England’s decision to hand Michael Carberry and not Nick Compton a place in the Ashes squad for the winter series Down Under, could easily backfire unless Joe Root really comes of age.
If Root had not endured awful form in the ODI’s with Australia and was in essence an established opening Test batsman, then the cover player England selected to open in the Ashes series would not be quite as important.
Although the cricketing public are unanimous in their appreciation of Root’s huge potential, eight of his 10 knocks in the summer Ashes series returned under 30 runs, while four of those innings saw the Yorkshireman out for less than 10.
There were of course a few glimpses of his brilliance during the series, none more so than his imperious 180 at Lord’s which formed the backbone of that big England victory in the second Test – before a patient knock of 68 at the Oval in the fifth test was more like it.
But, too many times he was found out by the swing of Ryan Harris, getting out four times to the Australian quickie, which is a worrying sign.
This is why England’s selectors really should have plumped for Compton’s relative experience in the Test arena over Hampshire bat Carberry, who has only ever played in one Test against Bangladesh three years ago despite being 32 years old.
Many people already felt the decision to drop Compton for the Ashes after a really successful winter opening the batting for England was very harsh.
After all, his opening partnerships with Alastair Cook helped England toward a first Test series over India in 28 years, before saving England’s blushes with successive centuries in New Zealand to draw that series.
Although Carberry is a talented cricketer, his first two England ODI knocks which returned just five runs against some of the bowling attack he could face in Australia, coupled with a serious lack of Test experience, is a real concern.
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