Compton out, Borthwick in
What an excellent start to the summer. Two Tests, two wins, series secured and just one more of our 'series trophies' to win until we hold them all. In last month's blog I offered some advice to the selectors, some they heeded (retaining Hales as opener and bringing James Vince into the middle order) and some they ignored (dropping Compton and recalling Ballance).
While in hindsight, I admit Ballance may not have done enough to justify a recall with his early season form (or lack of), a month later I stand by my belief that the time is right to move on from Compton. In the opening two Tests, he just hasn't done enough. When the pressure is on the big players dig deep and find that performance. Remember Strauss in New Zealand, remember Cook against Pakistan. Sport at the top level is a harsh environment. Trevor Bayliss said in the winter, that he'd rather give a player one game too many, than one game too few, that's admirable and if I'm honest I agree with the approach. But, the second Test at Durham, was Compton's 'one game too many'. The selectors have decided to stick with him for the third Test and who knows he might pull an innings out of the bag, but for me it'd be an innings too late. The series is won, I'm not sure any kind of score in a dead rubber is enough justification to retain him. I've just not seen enough from him at three that shows us he's the right man for England when the pressure is on, in the big series.
So, with Ballance out of the equation, who is my next name to put forward? Scott Borthwick. This kid is seriously impressing up at Durham, where the pitches aren't the easiest for batting. He comes in at three, has been batting consistently for two years and this year is churning out the 'daddy' hundreds that Graham Gooch so loves. He can also bowl seriously good leg breaks. The selection of Borthwick would bring another genuine all rounder to the team. His leg spin would give Cook the dream attack with 6 front line bowlers covering all aspects of seam and spin and more importantly would add strength to an already strong batting line-up. It would give us a dream eleven and would give us the opportunity of playing three spinners this winter in the sub continent, four if you include Root.
If you were to do a comparison between Compton and Borthwick - two numbers threes - on what they could both bring to the team, there's only one winner.
Selectors, over to you.