As our regular reader will know, we here at 51allout find Test cricket and ODIs quite ponderous and, let’s be honest, at times quite dull. Having to concentrate for session upon session, understanding the tactical nuances, appreciating a well bowled maiden all leave us rather cold to the extent that we sometimes have to Google Margot Robbie and pop upstairs for some toilet roll instead*.
Fortunately the tour that keeps on touring has now reached the really exciting bit, the T20 series. Three games between the sixth and eighth best international T20 teams (yes, we were surprised too) would normally have us reaching for the gin but, for once, we might actually pay attention. And absolutely not because we need some crumb of comfort following the previous spankings. Not at all. Definitely not. No.
In all seriousness, the upcoming games do actually have relevance with both teams keen to get on a roll ahead of the biannual slapathon that no-one cares about until they actually win it.
Our favourite selfie posting ex leg spinner has been appointed Australian spinning coach for the upcoming tournament and the squad for these three games has his fingers all over it. Expect James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile to open the bowling, open the batting and keep wicket using one hand each – actually, quick add that to the agenda for this week’s ICC committee meeting.
In all seriousness, only Faulkner has been considered from the Test squad off to South Africa so this has given some of the fringe players a chance to stake a claim. Chris Lynn has been given a chance following some headline grabbing innings in the Big Bash and Mitchell Starc is back following his latest injury setback. How they will line up is anyone’s guess.
EDIT: Especially as Faulkner cried off injured too after this had been drafted. The selfish bastard.
Word from the ECB is that this squad will make up the majority of that which tours the West Indies prior to heading to Bangladesh. This is a sensible decision from the ECB, the first since they binned off Swanny’s Video Diary after Brisbane and hoped nobody would notice.
England have a decent side on paper with a number of batsmen getting useful practice with Big Bash franchises before joining up with Team England. Should KP return for the World Cup – instead of being a victim of the mother of all hatchet jobs – then a top eight of Hales, Lumb, Wright, KP, Morgan, Buttler, Stokes and Broad looks as good as anything around on paper. Sadly the Bangladesh pitches are likely to take more turn than paper. The problems come filling the remaining three spots, as demonstrated by having Rankin, Dernbach, Tredwell and Bresnan as the other senior alternatives, whilst sending Finn home. We’d play Finn, Jordan and Briggs for what it’s worth.
Unfortunately Cricket Australia and the ECB have gazumped our usual 1-1 prediction by scheduling three matches, so we’ll say it’s definitely going to be 2-1.
*For our new readers this isn’t true, except the bit about Margot Robbie, which couldn’t be more true.