It’s difficult to judge a team, or player’s, form against a side like Bangladesh – but yesterday, Andrew Strauss probably showed enough quality for fans and critics to question why Geraint Jones was chosen as Marcus Trescothick’s opener in recent ODIs.
It’s well known that Duncan Fletcher wants a Thorpe-esque player in the middle order, and Strauss is a like-for-like replacement – apart, of course, from the fact he is an opener by trade. In interviews, he’s been fencing the issue – as most England players seem to do these days – but surely he enjoys it more at the top of the order. He and Trescothick in the past 12 months (in fact, I don’t think it’s yet 12 months that they’ve been batting together) have formed a strong, powerful alliance: both left-handers, they quickly struck up a solid understanding, and are England’s best runners between the wickets, as well as both being very quick scorers. Why disrupt this partnership for the ODIs?
Geraint Jones is a highly regarded batsman – better, so say some, than the bloke he ousted, Chris Read. And the runs he has made for England have looked very good. He has class, and style but he’s not a pinch-hitter which is the role Fletcher has eyes for him. His role should be in the closing overs of a game, either coming in just before Paul Collingwood or just after him – a quickfire 40 from 30 balls in the last 10 overs would be more benefitial at that stage than in the opening 10. Strauss is an opener and is used to scoring hundreds against the new ball – why risk not having him open? Not only does Strauss have a solid defence, but is more than capable of smashing it ala Trescothick – and he made an anonymous 50 from 40-odd balls against Australia last year…
Vaughan won’t discount Jones, though:
“On more placid pitches, though, like the ones in India, Pakistan, or even the next World Cup in the West Indies, it’s important to get a good start in the first 15 overs. So having someone up there with a bit of licence might be an option.”
Jones isn’t Gilchrist, Michael – no one is!