Replacing Freddie?

With Andrew Flintoff set to miss the fourth Test against the West Indies, the fight is on for many to replace him in the team. Ravi Bopara and Amjad Khan were called up to the Caribbean when Freddie’s injury first became apparent, but they are not the only options to take the place of the big man.

Considering that England must win this Test match to have a chance of securing a series victory, it is crucial they make the right decision here. Replacing Flintoff is by no means easy, so let us take a look at the options.

Ravi Bopara

For – Scored an unbeaten 124 in the recent tour match and looked in very destructive form.

Against – His bowling is very much part-time, so in theory England would be a bowler down if they selected him.

Amjad Khan

For – Took five wickets and looked dangerous against the BCA President’s XI. He would also give England a fresh looking bowling line-up.

Against – Should he come in for Flintoff, it would mean that Tim Ambrose – who will play because Matt Prior has flown home – will have to bat at No.6.

Adil Rashid

For – Provides England with the second spinning option they were missing in the third Test. As an all-rounder, he could also bat at No.6 if needed.

Against – Yet to make his Test match debut and would mean that England go into the match with only three front-line seamers. Is this enough?

Ian Bell

For – Showed signs of decent form in the tour match with scores of 44 and 72 and the pressure would be off him slightly at No.6.

Against – Is it too early to bring someone back in who has been dropped? Possibly. Also, he doesn’t replace the Flintoff bowling option in the slightest!

Ryan Sidebottom

For – The left-armer was England’s best bowler in 2008 and looked back to his economical best when taking two wickets in the tour match.

Against – Again, it leaves England short batting wise should he be a straight replacement for Flintoff.

So, who will England go for? Well, the absence of Matt Prior is extremely significant. Had he been available, Khan or Sidebottom would have come in for Flintoff and Prior – who has looked assured with the bat on this tour – would have batted at No.6.

However, with Ambrose taking the gloves it is likely that England will have to bring in a batsman to replace Freddie. They can’t afford to leave themselves short batting wise in such a crucial Test, after all. This means that Bopara and Bell will fight it out to bat at No.6 for England.

Personally, I think they will go for Bopara. He and Ambrose aren’t the only players I would bring in though. Khan looked very impressive in the tour match and even though this isn’t always a good assessment of how they will perform in Test cricket, the England bowling attack needs a fresh face in my opinion. Bring him in for Anderson maybe?


By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about English cricket

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