OPINION: Five Selection Dilemmas For England

Syd Egan & Raf Nicholson look at some of the selection dilemmas facing England coach Mark Robinson as he considers his side for the ODIs against Pakistan next week.

Dilemma 1: Lauren Winfield v Tammy Beaumont

In the post-dystopian wasteland that is English cricket without Charlotte Edwards, the first question Mark Robinson has to answer is: who will open with Heather Knight? Robinson obviously thinks highly of Beaumont – saying recently he was “excited” to see if she could build on her World T20 performances – and she is the highest run scorer in this season’s County Championship; but Winfield opened in the ODIs in South Africa, albeit not terribly successfully, scoring just 22 runs in the 3-match series. SE

Dilemma 2: Amy Jones v Fran Wilson

With Sarah Taylor currently out of the equation, another difficult call for Robinson is going to be: who should bat at number 3? While Jones will no doubt be an automatic selection as Taylor’s former under-glove butler, it remains to be seen whether she can step up and anchor an innings in the way that the no. 3 position requires. Wilson, on the other hand, is not only back to full fitness but appears to have made a good case for herself batting at 3 for the Academy, fresh from making 88 against Ireland A at Loughborough last week. RN

Dilemma 3: Georgia Elwiss v Jenny Gunn

It’s the Battle Of The All-Rounders. In the Blue Corner, we have Jenny Gunn: for so long England’s Heavyweight Champion. In the Red Corner, we have Georgia Elwiss: the young(ish!) upstart who alone of England’s batsmen came out of the Canterbury Test last summer with her head held high. Gunn may have played 232 internationals for England to date, but if the last month is anything to go by, Robinson seems quite prepared – indeed almost eager – to discard experience in favour of potential. Is Gunn’s time as England’s front-line all-rounder at a close? RN

Dilemma 4: Kate Cross v Tash Farrant

There is a good chance England will go into the series with just the two seamers (Shrubsole and Brunt) but if either of them gets injured, or they decided to try to take advantage of English conditions while they can, then it comes down to a shoot-out between Kent’s Farrant and Lancashire’s Cross. Farrant has impressed this year in domestic cricket – she is the leading wicket-taker in Division 1 of the County Championship – but Cross is the more likely candidate to eventually take over opening the bowling from Brunt when she retires, so if Robinson is building for the future, he might well be looking to give her a chance against Pakistan. SE

Dilemma 5: Becky Grundy v Alex Hartley

The battle of the left-armers is probably the most interesting of Robinson’s dilemmas, because the way it falls will be quite telling of the direction Robinson intends to take. Hartley is without a shadow of a doubt the better bowler, but she is also what they call a Genuine No. 11™ while Grundy had a good game with both bat and ball for the Academy last week against Ireland. Then again, Robinson could pass them both by and pick Lancashire’s Sophie Ecclestone, who at just 17 really is “the future”. SE

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2 thoughts on “OPINION: Five Selection Dilemmas For England

  1. It wouldn’t be inconceivable for England to include up to 8 of the above players all in the same team. Unless I’m mistaken, they must play at least four of them. The only duo who almost certainly wouldn’t both play would be Hartley and Grundy. And both Cross and Farrant couldn’t, if (as I assume) Hazell is playing as well.

    My thoughts on the dilemmas:
    1. Both, Beaumont or Jones to open
    2. Wilson at 3, Jones to keep wicket if fit (otherwise Winfield)
    3. Elwiss offers more with the bat these days, Gunn maybe steadier bowling at the death. Batting is priority at the moment
    4. Farrant may have more wicket-taking potential. Neither is a certainty
    5. Give the “much-hyped” Hartley a go.

    One possibility: Jones, Knight, Wilson, Beaumont, Winfield, Sciver, Elwiss, Brunt, Shrubsole, Hazell, Hartley

    In which case Backup: Cross, Farrant, Grundy, Gunn, Marsh, Wyatt

    Personally I’m not too sure about Winfield in ODIs, but unless MR brings in support from outside the group he doesn’t have much choice? England don’t have that much more batting unless they bring in a new Academy player!

    Another question is just when is the squad going to be announced? MR seems to be leaving it a bit late! We have only 5 days now until the 1st ODI…I was on the verge of assuming no announcement, no new inclusions and he was just going with the remnants of the contracted players (minus CE, LG and ST of course) so no Hartley in which case they would pretty much have to play at least 5-6 of the above.

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  2. MR has made significant decisions at the top of the tree, in the last month. Now it seems months into the season we’re still working with the group of players he spent the winter with minus CE, LG & ST. I would’ve thought by now he should’ve assessed the academy with help from his team.

    We’ve only heard about his assistant if that is his ‘support team’ he will have a problem implementing change.

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