Jonny come lately
Bumble blogs on Bairstow, Bresnan and the threats the West Indies might pose England.
Last Updated: 16/05/12 12:02pm
I won't be writing off this West Indies team ahead of the first Test match at Lord's.
England should win the three-match series because they should be too strong, but I said the same thing against Pakistan and got my fingers burned.
The West Indies will be a capable team, but it remains to be seen if they can put a consistent performance together over a longer period. If they can do that then they won't be out of it.
They've got two young opening batters plus Darren Bravo, who models himself on Brian Lara and they have a very good coach in Ottis Gibson.
They have a very decent bowling attack as well. Darren Sammy got a seven-fer against England back in 2007, then they've got Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul, who are all very capable. It would be a shame if injuries prevent any of them from playing.
From England's point of view, it's tough on Ravi Bopara to pick up an injury, but his absence provides an opportunity for Jonny Bairstow. I'm sure he'll play and I like the look of him.
There's speculation over Andrew Strauss and he knows he needs some runs, but you can't ignore the overall package he brings to England. It will be a big relief when he gets those runs.
The place that's really up for grabs is in the bowling department. I would obviously play Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Stuart Broad and I would probably go for Tim Bresnan as the other seamer. There's not a lot to choose between them, but I think his batting gets him in.
However, I wouldn't be at all worried if either of the others - Steven Finn or Graham Onions - got the nod. In fact, in these conditions Onions might be the best bet with the ball but I quite like the idea of getting a bit of balance in the batting.
But they could all do what's required, especially against inexperienced batters, and we have a number of players who are capable. I'm not bothered either way.
The usual rules apply. England are at home and any nation should feel confident at home. We should win the series.
I'm looking forward to it. As usual, Sky Sports will bring you some new innovations over the summer and at some point the techno-boffins will bring us some new technology with regards to degrees of swing and spin.
Like the rest of you I'm looking forward to seeing it when it arrives.
A damp squib
I had been really looking forward to the Sussex v Lancashire County Championship match last week, but it turned out to be a massive damp squib.
We finally got some play on the final day, but it wasn't a game. It was just two teams manoeuvring to try to get some points. I could not get my head around why we were there at 7pm on day four, still in the first innings of the game!
I thought it was totally pointless but I understand why they were doing it, given the points structure. Both teams were conscious of bonus points and a draw point and it wasn't a contest. I didn't enjoy it at all.
Let's not forget, it's a very rare occurrence to have the first three days totally washed out, but I wonder whether they could have dangled a carrot in front of both teams.
With the benefit of hindsight, there were 100 overs in the day so why not play it as a 50-over game? You could offer 20 points for the winner, instead of the normal 16, and that might give you a game of cricket.
We didn't get a game on Saturday. We just got some sort of batting and bowling with neither side getting beyond the first innings because of the structure.
People would argue that playing a 50-over game would not be County Championship cricket, but I'm not talking about restricting the bowlers or any fielding restrictions. I just want to see a game.
It's a good point for debate. I'm sure people can pick holes in the idea, but at least you'd get a game of cricket.
Over the blue moon
I went out on my motorbike and watched two games of Lancashire League cricket on Sunday.
But I made sure I went into the pavilion to keep an eye on the second half of the Manchester City game, which was absolutely sensational. Some people in the town where I live actually left the ground early in tears - and missed seeing them clinching the title.
I'm right in the thick of things here and I had to laugh when I went up to the tip on Tuesday morning. All the lads who work there are City fans, except for one chap who's a Red.
Funnily enough he hasn't turned in for work all week...
See you at Lord's!