Bumble blogs on Kevin Pietersen's new role and whether we need smaller nations at the World Cup.
Last Updated: 19/02/11 3:36pm
People have always said that when you get to the World Cup that you're better off starting slowly... well England are definitely fitting the bill right now!
Once again people are saying we're muddled and we're arriving at a World Cup not knowing our best team. However, the characters involved are strong ones and we can't make any judgments until we see if they do anything in the competition.
But the fact Canada got within 16 runs of them shows they're not firing on all cylinders at the moment. With the way England are playing, their opening game against the Netherlands will be anything but a formality.
They've had second thoughts and then third thoughts about who is going to open the batting. Initially they wanted Steven Davies, then they wanted Matt Prior and now they say the job is going to Kevin Pietersen.
Personally, I think it's a good place for him to bat. Why not get your best player in, get him used to the conditions and potentially let him bat for 50 overs? We've seen it work with Sachin Tendulkar for India and a lot of people I have spoken to feel that would be an ideal position for Pietersen in one-day cricket.
I've no problem with him in that role, although I'd like to know why they didn't try him out before now. In seven one-day internationals against Australia, that's a position he didn't occupy.
However, if I was in charge of the England team, I'd put Jonathan Trott in there. I'll quote his one-day stats for Warwickshire once again: he has batted 36 times as an opener for his county in this sort of competition and can boast 12 fifties and three centuries.
Looking at those numbers, it's hard to see why the selectors are reluctant to go down that route. A number of people have said they would like to see Ian Bell open, but he doesn't do that job for his county, so Trott seems to be the more sensible choice.
But I've got no problem with Pietersen. He's the best player. Get him in.
Minnows: yes or no?
On Sunday I shall set off from Manchester to Heathrow to Bombay to Nagpur. I should arrive just in time for England's opening game, which you can see on Sky Sports on Tuesday morning.
I've never been too sure about why we need to involve countries like the Netherlands in this competition. The first four weeks of the World Cup just seems like a strung-out exercise in getting rid of the smaller teams.
However, I've started to change my mind after a debate with a couple of actor friends in a Manchester pub earlier this week (the actors in question were James Quinn and John Henshaw, who you'll hopefully remember from the fabulous TV show Early Doors).
They're both big football fans and pointed out that many years ago at the soccer World Cup you'd only get one African team and one Asian team. Nowadays, you get many more of their teams involved and they provide good, attractive footballers.
They're becoming a real force in world football and there's a strong argument that cricket should go the same way.
I've also warmed to the argument put forward by Graeme Swann, who said that if you don't put these teams in then it is not a 'world' event. That's a good shout.
Maybe we could come up with a different format whereby it's not so strung out, but the TV deals, which were signed years ago, make it hard to change the structure of the competition.
Maybe it is good to see the minnows? Let me know what you think and enjoy the World Cup. It might take some time...