1. Has Haddin done enough to stay in the team? I am not convinced he has done enough with the gloves.
Absolutely. He *almost* stole the first test for us with the bat.
And while his keeping has has more than a few flaws, I don't think it's in the same category of disappointment as Wade has been behind the stumps. Wade was dropping catches and missing stumpings at about one a game last year. With the gloves Haddin has looked a bit sluggish down the leg side (hew always was, but is starting to look his age when he needs to move a lot). The biggest problem though has been the chances let fly through the slip cordon. Partly it's been the conditions: very slow and low requiring the keeper and slips top stand very close while still trying to catch off our genuinely fast quicks. But I think the sectors need to shoulder most of the blame for that. It's obvious our slips cordon haven't played much together recently - or at all really. They aren't positioned quite right (too close together, but again conditions play a role there). But the biggest
issue the fielders don't have the confidence to dive across and take a catch that may or may not be theirs because they know if the smeg it up they'll almost certainly be dropped from the team - probably forever in Haddin's/Watson's case.
2. Should Wade be returned to the side if not as keeper but a batsman? Do we have anything to loose by doing so?
Wade's keeping was so poor and costly at crucial times last year I think he' well and truly earned a 12 month (minimum) holiday from the team, at least until he can prove his keeping has improved enough to stop costing us test matches with the gloves.
I think there is quite a lot to loose in bringing him back now. Firstly, it doesn't really matter if Haddin does well or not in the next 3 or even 8 tests. He is a known quantity. He is a potential match winner (like Wade) and he *may* win us a game off his own bat. He'll probably keep well enough to our attack but there *may* be the odd blemish or three.
If Wade is brought back, there *will* be the odd blemish of three. it's all but certain he'll keep to the same standard he did last year and this year: regularly missing (important) chances. He may do well with the bat, and we'll have the same conundrum we do now: is the extra batting in the lower order worth the cost of forgoing dismissals? Or he may fail with the bat and he'll be dropped again and we'll be worse off.
I think what we need to do is tell Wade his keeping needs to improve, and if it doesn't we'll be looking elsewhere for Haddin's replacement.
4. Rogers has struggled on a turning wicket. Swann has his measure. What of him?
IMHO Rogers has looked the most assured of all our players against the swinging/moving ball. I also think he's been the best of our lefties against Swann, and his presence in the dressing room and demostration of how to do it has seen all our lefties improve in the way they deal with him.
But the bottom line is the best way to play Swann is right handed. He's bowled absolutely beautifully, and with the conditions the way they are in England this summer he's going to be a handful for everyone unless we can win a few tosses and get to bat first. The fact our squad is dominated by LH openers (none are good much less great players of spin, which is why they open) and Swann has shown this up. Our best and most successful LH opener (not saying much, but everything is relative) in recent times isn't in the team because he can't bat at #3.
I think Rogers has looked pretty assured against this England attack even when they are bowling well. He's made one 50 so far, I'd expect another 2 or 3 in the rest of the series, hopefully a ton as well but his opportunity for that will be limited by Swann and the Aussie bowler's footmarks. That said, I though Rogers coped well against Swann on the slower pitch at Trent Bridge and the remaining tests are likely to be in slower conditions than Lords so his method may yet work.
Longer term: keep Rogers for the rest of this series. If he does well (ie a ton plus 2 or 3 more good scores) then we'll keep him at #2 for the Aussie summer as well, and if not bring back Cowan for Aussie conditions.
5. If Wade comes in then I think Hughes needs to go?
I think both Hughes and Kwaja need to be given extended runs in the team somewhere between 1&4. And that means beyond the Aussie ashes series, regardless of how they perform. Neither are likely to ever be great players of spin as both are predominatly back foot players and are unlikely to develop the footwork to skip down to the pitch of the ball. #4 is really too low for either of them. Hughes is younger and has shown he clearly has the talent for test cricket, but he (still) has more failings to overcome. By mid 2014 we *should* have at least one reasonably experienced test standard batter for our top 3 aged below 35, but hopefully 2.
I don't think this will happen though. I expect *both* will be dropped again by the end of the Aussie Ashes summer, but you never know. In fact I think Usman K will be dropped for the *next* test and Warner brought in to bat at #6 with Clarke at 4 & Smith at 5. Twitter is the only thing likely to stop that!
I didn't see Kwaja bat in the first innings. I turned on the Tour De France for the lunch break, switched back 20min late to find half our batting line up already out. But *before* lunch they kept showing pictures of him on the balcony when Australia was 0-for. He was absolutely smeg himself. Leehman was trying to calm him down rubbing his shoulders and giving him a bit of a cuddle (perhaps that was why he was smeg himself
-) but he looked like someone who was thinking about being dropped again for failing in his first bat back ... but the shot he played to get out certainly reflected it. And given they way the selectors have treated him (Invers: "I'm sure he appreciates getting one game is better than getting none at all" - he'd been on 7 tours, played only 6 tests, and already been dropped 3 times before) it was hardly surprising.