Before the Test series against the West Indies started there were a few mild rumblings about the form of Andrew Strauss, who had not got a Test century for over 18 months. Since there is still nobody to replace Strauss as skipper, the demand for his ouster from the team was not as intense as it would have been otherwise.
Alastair Cook has been impressive in the Tests that he has led, but Strauss will be given a fairly long rope after retaining the Ashes in Australia, a feat that not many English skippers have achieved. Strauss repaid that faith by getting a century and is now entrenched for this season and maybe even for the tour to India later in the year.
Winning the series against the current West Indies team won’t be too much of a problem for England, but the South Africans later in the summer could well be a totally different proposition. The South Africans have been number two in the Test rankings for a while now and they dearly want to show the cricketing world that they are the number one team and defeating England will be a big step in that direction.
England of course will not be easy to beat at home for they have a good balanced team with an incisive attack. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad make a fine opening pair and that Steve Finn misses out just tells you the strength of the new ball attack that England possess. The batting too is looking good, especially now that Strauss has found form, and both Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen will be keen to do well against the country where they were born and where they learnt their early cricket.
The first Test at Lord's also saw Shiv Chanderpaul become the latest member of the 10000 runs club and the way he is batting he could well be on his way to join the 11000 club sooner than later. He was unlucky to miss a century in both innings, but his is the wicket to get for the English team. By winning the first Test comfortably, England have shrugged off their winter season against Pakistan in U.A.E and Sri Lanka, and now playing in familiar territory are looking a different side indeed.
Stuart Broad has come on so well as a new ball bowler, mixing up the short delivery cleverly and then probing the off stump of the batsmen. He grabbed seven wickets in the first innings and followed with a four wicket haul in the second, to send the West Indians tumbling down to their defeat.
He is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week for that terrific bowling in the first Test of the new English season.
Professional Management Group