Strauss off Key?

Sorry about the contrived headline, but it is fairly self-explanatory. Has Andrew Strauss failed to deliver for too long? It’s been forever since he last scored a Test hundred, while his one good knock this summer was gifted by Dinesh Karthik’s appalling drop. All the other batsmen have scored tons, while he has struggled to convert, despite getting a few starts.

There’s no doubting his class, but is it time to try someone else? Robert Key would jump at the chance, as would Ravi Bopara. Or does Andrew Flintoff bat six when he returns, with Ian Bell going to three? Perhaps Strauss should get yet another chance, given he has managed to get to 30 regularly and is possibly one big score from finding top form.

For what it’s worth, I’d go with Rob Key.

Infatuated by Robert Key

King Cricket is mad as a box of frogs. Insane. His blog is required reading for this fact alone, though his increasing infatuation with Robert Key suggests the men in white (no, not the umpires) will come a’knockin’ quite soon.

Robert Key

The above photo is actually a brilliant piece of photoshoppage from Mike, who’s done similar excellent wizardry before.

Less adept but even funnier is this attempt:

Box. Frogs. Lots of both.

Welcome back, England

Are we witnessing the return of England’s old, nasty, depressing habits? Both Robert Key, and now Vaughan, have played truly horrific shots and England are 111-4, “chasing” 501 to win. Bad start to the new year, but I suppose it wakes the series up a bit.

Robert Key’s chance to displace Butcher

David Gower spoke to Butcher today, who was forced to pull out due to another injury (albeit yet another freakish one). He was replaced by Key again who, in the summer, scored freely and brilliantly for England v The West Indies (see pic above). Gower mentioned that he [Butcher] being the 2nd and youngest of the 2 veterans in the team (the other Thorpe) could have a key role (pardon the pun) in sheperding the younger players in the years to come, assuming Thorpe retires after The Ashes (which some speculate he might).

I’m not so sure……

Butcher has, for the past 3 or 4 years been touted as England’s most consistent batsman; and yes, he has. But he hasn’t scored a century in a long time, and right now looks like a man with 1001 troubles on his mind. The shots he’s got out to in this series alone have been woeful, criminal, ugly bloody shots – and he’s our 2nd most senior player! A player once spoken about as a potential successor to the now retired Nasser Hussain! Not good.

The memories of his marvellous, wonderous, one-off innings v Australia aren’t as fresh in our minds as before. One great innings – and, yes, it was great – doesn’t secure your future as a Test number 3 ad finitum, and so now’s the time for Key to be our new number 3. And – on this pitch – he has a terrific chance of cementing that place (mind you, after his 200ish this summer you couldn’t blame him for getting the mortar ready then!)

Butcher edges out Key

England team to face South Africa A: ME Trescothick, MP Vaughan (capt), AJ Strauss, MA Butcher, GP Thorpe, A Flintoff, GO Jones, AF Giles, SP Jones, SJ Harmison, MJ Hoggard.

More than likely the probable team for the First Test v SA. Meanwhile, Graeme Smith has some confident and encouraging words to say about his team’s chances here. The title of that peice is “Ray may have an ace up his sleeve,” but Smith’s article fails to imply what that ace might be……..?