Never mind that we are eternally inept at football or tennis. More should be made of the fact that we have a terrific England cricket team. But for the dismal “summer” weather they would have won every game in the West Indies series, and more recently in the ODI series against Australia (which ended up “only” 4-0 to England). The next opponents, South Africa, will be a sterner challenge, but I reckon England will edge it in the Test series, at least. Of course, we should not forget the beating they took against Pakistan in the UAE at the turn of the year. Until they win against an Asian side in conditions similar to those encountered on that tour they cannot be mentioned in the same breath as the 1980s West Indies or 2000s Australia sides. The India tour later this year is their chance to put that right.
But who will play? It must be excruciatingly difficult to choose between Bresnan or Finn as the third seamer. I like them both. As well as Bopara played against Australia in the ODI series – and he would seem to be the one they will pick for the No.6 batting spot – I would not be averse to playing both Bresnan and Finn and shift them all up one in the batting order. So, Prior at 6, Bresnan at 7, Broad at 8, Swann at 9 etc. That still seems solid to me, but I don’t think that the selectors will do it.