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Bumble: Time for Chapple


Email Bumble here

We've got another enticing Twenty20 International on Sky Sports on Thursday as Sri Lanka make their debut in the shortest, but most explosive, form of the game.

We should be in for a real treat down at the Rose Bowl on what will be a great day of sport. There will be a party atmosphere in Southampton, first of all as we watch England take on Trinidad & Tobago in Germany (Bumble's prediction 4-0 to England, get down the bookie's), and then crack on with the fireworks of Twenty20 cricket.

This time last year, England put great importance in this match against Australia. They showed that they were tough and would compete with the Australians throughout the summer. The marker they layed down in victory in the Twenty20 match turned out to be a big one.

Expect the same from England again as they try to make up for the disappointment of the drawn Test series with a strong performance in the Twenty20 match that they hope will underpin a better one-day series.

England's players have responded well to the Twenty20 format, and while most fans will be looking forward to watching Kevin Pietersen, all of England's batsmen can deliver with Marcus Trescothick in good form and able to get them off to the best possible start.

It might be Sri Lanka's debut but I have seen them play 50 overs and the way they go at it, it is as if it is Twenty20. That has been their way ever since the 1996 World Cup, which they won, and in style.

Twenty20 might give England's batsmen the chance to deliver some revenge on Muttiah Muralitharan for his destructive bowling in the Test series. Normally it is an unforgivable format for the bowlers, and we might only see Murali for two overs, but I just hope we don't see England trying to block them out.

After Thursday we move on to the ODI series, starting at Lord's on Saturday and England are still striving to find their best team and best formula.

Of the new selections I was certainly pleased to see Glen Chapple called-up. He really has been the nearly man for England for a long time. He is a very well respected and popular cricketer around England and there won't be another player in the county game that begrudges him his chance.

He is a good, solid lad that I have been watching since he was a kid, and in fact I gave him his first chance with Lancashire. He has worked hard at his cricket throughout his career and deserves his chance. His batting in the last couple of years has come on a lot, mainly through experience.

In his younger days he was a handy batter but then lulled a touch. In the last few years, through hard work and game time, he has become a forceful, clever batsman at the bottom end of the order. He will have a greater influence in 50 overs than 20.

And if it all pans out for him could find himself in the World Cup squad, and I hope he has a good series, as he could be the missing piece in Duncan Fletcher's puzzle.

He is a very much a Fletcher type of player. He is tough boy who won't take any s*** from anyone. Like Paul Collingwood, he is not the prettiest cricketer around, but gives you so much. It could be a big summer for him in England and might lead to greater things for the future.

On to your email...

How long to keep Jones?

In your opinion how long do you think Geraint Jones can hold onto the wicket-keeper's position with England. Especially when we have a good replacement in Chris Read from Notts? I was at the Test at Trent Bridge on the Saturday and the shot he went for in the first innings was really crazy to say the least. That was the kind of shot you play on a Sunday game with two overs to go and not on the second day of a Test match. Thanks.

BUMBLE SAYS: I can tell you that Geraint Jones understands that he is under pressure. The gap between him and Chris Read, who is not having much of a look in, is narrowing. But Jones is the man in possession and they will stick with him. He knows he needs a performance and they, the selectors, need one from him too, to justify why they have stuck with him. Like Collingwood and Chapple, Jones is a Fletcher player - he gives a lot to the team. But he knows full well he needs a big game. Other than Read, my one to look at as a surprise pick is the boy at Worcestershire, Steven Davies. He just scored 192 against Gloucestershire in a County Championship match and is getting rave reports. He is very young, but is coming up on the rails and his keeping is very good.

More cheering for Chapple

Hi guys, finally Glen Chapple is picked for the one-day series against Sri Lanka. I've only been saying it for 10 years - better late than never, I suppose. If only he had the same investment as Flintoff, we could have had two of them leading English cricket.  My hope now is that his 10-year wait does not hamper his genius in the one-day series, that he makes the World Cup, and he makes the Test side for the Ashes as we need guys like him to bat down the order, pick up consistent, if not spectacular amounts of wickets, and make us competitive again! Phil, Cambridge.

BUMBLE SAYS: As you will see from what I have written above Phil, I agree with all of that. Over the last decade he has been England's nearly man and has always been the replacement but never got a game. If they picked a squad of 15, he was number 16 on the list. I hope it goes well for him.

Merlin or Monty the mystery spinner?

Bumble, everyone keeps saying we need a mystery spinner, but it seems obvious to me we've already got one. England's batsmen face him in the nets every week. He's called Merlin and I'm sure he's a better fielder than Monty Panesar. Get him in the team! Just one question - what's his batting like? My guess is his footwork's not up to much. Ali, Leeds.

BUMBLE SAYS: He is a bit static and sometimes you feel he doesn't give you the electricity you need. I am not sure if he is not just a fine weather player. I'll need to keep an eye on him a bit longer and I would have doubts about his running between the wickets - I've not seen him do it yet. On a serious note, Murali just took 24 wickets in three Test matches and the year before Shane Warne took 40 at 19 runs a pop, the best series he ever had. Merlin needs to up his game.

As for Monty, he is a very, very good bowler - the best left arm spinner in world cricket... discuss. Perhaps we might get on to his fielding and batting another time.