Moores welcomes in The Clinic

The modern sportsman is not the sharp-tongued wordsmith he once was. The vast majority of players in most sports are given nicknames ending in “y”, more often than not preceded only by their surname. On Thursday, Straussy will captain; he will open with Cooky. Harmy will hopefully have woken up from his nightmare and, together with Hoggy, Freddie and Plunky, will form the basis of England’s attack for the summer. An attack whose every move will be monitored by, and every delivery collected by, Priory. Ah. That doesn’t quite work.

Matt Prior. The England management have plenty to ponder in the next 48 hours, not least a suitable nickname for their new wicketkeeper. Give it another 48 hours, and we too will probably have one for him, because right now there’s no way he will sustain an England career by sharing a nickname with celebrities’ rehab clinic of choice. In fact, that will be his nickname: The Clinic.

So is he the man for the job? Does his selection smack of Sussex favourism by Peter Moores, the new England coach who turned around the county’s fortunes? I was a little surprised, though not totally shocked; Prior had a decent A tour and is a firm favourite of many (if not Shane Warne who “humiliated” him a couple of years ago). Rumours are that Prior is bit of an aggressive so-and-so, not one to back down.

All this is meaningless of course. He will be judged on each Test by the runs he scores and catches he spills. If he has a poor two or three, it will force an early and fascinating test of Moores’s leadership and loyalty.

Jones, Read or Davies?

Low but audible mumblings of praise have been heard across the cricket world, or at least in England, for Stephen Davies. 19 and from Worcester, his coach – former England wicketkeeper Steve ‘Bumpy’ Rhodes – has said that he’s really rather excellent. No pressure, then. More on this at The Times, but it’s high time we had another poll I reckon. Geraint Jones will, I feel, play in the Ashes and possibly in the World Cup. But Chris Read, the best gloveman in the country, is many people’s first choice – and could yet be a real force in one-day cricket.

So who do you think should play in the Ashes, or even against Pakistan? Stick with Jones, go with Read – or take a punt on the teenager? Place your votes, leave your comments and generally make a nuisance of yourselves. (If you’re reading this via RSS, click here to vote)

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