Tedious summer ahead for English fans
By any stretch of the imagination, England’s opponents on the field this northern Summer – first Bangladesh in May, followed by Pakistan from July till September – hardly get pulses racing and tongues wagging.
Australia and England will also play a (no doubt un-memorable) five match ODI series series, sandwiched in between Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Oh, and we’re also hosting an Australia vs. Pakistan Test series, due to the lack of security in Pakistan. It’s certainly going to be jam packed.
Whether the cricket will be worth watching is another question.
So on to England’s opponents this summer.
Bangladesh put up a worthy fight against England in their home test series in March. The flat, slow and low pitches were very much to their liking (although they still lost the series). England in May, with the ball seaming and swinging all over the place, will be a much tougher proposition.
Bangladesh are slowly improving, but expect them to be demolished in English conditions.
After that, the mercurial Pakistan team (or is it circus?) comes to town, and I don’t think anyone, including the Pakistani coach and captain (whoever that may be), know who will make up their side.
A number of their players are banned or suspended, including their two best batsmen – Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan.
The batting looks dreadfully weak, with much relying on the precocious talents of 20 year old Umar Akmal, who last summer gave Australian audiences occasional glimpses of his talent, without ever making a huge score.
He’s got the ability, but surely he’s too young and inexperienced to be expected to hold the middle order together.
As for England, they will constantly tell everyone that they’re focusing purely on Bangladesh and Pakistan, but they will no doubt approach this Summer with the Ashes series in the back of their minds.
They’ll need to decide if a four or five man attack is what suits them best.
Personally, on the flat Australian tracks, I think England will have to play five bowlers. England have a few players Australian audiences would not be familiar with.
Steven Finn is a 21 year old, 6 foot 8 inches tall quick bowler capable of extracting good bounce on all surfaces. Think Steve Harmison, but with a more solid action and more aggressive body language.
Craig Kieswetter is a hard hitting South African born (yes, another one) wicketkeeper batsman, who has leap-frogged other English wicket-keeping candidates in the pecking order due to his ability to make big runs quickly.
Irish born Eoin Morgan is an innovative left hand batsman, capable of either nudging the ball around, or if the situation demands, playing the big shots.
He has quickly become one of the first players picked in England’s ODI and Twenty20 teams, but he has yet to break into the Test side. 2010 could be his year.
If it’s nail-biting, heart-stopping cricket that you’re after, then you probably won’t get it by tuning into the upcoming English Summer of cricket. However, you should be able to get a good idea as to who the players are that England will be sending over in six months time to try and retain the Ashes urn
And how successful they’re likely to be.