English Cricket: He Who Dares…Wins

After a disappointing winter season the England team is looking to up their game in 2018 with new national selector Ed Smith taking the reins following the departure of James Whittaker in April.

Ed Smith

In one of his first moves, Smith made the decision to recall Jos Buttler to the squad. He noted that Buttler’s world class performance in 2016 against India was a flavour of things to come.

Along with some other choice appointments, including Joe Root as Captain, this means the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s on 24th May will likely be a scene setter for the year ahead.

Perhaps most surprising is the omission of James Vince who scored 76 against New Zealand in March and a phenomenal 201 for his home team, Hampshire at the start of May. The feeling is that the new line up will benefit from Smith’s positive attitude without dwelling too heavily on those not joining the current tour.

The Test series will continue again in June, again seeing Pakistan’s return against England.

Meanwhile, a series of one day internationals against Australia will sharpen the team’s coordination throughout June until the Twenty20 season begins in July. Whether the squad will remain in its current form throughout the summer is anyone’s guess.

One surprise addition to the team was that of Dominc Bess who replaces Jack Leach. Leach’s sudden departure was due to a broken thumb, a resolute and disappointing game changer for the bowler.

In reality, whilst every game is important in its own right, the next couple of months are effectively warm up games for the extended play against India which begins at the start of July. Several Twenty20 and One Day International matches will lead almost seamlessly toward the International Test Series with India being held across England.

Bold words from Alastair Cook, inviting his dismissal should he not perform to standard, echo the determination of his team-mates. Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad have both asserted their dedication to Test Cricket and to England suggesting this year may be England’s return to dominate the game.

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