For a man whose nickname is 'Dirtbag', Jade
Winston Dernbach is not the first name which might have sprung to mind when
Andy Flower was looking to 'freshen up' his England squad.
He might have a girl's name, but Jade can
bowl pretty fast and get the ball to swing both ways with a full repertoire of
variations and an array of surprise deliveries in his armoury.
What is perhaps all the more surprising is
that Dernbach was picked ahead of the prodigiously talented Chris Woakes - a
man who excelled in the recent ODI series against Australia, and in whom the
England Lions have invested a great deal.
Woakes impressed in both the Twenty20s and
ODIs Down Under, and prompted rave reviews from his team-mates and the coaching
In the first T20 at Adelaide the
Warwickshire all-rounder held his nerve to hit the winning runs then, in the
fifth ODI at Brisbane, he took six for 49 which are the second best figures by
an England bowler in one-dayers. In recent weeks he has also been on the Lions
tour of West Indies and took a hat-trick against Guyana at Providence.
But national selector Geoff 'Dusty' Miller
clearly saw things differently.
Never mind his credentials as a cricketer,
Miller explained that the Johannesburg-born bowler is "a talented
Now forgive Cowers if he is overly cynical
in this regard, but that very term used by Miller to justify the decision is in
keeping with the likes of Saj Mahmood over recent years and is less reassuring
than, "he's the next best bowler we have".
The Surrey seamer has impressed for the England Lions, and the backing of Graham Thorpe as a coach for both club and country is sure to have carried a great deal of clout with Miller et al.
Thorpe has long been telling all and sundry that the cricketers to watch are Dernbach and fellow Brown Cap Rory Hamilton-Brown. The selectors have heeded that advice.
England have long talked about the need to have multi-faceted cricketers, with the theory effectively ending Monty Panesar's pyjama cricket career. But Woakes offers a lot more in that regard, with a keen eye and a strong bottom hand in the lower order.
Dernbach does tick a lot of boxes: the
Surrey paceman provides further ammunition to the 'England pick South Africans'
brigade, and in the wake of Kevin Pietersen's departure he adds a fresh batch
of tattoos and Dimitri Mascarenhas-esque bling for the cameras to pick up on.
Dernbach, much like fellow South Africa-born England player Craig Kieswetter, is hardly the shy and retiring type.
The paceman is positively bristling with spike, attitude and self-belief - qualities which will ensure that Strauss's side are not lacking in chat out in the middle if he gets a start.
Brown Caps coach Chris Adams was hardly a shrinking violent himself, and he is in the process of grooming a seamer full of gumption and self-confidence.
Dernbach is an exciting prospect and Cowers wishes him all the best as he flies out to meet up with the England camp, hoping that a place in the last eight awaits them.
But it has to be said that the treatment of Woakes leaves a lot to be desired. England's selectors, it would seem, have still yet to learn how to develop young players in the right way.
A few snaps of the day's action...
Ireland bowed out of the competition with a second victory, and wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien ensured that he had ample stash to flog on ebay upon his return.
You surely didn't expect any different, did you? Pakistan, as always, enjoy a vigorous training session of football, a brief rest, then more football. Kamran Akmal is a gritty midfielder, while Shahid Afridi is, as you would expect, a flamboyant winger.
Unsurprisingly, this shot did not work out too well for Jesse Ryder, who was back in the canteen after 17 overs. The festively plump tonker was not even out in the middle for long enough to get his bandana sweaty.
Kumar Sangakkara's 'team hugs' are legendary, and here the Sri Lanka players enjoy a nice cuddle after victory was clinched at the Wankhede Stadium.
Michael Clarke watches on in bewilderment as the pitch in Colombo - where his side will take on Pakistan tomorrow - is tended to by the groundstaff with nothing but a measuring tape and a hammer.
SHOT OF THE DAY: It's fair to say that the Kevin O'Brien made his mark on this World Cup, and the portly all-rounder ended Ireland's campaign in fitting fashion as he obliterated a good length ball from Netherlands spinner Pieter Seelaar into the stands over cow corner to win the match for his side.
STAT OF THE DAY: Kumar Sangakkara last hit a ton back in June
2008. Today, he finally ended his barren spell of 63 innings without a hundred with his 111 against New Zealand.
TWEET OF THE DAY: "A
few of you would relish a scrap then eh? You should know that I'm generally
regarded as the hardest man in world cricket.
Lots of names have sprung up so far, Gayle, G Smith, Kallis, Ponting. I can confirm that I would rip their heads off with my bare hands." (Graeme Swann reminds everyone that he, not Jesse Ryder or Peter
Borren, is the last man on the international scene you would want to fight. So
USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "What a way for the England selectors to reward Chris Woakes for his excellent performances in Australia by simply ignoring him now. Still, good luck to Dernback." (P sums it all up rather nicely.)
COMING UP: Every
England or West Indies fan will have their eyes glued on this one: Bangladesh face South Africa at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, and
the result of the crucial Group B clash will have a huge bearing on the
quarter-final line up. But that's not it. Australia
also face Pakistan in their Group A
encounter at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
CAPTION COMPETITION: P2jww knew all too
well that mocking Mike Gatting would see him clinch yesterday's caption
contest, and so it proved. Below is today's image, and all you need to do is
post your attempt and the winner will be announced in tomorrow's blog...