in the Ashes for a moment to get to my next point.
Following the injury to front-line spinner Jack Leach, England have decided to retire Moeen Ali for the 2023 Ashes instead of selecting Rehan Ahmed, who took just seven wickets and scored 5fa in the second innings of the Test His first investigation was in Pakistan in December 2022.
Yes, playing on the field in England against Australia, the world’s best test team, is a different game than pitching in Pakistan.
But if I were him, I would be quite upset with the English casting agents for not casting me in that film.
It’s true he’s young, but Shane Warne played his first Ashes Test in English-speaking conditions abroad in 1993 at just 23 years old.
His first ball in Ashes cricket will forever be known as the ball of the century (the Gatting ball) and he became quite a good cricketer after that.
Ali had not played a Test since September 2, 2021 before he took the whites for that first Ashes test on June 16, 2023.
I understand that he is still around the white-ball setups – ODIs and T20s, but that is different.
Why retire someone if you already have a perfectly good replacement in Ahmed.
And now that Tom Hartley is also set to make his India debut, he can’t be too far away from the selection window either.
England have announced the squad for Hyderabad. 📋
Tom Hartley was given his Test debut with Mark Wood, the only fast bowler in the group.
– Special Test Match (@bbctms) January 24, 2024
Why not start killing the players who will play for England in the coming years, instead of dragging past players back into the fray?
Ali did that in the Ashes by taking nine wickets and picking up some crucial runs at crucial moments in the match, but can Ahmed do a good job? I think so.
Ahmed performed well for the West Indies during England’s recent ODI and T20 tour in December taking five and six wickets in the series respectively’.
Ali is not the only player to be pulled out of retirement by the English selectors.
Just a few months after the Ashes series, England headed to the ODI World Cup in India.
Once again England players have pulled Ben Stokes out of ODI retirement to play in the World Cup.
Harry Brook was left out of the original World Cup squad in favor of Stokes and Jason Roy despite being arguably one of England’s best batsmen at the time and flying high in a solid Ashes series, where he scored 363 runs.
He was later included in the squad but was only able to play six matches during the tournament.
I might consider the decision to retire Stokes from ODI retirement more because of his recent form and how destructive he has been with the bat.
He proved his worth during England’s regular World Cup campaign scoring 304 runs in six matches, including scores of 108, 84 and 64.
But once again the British media tried to hide the poor performance of the England Cricket team.
Former England captain, now commentator, Nassar Hussain said after England’s poor performance at the tournament, where they could not even reach the final, that the main reason was due to the short time between the Ashes and the World Cup.
Umm…Nassar can you tell me, how did Australia do?
How to watch India vs England live?
The first match between India and England at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad starts at 4am (BST) on Thursday (January 25).
You can watch the match and the entire India v England series live on TNT Sports through the Discovery+ app.