Just before I empty my bucket of tears, it would be remiss not to congratulate him on his various achievements.
Er, actually, I can’t think of any.
Moving swiftly on, the man now charged with picking the England squads is head coach Chris Silverwood, the former Yorkshire pace bowler.
It seems a sensible move – after all, the head coach has responsibility for selection in football and rugby, so why not in cricket, too?
Indeed, it is not as if the England cricket backroom team is not already top-heavy with experience – far too much of it, in this view, rendering a separate selection panel unnecessary not to mention anachronistic.
Perhaps the winter fiasco did for Smith, and although the Cambridge graduate was far from the only one responsible for the well-intentioned, if ultimately absurd rest and rotation policy that failed to prioritise a Test series in India over comparatively meaningless white-ball games, he was, in many ways, the public face of the calamity, which resulted in a collective disregard for, and disrespect of, Test cricket that is now simply accepted by many in my own trade with a weary shrug, particularly those who also have a foot in the broadcasting camps.
Now Silverwood is the man in the spotlight, treading the fine line between wanting to have the best players at his disposal but knowing full well that money – ie, the IPL – is many of the players’ priority.
In that respect, Silverwood is, like Smith, on a hiding to nothing, although his hands will clearly not always be tied. Plus he has the chance, in this humble judgement, to make his mark straight away by recalling Adam Lyth from his international exile, six years after the Yorkshire batsman last played Test cricket.
Unless I am missing something, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Rory Burns and Dom Sibley are better players than Lyth, who has lately been in the form of his life and surely deserves a second go?
Granted, he is 33 now and in the autumn of a career that brought him seven Test caps against the might of New Zealand and Australia in 2015, but if you’re good enough, you’re young enough, to invert the popular term, and Lyth is certainly good enough if one is choosing on the only currency that counts – runs.
Granted, some will conveniently write him off as a dasher, a man who can score as quickly and fluently as anyone in the country before the inevitable misjudgement outside off stump, but that is a lazy assessment of the Lyth of today.
Indeed, it can only be such short-sighted criticism or, dare one suggest, a subconscious or perhaps even a deliberate Yorkshire bias within certain sections of the media that would deny him a second chance. I have certainly not seen many better English batsmen in the last decade or so, and I consider Lyth’s talents under-appreciated.
Indeed, and at the risk of being accused of a pro-Yorkshire bias, an England Test batting line-up that included Lyth, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow and, of course, Joe Root, would hardly weaken the one favoured by Smith.
With better handling, some of those players would no doubt have fared even better than they have done, and that is before we get started on the shambolic treatment of Adil Rashid, which, in fairness to Smith, pre-dated his arrival from Test Match Special where, it seemed to me, he specialised in turning the most prosaic of discussion points into some sort of philosophical debate, which had my alarm bells ringing from the start.
For my money (not that I have any), Lyth should start the Test series against New Zealand next month and be given another run in the team. Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Will Fraine, say, can look after things at Yorkshire in his absence, and there is no-one at Headingley who would begrudge Lyth the chance or not be pleased for him.
Mr Silverwood, it’s over to you.
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