Again, the International cricket schedule isn't doing these guys any favours - these tests come swiftly on the back of the tests in Bangladesh, and the balance between the two sides wont have changed greatly in three months. England were made to work as much by the lifeless pitches in Bangladesh as they were by their batsmen, so I would predict that England's incisive seam bowling will be altogether too good for them in England in May. England then wont see Bangladesh for four years I suspect, so it just seems a bit odd to have the home and away series crammed within months of each other.
Anyway, for what its worth I think it is an OK selection but England could have gone a lot further with finding out a little bit more about the likely runners and riders for the trip down under. So...
Where I think they have got it right..
1. Resting Paul Collingwood. If Colly is carrying an injury then so be it. But I also think it makes sense because we know all about Collingwood's batting, and I doubt if we are going to need a grafting, stubborn knock to get us out of the shit against Bangladesh. But I also think it makes sense for Strauss. He has been out of the side for a few months, watching Cook and then Colly take charge of the nucleus of the England team. It was hard for Hussain to lead England after Vaughan had the reins in the ODI's, maybe this avoids the situation, although I suspect Strauss is a little less of a control freak than Hussain. (!)
2. Picking Eoin. So what if he has a fc average of 36? He has shown that he can be relied upon in pressure situations and has a "big match" temperament. Trescothick would be an obvious parallel, his career average was pretty low when Fletcher first picked him. Statistics don't really tell the true story of a player's worth anyway: Ian Bell averages 42, Mike Atherton 37 - who would you rather have bat for your life?
3. Resting Broad. He's played in every England game....still think he could do with some practice at pitching the ball up though. Finn has also been in great form and I think he'll be a handful on his home ground.
...And the Wrongs.....
1. Swann. OK, he's a spinner, but again he plays in every format of the game and would it not be worth keeping the wear and tear on him down? He has already had an Elbow op since playing for England, so why not keep his workload down?
2. Rashid. I just think he has been utterly messed around by England in the last year or so. Why Treadwell went to Bangladesh, although good player he may be, I'll never know. England had a golden opportunity to blood a new player and find out about them in a test match situation in advance of the big series coming up at the end of the year. And again now, I'd be resting Swann and giving Rashid a go. Again why Panesar, who looks pretty ordinary played in the Lions game is anyone's guess. Unless there is a major discovery in the spinning ranks this summer (Dawson? Wainwright? Yardy(!)), Rashid is the most likely second spinner to tour down under and we should have had a look at him, rather than god forbid, Swann get injured and he's chucked in at the deep end of the MCG or SCG.
That said, I think England will have a pretty easy time against Bangladesh, and I would expect two thumping wins.