Eng v Pak, Twenty20 – who to pick?

In the last week, with the ongoing ‘Ovalgate’ saga, the big media questions on the one-day series have not been the usual deliberations over selection. Now that it seems that there will definitely be a series, with both sides confident that Pakistan will be competing, the next couple of days may bring a resumption of normal service.

There are certainly some potential headaches for David Graveney and company when it comes down to converting their 16-man squad to an 11-man side. It seems unlikely that Ed Joyce will interrupt the ongoing battle for an Ashes place. But with both Collingwood and Pietersen set to come into the team that lost to Sri Lanka at Headingley, it seems likely that one of the batsmen will have to make way rather than reduce the bowling attack. Jamie Dalrymple will retain his place as Fletcher’s favoured spinning all-rounder, and Chris Read must be looking forward to proving he is the best English ‘keeper in the shortest form of the game.

It is well documented that England’s recent one-day problems lie on a foundation of wayward pace bowling. The inclusion of six pace options, with only Harmison and Mahmood retained, suggests that the selectors are trying to meet this head on. But who to pick? Broad and Gough are certainly popular choices in the media, with impressive Twenty20 pedigree. Who do you think should be on Monday’s team sheet?

England v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Old Trafford

Another Test, another foray into the land of the unexpected. Interesting times; Younis Khan returns for Pakistan, and Andrew Strauss leads an England side further depleted by injury. I’m very curious about Duncan Fletcher’s decision to omit Jamie Dalrymple which, to me at least, rather suggests he eyes Monty Panesar as a key weapon to dismantle Pakistan’s batting lineup. Either that or Dalrymple called him a rude name behind his back.

Anyway, do hope you’ll all be tuning in and leaving comments and generally making an absolute nuisance of yourselves here.

Chat away!

Dalrymple added to England squad

More here. Thoughts tonight or tomorrow. Leave a comment or 10.

Bell recalled by England

Ian Bell and Steve Harmison earn recalls. No luck for Jamie Dalrymple. Monty’s in, Never Knowingly also in – and Sajid Mahmood. More at CI.

Flintoff doubtful for first Pakistan Test

Worrying news, this:

“There is scar tissue in there and whether the bone fragments were the result of the operation or were already in there, we don’t know,” Flintoff told ABC Sport. “We will have another look in two weeks and see where we are.”

Though unlikely to play the first Test, Flintoff was optimistic about recovery. “I am not running at the moment, I am doing a lot of cycling. I am doing things that don’t cause pain and trying to tick over.

At least we have Jamie Dalrymple! To his credit, Dalrymple’s been the “find” of England’s one-day series. He does the basics well.