They never learn, do they?
See these selectors, sometimes their logic completely eludes me. England’s big problem in this series – no, stop me before I tell a lie. England’s most serious problem is that the other side is fielding eleven South Africans, while they only have two.
But, aside from the possibility of signing up more ringers, England’s other big problem is that their batsmen have been failing to fire. The captain, once the top-ranked batsman in the world, is averaging seven this series. You’ve got Paul Collingwood MBE, who hasn’t made a score for England in I don’t know how long. The odd flash of brilliance from Pietersen or even from Thom Yorke (under his “Ian Bell” alias) isn’t rescuing some wobbly performances.
So, faced with a batting lineup that isn’t working, what do the selectors do? They do what they always do – faff about with the bowlers. And this time there’s been the expectation around Harmy’s return to the squad, followed by the anticlimax of him being left out of the XI. This instantly removes a lot of the fun, bearing in mind that Harmy has an almost Pakistani quality of being either brilliant or awful, but never boring. He could win a match single-handed, or he could decide that second slip needs some wicket-keeping practice. You never know which Harmy will turn up on the day, and that’s a big part of why we love him. I suppose you can’t really blame the selectors for getting cold feet.
Still, I suppose they deserve some credit for sticking with Ambrose, even given the crapness of his performances with the bat. You really need to decide whether or not you’ve a viable keeper-batsman, and if not, you have to grit your teeth and carry the keeper. And, let’s face it, if England’s top seven can’t make a decent score between them, then they deserve to lose.
We shall see…