Strauss to gamble against SA

2012-06-12 07:54

Birmingham - England captain Andrew Strauss has predicted the team will see the benefits of their controversial rotation policy when they put their number one Test ranking on the line against South Africa.

Strike bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested from the side that drew a rain-ruined third Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston on Monday, with Anderson omitted from the squad after England had taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

That led to criticisms that England, who have traditionally prized the five-day game above all other formats, were devaluing Test cricket.

And when Tino Best set about stand-in seamers Graham Onions and Steven Finn while making 95, the highest ever score by a No 11 batsman in Test history, there were plenty of pundits saying England had got what they deserved by not playing their strongest team.

However, with a packed schedule ahead of them, England coach Andy Flower has repeatedly insisted it was right to rest Anderson and Broad from this Test ahead of the seemingly sterner challenges set to be posed when South Africa visit for a three-match series starting in July.

"One of the things about missing a couple of your senior players is it makes you realise what role they do play in the side as well as allowing you to see what role the other guys could play in the side," said Strauss, named England's man-of-the-series for a hundred in each of the first two Tests.

"I think the picture is a lot clearer now, having seen that," he added after Onions had taken four for 88 and Finn three for 111 in West Indies' 426.

"In a way, although we didn't play brilliantly, I am very comfortable we made that decision, because it will serve us well come the South Africa series.

"As I've said, Onions and Finn both showed that they are definitely Test quality bowlers and they offer a lot in a number of areas."

England dropped several catches, with Ian Bell dropping two in the third slip position Anderson had made his own when he isn't bowling himself.

"The catching side was disappointing," said Strauss. "But I don't think you could say that was because Jimmy wasn't there because often he is bowling. That's something we need to get better at."

However, Strauss was happy to have wrapped up another series success, following five-wicket and nine-wicket victories at Lord's and Trent Bridge respectively, even if this draw meant the end of seamer Tim Bresnan's previously perfect career record of 13 Test wins.

"The West Indies have got some dangerous players there and we were able to overcome that challenge," Strauss said.

"It wasn't a perfect performance by don't want to be in a situation where No 11 gets 95 all that often!"

England and the West Indies now contest a one-day series before England face Australia in a separate limited overs campaign.

But none of those matches will feature Strauss, who quit white ball international cricket after last year's World Cup.

"I'm going to take a little bit of a break but I'm going to keep batting all the way through," said Strauss, who will be looking to blunt a powerful Proteas pace attack featuring Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

"The worst thing you can do when you've got a bit of rhythm is to go away and not pick up a bat for a long period of time, so I'll be batting again pretty soon and then obviously playing a game for Middlesex before the Test matches against South Africa."


  • Squeegee - 2012-06-12 08:07

    A few injuries would leave England in deep trouble.

      Geoff - 2012-06-12 10:29

      Same with the Proteas JK, AB, Steyn.....

  • thamsanqag - 2012-06-12 08:22

    I can't wait for this test series against the Poms to begin. I'm pretty sure that for at least once in the series our bowlers will embarrass their top order, just hope that taheer comes to the party also.

  • danny.zulberg - 2012-06-12 08:51

    Only problem - ONCE AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! our guys will begin the series having just come out of a period of inactivity and the Poms will have been playing regularly. Come Gary - fix that. Looking forward to it and looking forward to having a pint or two with the Barny's Army guys.

      Stew - 2012-06-12 11:32

      How can you "fix that"? We are in different hemispheres and have different seasons

      larry.morkel - 2012-06-13 14:23

      most of our guys are getting some practice at the T20 games in zim, only the seniors will be at home and remember alot of our guys still played ipl and some county cricket like ver and jacques rudolf. even if it is winter our squad is fit and well rested.

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-06-12 09:32

    "England captain Andrew Strauss has predicted the team will see the benefits of their controversial rotation policy when they put their number one Test ranking on the line against South Africa." So what you idiots in England already think that you've beaten South Africa before the series even started is that it? Like India before you,you English fools should never have been made the number one Test team,to begin with. That was a serious mistake made by the ICC,like so many others that it makes,as it only heightens you arrogant self-importance and narcissistic overconfidece. England like India can only beat test teams in a Series in their own country and playing under their own conditions or when playing weakened teams that's in transition. South Africa beat the hell out of you in the 2008 series in your own backyard and therefore should rightfully now be the number one test side as we haven't lost to you Poms in a series since then.

      tim.marles - 2012-06-12 10:06

      did mommy beat as a child? do not feed this caged animal!

      David - 2012-06-12 10:27

      "England like India can only beat test teams in a Series in their own country..." I seem to remember that they thumped the Aussies away.... England has a seriously good side with greath depth in seam bowling and a high quality spinner. They don't bat too badly either. Respect the opposition.

      Nigel - 2012-06-12 15:37

      There's no need to be so abusive. No-ones claiming anything. We English know it's going to be a tough series and that there's a lot at stake and have the utmost respect for the SA team. So grow up and enjoy what should be a great series, whoever comes out on top. I can't wait

      Chris - 2012-06-13 20:12


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