Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Contractual Obligation

Three thoughts about today's announcement...

1. Michael Vaughan has been given one of the central contracts – based on what? His performances in the last year? Probably not. So the assumption must be that he’s going to justify a contract over the next twelve months. Surely a better bet might have been to defer it until such a time as he actually scores some meaningful runs.

I’d love to be proved wrong – if only because the sight of Vaughan smearing Australia all over the park next summer would be one to treasure, but there comes a time when all professional sportsmen need to realise that ‘maybe we ain’t that young anymore’ To my mind Vaughan has reached that position. Barely an interview goes by without either him or the interviewer harking back to the Ashes tour of 2002/03 and Vaughan's stunning performances in that series, but that was six years ago.

2. I’d have made Monty’s contract conditional on him learning how to bowl an arm-ball. Samit Patel can – which sets you thinking that maybe he might be a better bet as the left arm spin option next summer – especially taking into account his batting ability, the fact he can field, and obviously has a sound cricketing head on his shoulders.

3. The ‘increment’ list of contracts is a sound idea – not totally ruling out Ambrose, and offering some encouragement to the likes of Prior, Shah and Bopara. However, it would be have good to see some of the regulars on that this as well – like most of the batting line up. A ‘prove you’re worth a full contract in India and you’ll get one as a Christmas present’ line from the selectors might have helped focus a few minds. Instead, everyone’s back in the comfort zone.


Innocent Abroad said...

I think the question is about how many central contracts you award.

Basically, they've been used as a way of saying "this is our first-choice Test team" (barring injuries or weird pitches) and if you only award seven or eight, which seems to be the thrust of what you're saying, it could be seen as admitting you don't know what your best team is. Not very KP - and he's clearly far more in charge than Vaughan ever was.

Vaughan himself needs to make a lot of runs, not so much in India as in the Windies in the spring to force his way back into the side. At his best, he's better than Strauss (and a better foil to Cook) but you are right to say he hasn't given of his best for some time. I doubt he needs to be told, either.

Rob said...

Once again the selectors have failed to do anything useful. How could Vaughan be given a contract -- its touch and go whether he can get into the Yorkshire side, let alone England.

stu said...

Monty has a vague sort of undercuttery thing that seems more accidental than anything, though he does need something that moves into the right hander, whether it's through swing, or a nice leg cutter, or something else.

What really annoys me is that the 'flick it with your middle finger' ball so beloved of Jack Iverson/John Gleeson/Alex Loudon/Ajantha Mendis is so very easy to bowl, yet he seems to have made little attempt to acquire it.