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Jonathan Agnew column

England
England won the Tests comfortably by eight wickets and an innings and 80 runs

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent at Old Trafford

England have some difficult selection decisions ahead after their series victory against Bangladesh.

Clearly Bangladesh were so disappointing again - with the exception of Tamim Iqbal - that it's hard to make too many concrete judgements or bold statements, but what I have learned from this series is that Steven Finn is a bowler of great potential.

You can see even by watching one over that he can bowl and I'd be confident about him against any opposition.

He still needs to learn a fair amount but the basics are there and I like what I see.

Ajmal Shahzad seemed to be more dangerous with the older ball in fresher conditions than he was with the newer ball in overcast skies which was a bit surprising.

He seemed to be almost holding it across the seam but he was the quickest of the three England pace bowlers and I liked his enthusiasm, although I wouldn't make the bold statements about him that I do about Finn just yet.

England seem happy to build a rotating squad of bowlers but whether it's the right thing or not I'm not so sure.

I'd hate to see them rotating bowlers simply because they are playing too much cricket.

It's fair enough to rest players against Bangladesh and you would get over that disappointment, but anyone being rested against anyone else would be pretty cross.

The value of each Test cap and appearing for your country is really important and I'd hate to see it diminished.

Steven Finn
Finn was Man of the Seies after taking 15 wickets at a cost of 17

Tim Bresnan has taken a backward step in this series although I think he is probably a better bowler than we saw at Lord's, but he did not bowl with the pace that Shahzad did and looked ordinary when the ball was not swinging.

The other England player to miss out was Eoin Morgan, who had a disappointing series.

He has not made the most of his opportunity. He had two absolutely clear-cut chances to put his name in lights but 44 and 37 is not enough.

The selectors like him. They like his character and the fact that he can play positively and intelligently under pressure, but he got set twice and he didn't capitalise.

Ian Bell played very nicely in scoring his century. It was a a typical Bell innings, very pretty and stylish, but buried this accusation that he only gets runs in comfortable circumstances.

There is quite a bit of pressure on the batsmen so it was an important innings for him.

There has been some talk about Bangladesh dropping down as part of a two-tier Test system and I favour that, but only with a top tier of nine.

Any less and you're into problems with TV rights and all sorts of things. Can you imagine if West Indies dropped out and into a group with Ireland and the Netherlands? That would be the end of cricket in the West Indies. Or if England and Australia were in different divisions?

It is fraught with problems. Possibly a group of smaller countries such as Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Ireland and the Netherlands could compete with Bangladesh for one place, but even then you are putting one country in jeopardy.

The problem is there is a big gulf between Bangladesh and the rest of the Test teams at the moment.

The timing of their inclusion in Test cricket was probably premature. They have had 10 years at it now and haven't done very well, winning only three matches, and while they say all the usual stuff about improving they are still struggling.

England's next Test opponents will be Pakistan in late July, when Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad will obviously come back for Morgan and probably Shahzad.

Who knows what sort of Pakistan team will turn up!

They will have lots of support and expectation will be high. They've got a brilliant opportunity, they've been given the chance to play against Australia in Tests at Lord's and Headingley first and let's hope they do well.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Jamie Lillywhite



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see also
Ruthless England seal innings win
06 Jun 10 |  England
England v Bangladesh photos
06 Jun 10 |  England
England beat Bangladesh at Lord's
31 May 10 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Bangladesh in England 2010
10 Jul 10 |  Cricket


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