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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Joe Denly is carried off at The Oval
Denly is carried off at The Oval

After the debacle at Old Trafford - the ramifications of which will be felt for some time - we need some good weather and decent pitches to help us through what is universally acknowledged as an over-extended series of one-day internationals.

Seven games - talk of overkill. And Australia return for five more next summer! It's a familiar argument, and not one I am going to repeat now.

Instead, we can focus on some of the players for whom this is a very important series. One of those is certainly Joe Denly, the Kent opener, who has been on the fringe of international recognition for a while.

Whether he is fit enough to start the series is in doubt, however, because of another injury caused by playing football in training.

Again, I know this is a familiar topic of mine, but isn't it becoming ridiculous?

James Anderson missed half a Test in New Zealand last year, Matt Prior's back spasm helped upset England's preparations before the Headingley Test and now Denly's knee goes one day before the first match of a series.

Frankly, it is bordering on irresponsibility on behalf of the coaching staff, who appear to be persisting with it more through stubbornness than anything else.

Denly has some stiff competition at the top of the order but with Kevin Pietersen sidelined, it does give fringe players an opportunity.

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Ravi Bopara urgently needs a score. I entirely agree with Nasser Hussain's comment that Bopara has something of a swagger that needs to go. He looks too casual for my liking and needs to knuckle down.

He will probably have pole position for opening with Andrew Strauss, and therefore has plenty of time to pace his innings, while playing his natural strokes with the field restrictions in place.

Owais Shah and Luke Wright will have to play aggressive roles in the absence of Pietersen, and Paul Collingwood's international future has come under the spotlight since his performances in the Oval Test.

You can be sure that Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson will be testing him out with the short ball.

With Monty Panesar firmly in the wings, and in no way certain of a place on the winter tour of South Africa, I hope England give Adil Rashid a decent run.

He must be a serious alternative to Panesar as the second spinner in the Test squad and could gain a lot of useful experience from these matches - as well as showing us what he can do with the bat.



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see also
England fall short in run-chase
04 Sep 09 |  England
Australia coach to return early
02 Sep 09 |  Australia
Collingwood defends abandonment
01 Sep 09 |  England
England spared by Manchester rain
30 Aug 09 |  England
Miller worried by 50-over demise
28 Aug 09 |  Counties
Haddin injured for one-day series
26 Aug 09 |  Australia
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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