Posted by: tootingtrumpet | March 28, 2022

Botham-Richards Trophy 2022 report cards: grading every England player

Joe Root: 289 runs, average 48; one wicket, average 69; four catches

By the hideous denouement, the trademark busyness with the bat required an almost visible force of will, while the interviews’ words said one thing and the eyes another. The captain may have been dealt a weak hand by English cricket’s mismanagement, but he both bears some responsibility for those decisions (especially selection) and can be accused (again) of failing to get the most from the resources available to him. With an attack not much inferior to his opposite number’s, it was much harder to discern history’s most experienced England captain’s tactics than it was those of the West Indies’ much less experienced skipper. There’s plenty of mitigation, but there’s plenty of underachievement too. Grade C-

(That was Root’s Ashes report card – so much for the reset)

Zak Crawley: 184 runs, average 31; one catch

An opening bat will get a lot of good balls and get out to some of them – such is forgivable. It’s getting out to nothing balls that pushes an average down into the low 30s, exposes a middle order and lifts an opposition. The talent is there, but can England afford the luxury of waiting for it to flourish? Grade C+

Alex Lees: 126 runs, average 21; one catch

Only Joe Root faced more than his 460 deliveries and he was not dismissed before the 18th over in each of his last four innings. On the one hand, that’s what England’s Crunchie bar brittle batting order needs – on the other, it’s why Dominic Sibley was dropped. Grade B-

Dan Lawrence: 197 runs, average 33; two wickets, average 32; two catches

Like the girl with the curl, when he looks good, he looks very good, but when he looks bad, he looks awful. Another batsman with a technique that going to reward Test match bowlers. Grade C+

Ben Stokes: 194 runs, average 32; seven wickets, average 27

Pressed the turbo button to smash an extraordinary century in the second Test, but it was, as many of his innings seem to be these days, that of a Six or Seven rather than a Five. Understandably so, given his captain’s insistence that he bowl so many overs and his body’s ever more obvious rebellion against so heavy a workload. Grade B

Jonny Bairstow: 226 runs, average 45; two catches

A brilliant century in the fist Test averted England being written off after one day of the series, but, not for the first time, he couldn’t make the most of his form. Being suckered into a flail in his 83rd Test by Joshua Da Silva (playing in his 14th) rather summed up England’s weakness under pressure. Grade B-

Ben Foakes: 96 runs, average 19; eight catches

Making keeping look easy, even on challenging tracks, is his thing, so it was a surprise that he made it look as difficult as he did. After a promising start with the bat, he could do nothing in the third Test showdown. Grade C-

Chris Woakes: 130 runs, average 43; five wickets, average 46; one catch

It’s so predictable, yet still so inexplicable, that the “top of off stump and just outside” approach that works so well at home (and is often called for by pundits) cannot produce the goods beyond England’s shores. As usual, his batting looked more fluent than most of the seven that went in ahead of him. Grade C-

(This is also Woakes’ Ashes report card)

Craig Overton: 15 runs, average 5; four wickets, average 47; three catches

He looked toothless, finding neither the sideways movement nor splice-jarring bounce from just short of a length that has brought so many domestic wickets. Grade D

Matt Fisher: 0 runs, average N/A; one wicket, average 71; one catch

Did not look out of place on debut (and that’s not intended as a backhanded compliment) and he can count himself unlucky not to retain his place. Will come again. Grade C+

Jack Leach: 50 runs, average 50; 11 wickets, average 31

If you are the only spinner selected, there are few hiding places, especially if, for once, the captain gives you catchers around the bat. At 30 years old and with 22 Tests behind him, he has to present more of a wicket-taking threat, even if the inexplicably popular phrase ‘Holding an end’ is the primary objective. Without a real rip on the ball, he does not find the drift and dip that can defeat a top batsman in the flight, too many deliveries the equivalent of a fast bowler floating the ball up on an unresponsive surface. Great team man and mentally tough as his batting showed, but his career may be holed below the waterline by a lack of jeopardy, especially in first innings. Grade B-

Mark Wood: 1 run, average 1; one wicket, average 45

His wicket was Kraigg Brathwaite, the West Indies’ best batsman and captain, caught in the gully off a 91mph thunderbolt. That is genuine world class bowling, but, as is increasingly clear, not a sustainable brief over a Test series (or even a Test). Grade B

Saqib Mahmood: 52 runs, average 52; six wickets, average 21; one catch

The Lancashire pacer bowled fast and found reverse swing from an action that looked repeatable and less stressful than that of many other young England bowlers. His unexpected cameo with the bat and a quip or two in interviews showed that he might just relish the limelight – something fewer and fewer of his colleagues appear to enjoy. Grade A-   

  


Responses

  1. Grim reading indeed.

    • It is – backwards instead of forwards.

  2. Saqib, 52 runs average 52 surely?

    • Yes! Thanks. Now amended.


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