The COVID-19 pandemic has kept former England Test cricketer-turned-journalist Derek Pringle away from cricket grounds. But he has been following the England-West Indies series on television and is not quite pleased with the team selection.
The Caribbeans clinched the first Test by four wickets to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Pringle, who had earned the title ‘Pring The Swing’ for his ability to move the ball, could not reason why Stuart Broad was dropped in Southampton. He is clueless why James Anderson has been rested in the ongoing second Test in Manchester.
“I think they chose the wrong team [in the first Test] in my opinion. The weather forecast had three days of rain and clouds with no sunshine. You win the toss and you decide to bat which is a big challenge. And I think Stuart Broad should have been there instead of Mark Wood.
“They may have thought about a combination of fast bowlers but in those conditions, Broad would have probably been the best man had they bowled first having won the toss which they didn’t. They were handicapped right from the start,” Pringle said in a chat with Sportstar on Saturday.
Right-arm medium Pringle made his debut in 1982 under Bob Willis and appeared in 30 Tests. He picked up 70 wickets at an economy of 2.85. He understands the essence of bowling in partnerships.
England captain Joe Root, on the other hand, had hinted that the team management may look beyond the Anderson (37)-Broad (34) pair to prolong their careers. It is unusual to not see Anderson in action at the Lancashire ground which has an end named after him.
“I think bowlers, when you get a bit of rhythm, you should be playing more and not get rested, especially when things are going good for you. For instance, people are obsessed with analytics and data these days. If you see who has been the best bowler for England at Old Trafford, it is Anderson and they decided to rest him. I think the England selectors, headed by Ed Smith, are doing interesting things, challenging a team,” added Pringle.
Warwickshire batsman Dom Sibley’s strike-rate invited criticism but former captain Michael Vaughan backed the youngster. The right-hander scored 120 off 372 balls to tire out the West Indies bowlers in the first innings in Manchester.
“It is interesting. The irony is that Jofra Archer ruled himself out of the Test by breaking the protocols. If you are going to have someone like Sibley, you need someone like Archer. He has incredible pace. He grew up with white-ball cricket primarily and he still needs to learn the tricks of the trade in Test cricket but if you have Sibley who is taking a very long time to play his innings, you need someone to take wickets quickly. You need to attack to do that,” said Pringle, adding, “He [Archer] put the whole thing in jeopardy. Young people do silly things.”
Archer made an unauthorised visit to his home in Hove ahead of the Manchester Test and was dropped.
West Indies bowling attack
After the first Test, the cricketing world started raving about the West Indies pace attack comprising Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and captain Jason Holder.
The bowlers restricted the Englishmen to 204 and 313 in the first and second innings respectively. However, they were not as menacing in the second Test.
“Gabriel seems to be carrying a tweak in his hamstring. I have seen the Windies attack of the ‘80s. They are not in the league yet but the youngsters can develop. I am looking forward to seeing Chemar Holder. Kemar is dependable.
"He bowled very well in this Test, Joseph is a promising talent and Holder, like Roach, is very reliable. He is tall and gets bounce, which you need in Test cricket. They are pretty decent. But West Indies batting is vulnerable, but so is England’s top-order,” said Pringle, who is happy to see some swing despite the saliva ban.
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