|Looking Towards the First
|Nobody will be looking
forward to playing against Zimbabwe at Lord's more than my old Lancashire
Freddie came through a frustrating and lengthy injury absence to
become one of England's stars of the World Cup and has subsequently
shown that he is ready for another crack at the international scene.
There is nothing like a century at Lord's to lift the spirits and
when Freddie returns next week it will be in the knowledge that
the last time he was there he was raising his bat to acknowledge
Scoring a century at headquarters, even when
| it's empty, takes some
beating and Freddie will no doubt use the experience of hitting
three figures for Lancashire there to good effect. Hopefully Zimbabwe
and South Africa, later in the summer, will come to appreciate that
England now have an all-rounder of true world class.
The same match where Freddie cracked his ton also marked the Lord's
debut for Jimmy
Anderson, one of the latest recruits to the ISM cricket
stable. It will have been a very timely little eye opener to the
young pace man should he be selected for the first Test next week.
Hopefully it will not be as cold and have more help for swing and
seam should he return for his full home debut.
It will be interesting to see down which path the selectors go for
the Zimbabwe series because the opportunity is there to test one
or two of the several good youngsters now lifting our game.
If John Crawley is sacrificed in the interests of future development
it would be tough on my ex-Old Trafford colleague because he has
done nothing wrong, but it is in the No.6 slot where I can see an
opening for experiment against a relatively inexperienced Zimbabwe
I have heard a lot of glowing reports about Will Jefferson at Essex,
the 6ft 10in batsman under the expert tutelage of Graham Gooch,
but I cannot see the selectors splitting up Michael
Vaughan and Marcus
We will see, but I do not expect many surprises and much depends
on whether the selectors pick the best team or seek to take a look
at one or two players. Alex Stewart has been a great servant and
if you go for your top 11 then he would still be in there, so it
is not an easy decision.
Hopefully young Jimmy will get his first taste of Test cricket here
and I think Steve Harmison and Andy Caddick will be the other pace
men while Ashley Giles is currently in control of the spinner's
Whatever happens, it's going to be interesting.