Collab club: England vs Sri Lanka part two

Welcome to part two of this episode of collab club. We pick the discussion back up for the final part of the squad discussion - the spinners.

Be warned. Things get spicy. For context both of us are absolutely dross leg spinners.


CT: Now to the main talking point other Bairstow's inclusion: Moeen Ali and the spinners.

ATC: Well to start, Jack Leach should be our primary bowler, he was the best of them in Sri Lanka 2 years ago. And he's the best spinner we have. Dom Bess, can be considered fortunate given his torrid summer to be in the main squad.

CT: I'm with you on Bess and Leach being the first two picks. I slightly prefer Bess but appreciate he had a pretty poor summer. Leach has struggled with injury and illness which has kept him sidelined and opened the door for Bess to excel in South Africa.

ATC: You prefer Bess over Leach?

CT: For me, Leach has never looked like ripping through a side. He bowled excellently last time in Sri Lanka but those were on some of the most spinning pitches even they have produced. Bess, on the other hand, has not toured anywhere known for its prestigious spin and what impressed me most was how good he looked in South Africa.

I think the way to go would to pick one and stick with them for non-spinning conditions. But they will both probably play most of the games this winter, with the tour of India to follow. I feel they both have quite similar ceilings in terms of their maximum potential as neither of them are likely to be world-beaters. But with Bess being six years younger, I think he is more likely to show the most improvement from current form.

What gives Leach your vote?

ATC: Bess has left Somerset first on loan and now permanently because he can't get game time because of Leach. Leach had an excellent Ashes series last year after his recall and would have been England's primary spinner for the winter had he not been ill. Furthermore Leach is extremely economical. Whereas Bess this summer could neither contain nor take wickets. He seems to be picked because he can bat more than Leach. Which I'm not really sure is a valid reason to pick a spinner.

Right before we fall out!

Moeen! Recalled because he did well 2 years ago. Thoughts now?

CT: Moeen is probably the most fortunate to make the plane. He has admitted himself that he has not wanted to play test cricket over the last couple of years so what has changed now. He has looked a shadow of himself with the bat in the recently and with the ball can hardly buy a wicket. Once upon a time, Moeen and Rashid were a lock for 10 overs each in ODI games. Moeen no longer is a guaranteed selection and in t20s barely bowls more than a single over when he plays.

I would much rather see a youngster like Parkinson or Crane be given an opportunity, than play Moeen who at almost 34 is unlikely to be playing in the Ashes given how he went previously Down Under and against the Aussies in general.

ATC: I agree with Moeen. Quite how you can justify picking him is unbelievable. He didn't want to play (after already being dropped). His performances in ODIs have been abysmal (averaging 8 with the bat, 219 with the ball) and on average bowls one over per T20I this year. How that justifies a pick as a main spinner is ridiculous and given his age and his form appears terminal, I think it's a poor selection.

CT: What do you think might have happened had Moeen been asked to be a reserve player for the tour?

ATC: I think the love in on Moeen for what he once was - England will get him touring no matter what

CT: I think if he knew it was highly unlikely that he would play I think it would be difficult to justify spending that amount of time away from home. But if it were to get out that he had turned down the opportunity to tour, it would have raised more questions as to his future and whether he was really interested in forcing his way into the test side again. I think the fair place to put him would have been the reserves as he is clearly not in England's top three spinners currently.

Who out of the reserves do you fancy?

ATC: Parkinson is my favourite of the back ups, he went well in the warm ups last time. And really rips it. Plus is a leggie which is always an aggressive option. I'm dismayed he's only a back up. Crane and Virdi are good back ups, having had consistently good performance over the year thus far

CT: In a toss-up between Parkinson and Crane, I think Parkinson having spent more time in and around the squad would get the nod if it came to it. Crane's first-class record is not brilliant but had an outstanding 2020 in all formats so must be high on confidence. Virdi is young and is probably the least likely to play as the 3rd off-spinner in the pecking order.

ATC: Before we wrap up, are there any other selections you'd have liked to have seen?

CT: I think with the nature of the county season we had it was always going to be difficult for players to make a significant case for inclusion. So for me, there isn't anyone that has any right to be massively disappointed about missing out on this tour. What about you?

ATC: I think Ben Duckett could have been a good back up. Yes he's played a little for England in the past without much success. But he had an excellent summer. His past disciplinary issues probably count against him. Failing that, I'm aware of my bias, but I definitely would have brought Denly. A back up option. But if you wanted to keep Crawley at 3, you could put him as an opener. (Again, I'm very biased). Right I think that wraps it up. I think a bit underwhelmed the pair of us. Any final thoughts?

CT: I think if I were to sum up the squad in a sentence: disappointed but not entirely surprised.

ATC: Haha I think we'll leave it there!


So thats it, the end of collab club this time. Let us know your thoughts @InsideEdgeCrick on twitter


You've made a great choice!