Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Re-shuffle maybe needed for final Ashes push

The one positive an England fan can take following the horrendous display at Perth is the fact the Ashes series has well and truly come alive.

The Aussie supporters are notoriously fickle and the empty seats at Brisbane and Adelaide on the final day suggested they had all but given up on their side and gone off to support a team that is winning elsewhere.

But since leveling the series at the Waca they have been given a sniff of glory once more. Reports amongst those looking at the Live match score of the Australian cricket team’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and interest in the series has soared again.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on what could or should happen at the MCG on Boxing Day. Be it issues with the pitch, Ricky Ponting’s finger injury, the enigma that is Mitchell Johnson, Paul Collingwood’s poor form, Ian Bell’s good form or the makeup of England’s bowling attack.

What is clear though is that with the final test at Sydney beginning just three days after the conclusion at Melbourne, England coach Andy Flower will have to closely monitor the fitness of his players.

Steven Finn is one player who looked jaded at Perth. With Flower seemingly determined to stick with four frontline bowlers, and the Melbourne pitch now not expected to take spin (as per Aussie instructions) a lot of pressure and workload will be piled on just three quicks.

The fiery Ajmal Shahzad is waiting in the wings. Shahzad also has the advantage of being able to bowl well to left-handers. With Mike Hussey proving to be an immovable object in the middle, Shahzad maybe Flower’s latest weapon. Tim Bresnan is also waiting in the wings and has the advantage of being able to bat a bit.

With the crowded cricket calendar putting an ever greater strain on players the sport is now well and truly a squad game. Those studying the Latest Test match scores believe that the way Flower utilizes his full complement of players could be the key to their success at Melbourne and Sydney.