England coach Mark Robinson has had some interesting decisions to make in the lead-up to the T20 series against Pakistan, which begins at the County Ground in Bristol this afternoon.
The success of Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Winfield and Nat Sciver in the ODI series – who between them scored 3/4 of England’s runs* – meant that a few others hardly got a look-in. Danni Wyatt had two innings in the series, both at the death-end, scoring 12* (off just 6 balls) at Worcester and 1 (off 3) at Taunton; whilst Amy Jones’ might as well have left her bat at home – she didn’t get a single innings. Meanwhile, Fran Wilson’s contribution has been restricted to carrying drinks.
So in the name of “building for the future” it would obviously be nice for all three to get some proper time out in the middle, in what is probably England’s easiest “least challenging” (because none of them are “easy”) series of the international cycle.
But how do you do that? Do you push Winfield down the order? Now that she at last seems to have found a role? Do you drop Elwiss for Wilson? When she just scored 77 off 78 balls at Taunton?
These aren’t simple questions to answer; even before you get to the bowling!
The injury to Shrubsole has actually made things a bit easier for Robinson. Assuming he wants to play two seamers, Farrant comes in, which gets her some overs she deserves – she is a good “containing” T20 bowler, who bowls with her brain as well as her handy left arm.
But what about the spin options? After a torrid WBBL, Laura Marsh wasn’t selected for the WWT20, but her career was thrown a lifeline when she was flown to India after all, as a replacement for the injured Dani Hazell; and she seized the opportunity, and has performed (in the words of Heather Knight) “brilliantly” in the ODIs. So do England now drop her for Hazell?
And then there is Alex Hartley. She took some stick on commentary for her performance in the 3rd ODI – she lost her line bowling to the left-hander in her first spell, and [technical jargon warning…] it all went a bit squiffy for a couple of overs; but she was taken off and came back tighter and looking more like herself. Besides, Robinson’s “big thing” is that we don’t drop people after one bad performance; so do we now do just that and send Hartley back to the bench?
The phrase “Hobson’s choice” was coined for the situation where there is only one option. But what about the time when where there are too many options? Perhaps it should be termed “Robinson’s choice”?
* Runs off the bat.