No surprises in today’s ODI and Test squad announcement, but plenty of questions. Vaughan’s “ODI cloud,” which hovers ominiously over his head each series, is getting darker the more he plays: he is just not scoring enough runs to warrant selection.
The selectors clearly didn’t want to take such a radical and potentially hazardous decision of dropping him from the ODI squad, in light of an Ashes series in July. Just imagine the Australians’ reactions. But the fact still remains that he is a poor one-day player for England – and no one, me included, knows why. He has one of the most textbook, pure batting techniques in world cricket. In Test Cricket, he is glorious to watch and can play all around the wicket: the Australians fear him, and rightly so given what he did to them a few years ago.
Yet he still averages only 28, and still hasn’t made a one-day hundred. In his favour is his excellence as a captain, and the respect he has as a leader. But the time will come, unless he scores heavily this year, for England to have 2 international captains for each form of the game.
Meanwhile, the nails in Graham Thorpe’s coffin are gradually being hammered in. His announcement that he was to play for NSW in 2006 upset and confused a few of the big-cheeses, including Graveney. And with Kevin Pietersen’s inclusion in the ODI squad, Thorpe is – I reckon – just a couple of poor performances away from international retirement. I hope he plays all summer, but I also feel Pietersen and Flintoff need to bat with each other against Australia if England are to counteract The Gilchrist Factor.
Who’d be a selector?