Ian Baker - England have overhauled their selection policy
07 Sep 2010 - 07:59:52
In a week where cricket's good name has been dragged through the mud, it is perhaps easy to forget about other issues: notably England's selection issues.
Keep selecting a player and let him re-discover his form. Allow them to play without fear and they will come good.
That used to be the policy established by Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower and Geoff Miller. It has worked superbly for Strauss himself, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook and others.
But amid the Pakistan match-fixing scandal, the droppings of Kevin Pietersen and Craig Kieswetter from the one-day squads see an apparent shift in selection strategy.
Firstly, Pietersen's dropping from the Twenty20 and ODI squads has a certain amount of sense to it as it allows him to play first-class cricket for Surrey. He has not had a long innings in any form of the game for a long time and needs some batting time in a less pressurised environment.
But I get the impression it is a bit of desperation from the ECB to facilitate such a move - perhaps too little, too late.
Pietersen may have a complex personality but he still appears to be a little boy lost. For a long time, KP does not appear to have been supported by management in the same way others have - and you can understand his Twitter rant.
I just hope he can put a disastrous couple of years behind him by the time England travel to Australia because he remains a genuine match winner.
Kieswetter's dropping as wicket-keeper in the Twenty20 and removal from the one-day squad completely also comes as a surprise.
The Somerset youngster has hardly put a foot wrong with the gloves and he is paying a very large price for his failings with the bat against Australia.
This is a 22-year-old kid whose ability to hit the ball a long way makes him a bit of a trump card - as proved against minnows Bangladesh and Scotland.
Steve Davies, his replacement is highly rated, but to leapfrog the in-form Matt Prior in the pecking order seems to be rather baffling too.
A bit of confused, inconsistent thinking from the selectors may just undo a lot of good work.