‘The decision to drop Monty Panesar is absurd’
I have a lot to write about this week but I’ll start off with an issue that has disturbed many English cricket fans including myself; non inclusion of England’s most popular and successful bowler over the last year or so, Monty Panesar. No matter how you look at it, the decision by Duncan Fletcher to play his mate Giles ahead of Monty is nothing but absurd. Monty, who can boast the scalps of some of the best players of spin bowling in modern era, Tendulkar, Dravid, Inzamam and Yousuf, was apparently left out due to lack of his batting skills. Giles scored 47 runs in two innings and took 1 wicket for 123 runs. Even if he had scored a hundred, it would have been insignificant because the Aussies got a massive score in the first innings. If Monty were playing, he may well have got Ponting or Hussey early and kept England in the game.
I believe England need to wake up and forget the Ashes last year, what worked then will not work now. They have a fantastic spinner amongst their ranks and there is no need to experiment with mediocrity.
Mohammed Yousuf, who looks nothing short of a molana these days, has been in astonishing form of late. He has been smashing hundreds for fun and broken records over the past couple of weeks. He has become the only player to have scored 1800 runs in calendar year, only man to score 9 centuries in a year, most runs in a 3 match series and centuries in 5 consecutive tests (along with Kallis). He is the most simple and down to earth super star you’ll ever meet and I am so pleased for him but he’ll face a much tougher challenge when Pakistan visit South Africa next.
Another big story of the past few days is the recall of Sourav Ganguly and Zaheer Khan into the Indian Test Squad to play South Africa. Inclusion of Ganguly must be a big blow to Greg Chappell’s plans, who instigated Ganguly’s downfall and was keen to build a young team. But too many youngsters too soon have contributed to a string of defeats for India and selectors have decided to bring back a couple of oldies. It will be interesting to see how Ganguly and Chappell get on.
And finally, some people may not agree with me but I am so pleased Shahid Afridi has finally been left out of the Pakistan ODI squad. He has only scored 140 runs in previous 14 matches he has played and left out for 5 match series against West Indies.
He has become nothing more than a slogger these days, who swings his bat blindly and misses more often than he connects. Pakistan is littered with players like him, most of whom play club cricket.