Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To 'B', or not to 'B'

Two bits of news - West Indies are sending a B team over for this summers truncated 'series' - Lords having trouble selling corporate hospitality for the Windies test match.

To take the latter piece first - it's hardly a surprise. We're in the middle of a worldwide recession that is hitting the city hardest. As a result, marketing and entertainment budgets have been cut. Additionally it's a second rate test - barely a test match at all. Also, it's Ashes summer and if anyone does have some corporate entertainment money to spare, that's where it'll be going.

Begs the question, though - why Lords? It's not like the 'home of cricket' hasn't got other events this summer - One Day finals, 20/20 world cup games (one of only 3 venues remember), the Ashes test, two ODIs v Australia. Surely the perfect opportunity to let one of the occasional test grounds have a piece of the action - Cardiff, perhaps...

Then there's the issue of how England should respond to the Windies decision to send over a weakened team.

Leaving aside the obvious jokes about how England will actually fare in the wake of the Jamaica debacle, there seems little point in fielding the full test eleven. It'll prove nothing except to give Ian Bell the chance to pad out his average with meaningless 100s against second rate or under prepared opposition - something he's actually good at.

Why not mix it up - a sort of A/B team. Let Strauss skipper in both - both otherwise play half the test side in one test, half in the other and mix in some borderline candidates - Denly, Carberry, Jordan, Onions, Tremlett, Davies, Vaughan etc.

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