Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Achilles Last Stand

There's been quite a lot of publicity this weekend over an interview Ricky Ponting gave to the Observer in which he suggested that England were wrong to be picking Andrew Flintoff and that he would benefit greatly from an extended period of rest.

There's something of a history of Australian skippers trying to tell the England selectors how to do their jobs. Just after the war, Don Bradman kept saying that DVP Wright was the best leg spinner he'd ever faced - so England kept picking him and Bradman kept carting him all over the shop. Then once the selectors had wised up to this typical dastardly colonial trick, Richie Benaud applied some reverse psycology when he kept recommending various players to the England selectors through his newspaper column in the News of the World - banking, correctly, on the fact that they would avoid his suggestions like the plague.

With Ponting, however, I don't think there's anything Machiavellian going on - I reckon it's simply a case of genuine respect from one professional for another. After all, a well rested, fully fit Flintoff roaring in to bowl in the summer of 2009 is about the only thing that might be giving Ricky and his Merry men the occasional sleepless half-hour at the moment.

Peter Moores has said that England need to 'manage' the ankle. What the hell does that mean? Either Flintoff is fit enough to bowl, or he isn't. If continuing to bowl on it is going to cause irreperable harm - then he should stop. Watch Flintoff's movements at the moment - you can tell that he's treading carefully - so why is he still taking the risk? Is it really fair to play Russian Roulette with someone's livliehood?

England don't NEED him this winter. There are enough all-rounder options to give the selectors some flexibilty when picking the sides for Sri Lanka & New Zealand. For example, call it a long shot, but I don't think Stuart Broad would let anyone down if you stuck him in at six.

In fact the next series when Fred's presence could be described as 'crucial' isn't until next summer when South Africa pitch up and you'd really like to see him wiping the sanctimonious grin off of Graeme Smith's face.

1 comment:

Tony.T said...

Speaking of Stuart Broad and six ...