I really should be finishing my last few thousand words of Camp NaNoWriMo instead of writing this. However, sometimes issues become so decisive that I have no option but to make a stand. This whole controversy can essentially be boiled down into two camps. The first is those who believe that Adil Rashid should not have been chosen because he only has a white ball contract with Yorkshire while the other is to pick your best XI. Michael Vaughan went a step too far by calling Rashid unprofessional and accusing Rashid of someone who “cannot be arsed with four-day cricket.” Adil Rashid rightfully hit back at Vaughn by saying that “His opinions do not matter to anyone.” I watched Michael Vaughan give his “expert” opinion as a foreign commentator on Cricbuzz. Honestly, he sucked the lifeblood out of Cricbuzz. It turned from something that was fun and exciting when Simon Doull was there to a drab zombie-like reporter reading off a prepared script. His call to axe Broad from the team after England lost the first test against Pakistan was absolutely disgraceful. I hope Rashid plays and does extremely well. If not for anything else at least so that Vaughan can hopefully admit that he is wrong. Of course, that is not in his nature to do. He spun the whole Broad story and made it appear that his article played a part in riling Broad and Anderson on. It is my analysis that Michael Vaughan says things to get cheap publicity. He is the Peter Navarro of the cricket world. Stephen Roach said that someone should take away Navarro’s license to practice economics. Similarly, someone should take away Michael Vaughan’s license to comment. Even if it was possible I do not think it will happen. BBC is not worth the TV license we pay to them. I have made my opinion clear about the BBC in my post about Cliff Richard. Further having BBC’s Newsnight talk about Imran Khan becoming Prime Minister and showing a picture of Wasim Akram is absolutely disgraceful.Ian Botham is of the opinion that the best XI should be picked irrespective of the type of cricket you play. Sometimes this does not always work. This was evident when Rashid Khan played in Afghanistan’s first test match against India. He was not able to translate his IPL form into test cricket. Ed Smith picked Dom Bess and Buttler for Pakistan. I have stated my view on their Selection. The gamble on Buttler worked like a charm. Bess was a failure. Who else do you pick? Leach has been injured. India is probably the best players of spin. It goes without saying that you need the best spinners available to play for England to be in the side against India. We have had an incredibly dry summer. If you remove the All Rounders from the squad then England have six bowlers and five batsmen (including the wicketkeeper.) This is an interesting choice as the current perceived weakness in the England Test Squad is their batting. Broad and Anderson are probably the best fast bowling pair in the world right now. Sam Curran is clearly being groomed for the future. He will learn a lot from being with the team. The form of Jamie Porter has been astounding.Then you have Nasser Hussain. He has an interesting view and looks at the process of selection. He acknowledges that the selectors (read Ed Smith) have got it right by picking the best playing XI for the country; however , he clearly states that this could set a bad precedent. It may seem as if he is sitting on the fence but I do not think he is.This is my view. India is the best team in the world based on the ICC ranking. I consider the ICC ranking as flawed and I have devised my own ranking but that is a different story. To play the best team you will need your best bowlers. Right now your best spin bowlers are Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid. Bess and Leach have not done especially considering that Taunton is considered to be spin friendly. Moeen Ali has played only one first-class match this season but no one has raised any questions about the fact that Ben Stokes has also played only one first-class match. The total runs scored by him across both those innings was 12. No one has questioned whether he is good enough to play. They are good talented players and so is Adil Rashid. He does not have to prove himself playing red ball cricket to see whether he is good enough to play Test Cricket. He has proved himself against world-class players. That kind of experience sadly cannot be got from county cricket. The players are just not good enough. I do not think it was a coincidence that Cook was sent to play in the Lions match against India A when he clearly could have played India when they played against Essex. It is time we realise that the jump from county cricket to international cricket, especially at the test level, is enormous. What you end up getting is a handful of players who can possibly reach international level. We should be supporting our players. The Indians will have five days to try and put England down. Be assured that they will do their best to win the Pataudi trophy. If Rashid plays then be assured that India will go after Adil Rashid. They will try and pile as much pressure on him as possible from ball one. Will Rashid be able to handle the pressure or succumb to his critics? Either way, it will be a good commentary to see.I strongly believe that Test Cricket is the gold standard. Playing white ball cricket cannot prepare you for Test matches just as playing low-quality first-class county cricket cannot prepare you for Test matches. I am prepared to commit heresy and say that playing in the IPL and facing the best players in the world is better preparation for Test cricket than other games. Five of the top ten wicket takers in IPL 2018 are in the Indian squad for England. The remaining four players in the top ten are foreigners. Siddarth Kaul is not in the team.Five of the top ten batsmen in IPL 2018 are in the Indian squad. Three of the top ten are foreigners. Ambati Rayudu failed to make it because he did not hit 16.1 on the Yo-Yo test. Suryakumar Yadav is playing for India A. Cheteshwar Pujara is in the squad but his batting has been woeful in England. There is talk of Kuldeep Yadav replacing either Ashwin or Jadeja. The IPL has been a great platform for unearthing talent.Twenty years back one could hardly say that India had quality players who were good against fast bowling as well as spin. The quality of fast bowling was well short of ideal. The fitness and fielding of the players of the past are best left locked in a box. Today things have changed. Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri are dead serious about fitness. Kohli is fanatical about what he eats. The fielding is absolutely great where even fast bowlers dive around. This has come from a holistic approach to the game. The stadiums may be full in India for the IPL games but the equivalent of county games is practically barren. Despite this India is producing genuinely good players. Playing red ball or white ball cricket is not the issue. Finding quality players is the problem. I would like to leave you with two last thoughts. Annie has written a guest post on being outside cricket on The County Game. One of the ideas I really liked that she has suggested is to have a four-day first-class game but precede that with a T20 game. The same squad will be used for T20 and first class. The winner of the T20 will be adjudged to have won the toss for the four-day game. Maybe this could be a solution that would make people play white and red ball cricket?The second is Plunkett has announced that he will be leaving Yorkshire. Maybe there is something wrong in the way the club is managed.
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