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Sight Screen

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hard times for the Jones boy

Defeat -- especially sustained by a team that thought it was a chance -- cues in a scapegoat hunt.
Trescothick and Strauss, the two openers who couldn't quite cut it, and ended up transferring pressure on the middle order in much the same fashion the Indian openers did Down Under on the Tendulkar-led team? Nahhhh -- they played well in the second innings, is the concensus.
Vaughan, whose woeful batting form has visibly impacted on his captaincy, causing him to break out in defensive spots at the oddest moments? Naahhh... maybe it is time for him to revert to opening, they say.
Freddy Flintoff? No way -- he and Steve Harmison are the best England bets with the ball, and it is, as I recall reading somewhere yesterday, 'very hard for an all rounder to put both sides of his game together at the same time' (?!).
Ashley Giles? His name doesn't come up, if only because England for now reckons its problems lie with the bat, not ball. Ian Bell? His name doesn't come up, because he is seen as a soon-to-be-cashed IOU.
A Sherlock Holmes-ian process of elimination thus throws up the natural candidate -- Geraint Jones. He flubbed two catches, see (ignore for the moment that he was the first batsman, in the first innings, to show signs of calculated resistance, and that he more even than Pietersen played the innings that helped England scramble out of a chasm), and we can't afford that (England can't afford for Pietersen to flub catches either, or Flintoff, or anyone -- but scapegoat-hunts are not necessarily concerned with the finer points).
So Jones it is -- with, surprisingly, no less than Allan Border suggesting his place is on the line. Read, also, this accompanying piece chronicling the up and down career of the keeper -- flavor of the month during the Natwest Series, now having his neck measured for the noose after one Test.
Given that its problems obviously lie in numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4, would it be out of place to suggest that axing Jones is not going to make any noticeable difference to Team England?
Duncan Fletcher, incidentally, believes the axe is no solution -- though he doesn't seem to know what is, given he puts the defeat down to a collective 'off day. Interesting -- after pumping themselves up for the last so many months, Team England decided to go AWOL just when the rubber hit the road?

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