Saturday 28 February 2009

We need to talk about Kevin

How do teams form? Do they simply coalesce around the available talent, or are they planned, built, developed, evolved by men who understand the forces that shape them?

It would be nice to think that a selector would know, but James Whitaker didn't seem to during an uninspiring radio interview with Jonathan Agnew. 

The side playing in Barbados is a fly 'em in and patch 'em up effort, but by luck, some pieces seem to fit. The ennui radiating from Bell and Harmison has gone, as has the strange tension that attaches itself to Andrew Flintoff. A team moving towards a top six of Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Shah, Bopara and Prior, with a bowling all-rounder at seven has a nice, dynamic feel.

It is contingent on Pietersen accepting the burden of his luminous gift and moving to number three. Great men bat there, and the career arcs of great men suggest they enter their prime at 4000+ test match runs. 

Shah is an oddity, a glorious one, and deserves the chance that Bell got lower down, with Bopara in the pup's position. England should have huge ambition for Prior, who can really bat, and can open up the team for five bowlers. 

It will take a man Pietersen respects to tell him he must move up. James Whitaker and Geoff Miller are not that man. Strauss and a new coach might be. Someone must; Pietersen's talent demands it.


Anonymous said...

An appeal to his vanity and ego would be the way to go - bat at three where all the greats flourish Kevin - could he resist?

The Old Batsman said...

I think you're right, although not so much vanity as his sense of destiny...!