Cricket Comment: England in need of a spin doctor

Chris Tremlett
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Adil Rashid awaits his England Test debut despite 46 wickets for Yorkshire last summer
KENT’S James Tredwell did a good job in the first Test against the West Indies in Antigua and gave England a chance of victory with five wickets in the match but I understand the decision to recall off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali.

He has looked a bit rusty so far in the second Test in Grenada but that is to be expected given he has been on the sidelines since suffering an abdominal strain at the World Cup.

It was a little bit harsh on Tredwell but in the grand scheme of things and looking to the future, Moeen deserves his place. He adds a little bit more depth to the batting. He also had a really good time in international cricket last year.

He is not a mainline spinner but if Moeen performs like he did towards the back end of last summer, when he took a six-for against India, there is no reason why he can’t keep his place as the main spin option going forward.

England don’t really have any class spinners coming through and there is nobody in county cricket who is bashing on the international door. That, in itself, is a big worry in the long term.

The now retired Graeme Swann showed how important he was to England. He was probably the main reason why England got to No1 in the Test world rankings because he bowled so many overs, kept things tight and took wickets.

Swann had an amazing strike rate of 60.1 for a spinner and he allowed the three seamers to rotate at the other end. He also allowed wicketkeeper Matt Prior to bat at seven. Swann was vital to England.

Having said that, Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid is exciting. England have not had a quality leg-spinner for an awfully long time. He has had potential for many years and I was surprised England did not give him a go in the first Test. It seemed the ideal opportunity to do so.

Given the nature of the series, with England playing fairly weak opposition on pitches that were likely to spin a bit, I would have liked to have seen what he is made of and whether he can cut the mustard in Test cricket.

I’m not sure when he’ll be given the chance now. I’m hoping the pitch in Barbados for the third Test may be conducive to two spinners, then we can perhaps see if Rashid is up to it.

Turning to the start of the domestic season, it was a frustrating one for me, having taken five wickets against Oxford University where I found the form of old, to then get a little hamstring niggle and miss the opener against Glamorgan.

I’m seeing the physio today and will make a call over the next few days as to whether I might be in contention for the four-day clash with Essex, which starts on Sunday. I’m itching to get back as soon as possible but have to be sensible.

In my absence, Surrey played out a high-scoring draw with Glamorgan at Cardiff on a dead flat wicket. It was great to see Steven Davies notch heavy runs and his maiden double century.

There was also big runs for Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara. What more can you say about him? He came in on debut and showed his class with 149 in the first innings and KP belted a few in the second innings before our declaration. Overall, it was a decent start for us.

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