Ashes 2009: England face tough choices in team selection

Caleb ElliottContributor IJune 8, 2008

With the 2009 Ashes series not too far away, the England selectors have a lot to think about in terms of selection. I am here to give my view on the team I feel could bring back the Ashes.

First off, lets start with the openers. Andrew Strauss has been in blistering form recently and if he can maintain that form through the upcoming year, the spot at the top of the order should be his.

On the other hand, Alistair Cook has struggled with his form recently. With only two half-centuries in both the home and away series against New Zealand, Cook needs to improve soon before the selectors begin to ponder whether he should be part of the Ashes squad.

I feel Kevin Pietersen's and Michael Vaughan's places are almost certainly secure in the middle of the order. Moving on, there is the Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood situation.

The South Africa series will be extremely important for both these batsmen as they will both need to perform to stay in the side. The downside for Bell and Collingwood is that they might not even make the South Africa series, with Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah knocking on the door again.

Moving on now to the wicketkeeper. It's fair to say that Matt Prior is the best wicketkeeping batsmen England has. Although, as we all know, his keeping for England was diabolical. Tim Ambrose is a good keeper and a good batsmen who will hope to keep performing over the next year with players such as Matt Prior and James Foster waiting have another go in England's wicketkeeping saga.

Finally, we come to the bowlers. Monty Panesar will almost certainly be England's spinner come 2009 and Ryan Sidebottom's performances have been superb since he has come in to the team. He adds the extra dimension of a left armer being able to swing the ball both ways, with his accuracy being almost perfect.

James Anderson, as you know, has just taken his career best figure of 7-43, but inconsistency is a cause for concern. Simon Jones is in great form at the moment and if he can continue throughout the season (without any injuries hindering his progress) he could be in with a shout.

In my opinion, Stuar Broad is a top quality bowler. He bowls well, but for England he just hasn't taken enough wickets. This is due to bad luck in some circumstances, but he's only young and will improve as a player. His batting is extremely refreshing, as he's the first number 8 since Ashley Giles who can score some runs.

Andrew Flintoff can never be out of the equation though. If he can get back from this setback and bowl well for Lancashire, he could make his comeback series in the 2009 Ashes .