Monday, July 25, 2005

Thorpe Vs. Everyone Else Apart From Pietersen

England got hammered by Australia yesterday, although all the damage had been done on Saturday really, when the last three wickets added over a hundred runs and England collapsed from 80-odd for none to 120-odd for five. About the only bright point of the match from England's perspective was the batting of Pietersen, to whom I am now converted, although Harmison did bowl well too. With this in mind, I renounce half the view I expressed here, that bringing Pietersen into the Test Side was not a good idea, since he'd get found out in Test Cricket. However given the fairly bloody woeful batting performance from the rest of the top order, I am not going to renounce the other half of the argument from that post: England would have quite obviously benefitted from Thorpe's steely-mindedness in both innings over the weekend. As Atherton said on commentary over the weekend, Pietersen should have been picked for Bell against Bangladesh, since presumably little that was not known about him from the South African series was learnt against Australia. I'm quite happy to admit that I said nothing of the sort at the time, and that it's inevitably much easier to make better decisions in hindsight, but such a decision would have avoided treating either Thorpe or Bell badly. The alternative, I suppose, would have been to drop Hoggard or Giles, and lengthen the batting line-up, which does seem a little vulnerable with Flintoff at six. Still, too late now, isn't it: England have treated a player who has not only suffered rather a lot in their cause, but also been typically been very successful against the Australians, really badly and rather stupidly.

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