Friday, 8 August 2014

England's Batting Order Dilemma

England go into next week's Test against India with a strong batting line-up: Edwards, Taylor, Greenway and Knight would all walk into any team in the world. And although controversies persist about the omission of Wyatt from the T20 squad, I think the (assumed) selection of Beaumont for the Test makes sense, especially as she offers a back-up wicket-keeping option.

But dilemmas aplenty remain, in particular regarding the batting order.

In last summer's Ashes Test, Edwards came in at 4, England lining-up as follows:
  1. Knight
  2. Brindle
  3. Taylor
  4. Edwards
  5. Greenway
But by January, Edwards was back in her more customary opening role for the Test at the WACA:
  1. Edwards
  2. Knight
  3. Taylor
  4. Greenway
  5. Brindle
(Edwards came in later in the second innings, but only because she had to, having been off the field with an injury.)

So, which order will England go with this time?

A straight swap of Beaumont for Brindle, with Beaumont coming in at 5? Anyone who has ever seen Beaumont play will know that this makes no sense - she is a defensive accumulator. When I saw her open with Edwards for Kent against Middlesex this year, she had made just 4 when Edwards was run out for 44. And yet she still went on to make 53 - the top score of the innings. So, Beaumont needs TIME... and she likely won't get that coming in at 5.

But equally, batting Edwards down the order seems like a waste, especially given that she appears to be in better form than ever; while relegating Knight would seem a particularly retrograde step for England's new vice-captain and captain-elect.

I wonder if the answer for the Test (not the ODIs and certainly not the T20s!) is for Beaumont to come in at 3 and for Taylor to drop-down?

Taylor has generally occupied the Number 3 slot in the mould of David Gower - all class and flowing elegance. Beaumont would have to draw a very different interpretation of the role, being more of a Jonathan Trott-like brick wall. But I think that's something she could do, and it makes the most of her talents, which England will need to do if they are to prevail.

So, here's the batting line-up that I'd go with:
  1. Edwards
  2. Knight
  3. Beamont
  4. Taylor
  5. Greenway

1 comment:

  1. I don't want to take a contrary view 2 days running but the idea of Sciver not being in the top 5 is not an idea I like. I'd play our best batsmen in the top 5 and that means Sciver must be in there.

    I'd argue that Beaumont, Jones and Winfield have equal right to the 6th batsman slot ..... and once 7 wickets are down I'd swap keeper and give Taylor some outfield rest (well I would if Jones played).

    Presumably this means Gunn follows at 7 and then the bowlers of which only Shrubsole is nailed on. 3 of the other 4 will get in but whether its one spinner or two will depend on the pitch. I'd say Grundy is probably slightly ahead of Hazell in the pecking order and Cross slightly ahead of Odedra ..... but then 'pecking order' is aka 'selectors minds' and they are impossible to understand !!


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