The Reuters global sports blog
The retirement of Paul Collingwood from England’s test team was beautifully timed, leaving the selectors with the dilemma of who to replace the versatile batsman but with a long time to contemplate the decision and from a pretty lofty perch.
The 34-year-old brought options with the ball and was arguably the team’s best fielder, so although he has struggled with the bat of late whoever steps into the team has some big boots to fill.
The contenders? Batsman Eoin Morgan will fancy his chances, but all rounder Tim Bresnan must be in with a shout on the back of some fine performances in the last two Ashes tests.
Also in the frame are batsmen Ravi Bopara and youthful all-rounder Adil Rashid.
The addition of an all-rounder would bring balance to the side once batsman Ian Bell and wicketkeeper Matt Prior move up a place each in the order. That would leave a tail comprising Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and then the eventual Collingwood replacement.
With the fourth test steaming up on us like Santa’s sleigh with an inebriated Rudolf at the helm, time is running out for England to decide on what to do about a problem like Paul Collingwood.
Is it me or does “Brigadier Block” always seem more out of form than in form?
I am probably not the only one arriving at work today with fingers gnawed to the bone following England’s nail-biting escape in the first Ashes test in a stunning finale in Cardiff, capping a memorable opening match to the series.
Despite near domination for five days, Australia failed to capitalise on early England wickets on the final day as the Three Lions’ tail wagged heroically to secure a draw from the jaws of defeat against the old enemy.
England may argue that they were unlucky to exit the World Twenty20 following a five-wicket defeat by West Indies but the simple truth is that they batted poorly throughout the tournament.
With the honourable exceptions of Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen, the batsmen completely failed to get to grips with the art of scoring runs in this form of the game.