Alaistair Cook – It would do much more harm than good to drop the captain; especially as the team have already lost Trott. The team would be even more unsettled if Cook was dropped, which would have even more embarrassing results. Also, Cook is now an experienced and classy batsmen who you feel is never far away from being in-form.
Michael Carberry – He is one of the only English batsmen to look relatively comfortable in Australia this time out and England haven’t got any sensible replacement, so he must play.
Joe Root – Root proved in the 2nd Innings of the last Test that he could bat at number three, as he scored a quality 87. His calm temperament is what England need in the ‘anchorman’ position. Also, he can bowl a few very useful overs, as I propose England don’t play an out and out spinner. Perth is always a fast and hard pitch where the quicks thrive and Swann hasn’t been damaging enough to deserve a place anyway. Although Panesar looked slightly better than Swann in the last test he also certainly didn’t do enough to take a fast bowler’s position in Perth.
Kevin Pietersen – Scored a half-century in England’s last innings. Also, he has the most ability of any player in the Ashes and is never far away from a match winning innings and he can bowl a few overs.
Bell – Has been in form recently. England’s best player at the moment. Can’t be dropped.
Stokes – Showed promise in England’s last innings and looked up for the fight. Can bowl as well which will be needed with a lack of a spinner. If Stokes didn’t bowl I would go for Balance, as the Australians would not have seen much of him.
Proir – Scored half-century in England’s last innings. Too good a player to stay out of form for much longer and, as the keeper, he is at the heart of the successful England team of recent years.
Broad – Can get useful runs at the end of the innings even though he doesn’t seem to fancy much of Mitchell Johnson. On top of this, he has the ability to suddenly get a bunch of wickets. A match winner.
Anderson – Has been the leader of the attack in recent years and I feel the other bowlers would feel lost without him. Moreover, he is simply too skillful to be left out.
Rankin – He is 6ft 8in, 2.04m, and bowls in the high 80’s, maybe occasionally hitting 90. The pace and bounce of Perth, The Waca, will suit him down to the ground. Furthermore the Australians will not have seen much of him before. We seem to have forgotten in this Johnson mayhem that many of the Australians don’t like quick, short bowling. Lets fight the Johnson factor with the Rankin factor. You may say that Rankin will not be as successful because Johnson is quicker, but don’t forget that Rankin is much taller. Just remember the success Tremlet, 2.01m, had in the last series in Australia when he was bowling in the high 80’s. Lastly the England boys need to wind Rankin up before he goes out to bowl. We need Rankin to go out there wanting to try to hurt the Australian batsmen.
Finn/Bresnan – If England think it will reverse swing they should go for Bresnan as he is a master of this craft and he bowls a heavy ball which should be good at Perth. However, if England think reverse swing will not play a part they should get Finn in the nets a few days before the game and ask him to just bowl fast and not worry about anything else. If he bowls 90+ consistently and isn’t completely wayward then England should pick him and not worry if he goes for too many boundaries. Then before the game wind him up like Rankin. Then just before the match just tell him to focus on one thing, knocking the Australian batsmen over. Them and their stumps! England need to emphasize to him that kicking the stumps, the length of his run up and his economy doesn’t matter, so he doesn’t worry about those instead of thinking about bowling fast and getting wickets. Finn is also very tall at 6ft 7in, 2.01m. As well as this he has the ability to be up and around the pace of Johnson, who is only 6ft 2in, 1.89m, and bowls with a slightly round arm action, which takes further height of where the delivery is released from. Therefore I feel Finn, on Perth’s fast and bouncy pitch, could be a bigger asset for England than Johnson is for Australia! The thought of facing Finn at one end and Rankin in the other would certainly put fear and doubt into the Australian batsmen’s minds. And if it didn’t to start with it certainly would after a few overs! Having said all this, if Finn can’t seem to hit these high speeds anymore in the nets or is completely wayward I think Bresnan is the better choice as he will provide better consistency and therefore create more pressure, which is important.
England have obviously really struggled in the first 2 tests, but one spell of really hostile bowling could turn this series on its head. Another point I have to make is that people in the media need to stop making ridiculous comments, like England are doomed, they are going to loose 5 – 0. They certainly will if everyone keeps saying so!
Overall, England need to go to Perth, the Australian’s real backyard, and put it up ’em with Rankin and hopefully Finn. Lets see how they cope. I don’t rate the backbone of this Australian team; they may seem confident at the moment but I doubt how deeply rooted that confidence is. It will not take much to turn this series in our favor.