The England Cricket Team selection process, in all formats, is a farce at the moment I believe. 

And I’m not just saying that because I’m an Aussie.

I believe the selection of Ben Foakes in the England team for the test to face India proves my point.

I’m not saying that’s a bad selection call, in fact just the opposite.

I think it’s a great call to bring Foakes back into the England test team, but one that is long overdue.

Keighley News: Ben Foakes has been recalled to the England test team for their first test against India starting on Thursday (January 25).Ben Foakes has been recalled to the England test team for their first test against India starting on Thursday (January 25). (Image: PA)

Why the England Cricket Team selection process is a farce

The Ben Foakes/Jonny Bairstow conundrum

England on Tuesday (January 23) confirmed Foakes had been recalled to the test team and would take the gloves for the first test against India in Hyderabad.

The keeper, who most believe to be the best in the UK, has not been sighted in the England test side since early last year when he played in the tied series against New Zealand.

Following the series he was dropped for the all important Ashes series to make way for Bairstow to return to the side after injury.

Foakes to that point hadn't really done much wrong. 

He'd scored 133 from four knocks against South Africa at home in 2022 including a brilliant 113 not out at Old Trafford (a knock I was there to see first-hand and can vouch for the fact it was a great innings).

He then scored 64 in a solitary knock in a one test series against Pakistan in Karachi, before peeling off 124 from four innings in New Zealand. 

While behind the stumps he recorded 23 catches and one stumping across those three series.

You can't really ask for much more.

Keighley News: Jonny Bairstow dropped seven catches and missed a stumping in just three Ashes tests in 2023.Jonny Bairstow dropped seven catches and missed a stumping in just three Ashes tests in 2023. (Image: Adam Davy/PA)

But England opted for the more than 90 games of experience and 5000 plus runs Bairstow brought to the table. 

Not to mention before his injury Bairstow had a run of five innings where he scored 136, 162, 71no, 106 and 114 against New Zealand and India. 

So to be fair, there is an argument to be made for Bairstow there. But what followed is where the selection issue for me lies.

Bairstow had a mediocre Ashes series with the bat, scoring 322 runs - his 99 no in the washed out test at Old Trafford being his highest score.

But it was his glove work in the series that, how shall I put it delicately, left a little bit to be desired. 

Bairstow dropped more than half a dozen catches throughout the series.

After the first three tests alone he had dropped seven catches and missed a stumping. 

While he wasn't alone - England's fielding during the first few matches of that Ashes series wasn't up to scratch - it is his job as the wicket keeper to set the tone with his catching (he does have gloves on after all). And he failed in that department, miserably.

Test captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday, after it was announced Foakes had been selected as wicket keeper for the first test against India, said: "Ben Foakes can not only do things other keepers can't, but also make them look incredibly easy.

"He's a very special talent and having someone like that who can maybe take a 2%, 3% chance, that could be massive in the series."

Well then why did they not pick him after the first two tests in the Ashes?

At that point, despite being down, 2-0 in the series there was a still a change they could come back and win it. 

Then after the third test was a washout, Australia were going to retain the Ashes anyway no matter what happened, so why not try something different?

It doesn't make sense to me. I feel for Foakes.

Then as the British media are so good at doing, they covered up Bairstow's average year with the BBC naming him in their 2023 men's test team of the year (a team they, in my opinion, got very wrong - but that's another story).

The British media, led by Piers Morgan did a good job of sweeping Bairstow's keeping blunders under the rug during the Ashes instead focusing on slagging off the Aussies and Alex Carey (that is a sore spot for me as I know Kez is one of the nicest blokes and cricketers in the world, having played with him at grade level when we were younger).

England's fascination with retired players and Harry Brook ODI World Cup snub

Right, enough about Foakes and Bairstow, but let's remain on the Ashes for a second to start my next point. 

Following the injury to frontline spinner Jack Leach, England decided to pull Moeen Ali out of retirement for the 2023 Ashes rather than pick Rehan Ahmed, who was fresh off seven wickets and a 5fa in the second innings of his debut test in Pakistan in December 2022. 

Yes, playing on decks in England against Australia who are the best test team in the world is a different kettle of fish to turning pitches in Pakistan. 

But if I were him, I would have been pretty ticked off with English selectors for not picking me in that series.

Yes he's young, but Shane Warne played his first Ashes test in foreign English conditions back in 1993 as a 23-year-old. 

His first ball in Ashes cricket will forever be known as the ball of the century (the Gatting ball) and he went on to become a fairly handy cricketer after that.

Ali hadn't played a test since September 2, 2021 before he pulled on the whites for that first Ashes test on June 16, 2023.

I understand he has still been around the white ball set ups - ODIs and T20s, but that's different.

Why pull someone out of retirement if you've got a perfectly good replacement ready to go in Ahmed. 

And now Tom Hartley is also set to debut in India, so he can't have been too far out of the selection frame either.

Why not start to blood the blokes that will be playing for England in years to come, rather than pulling past players back into the fray?

Ali did a job during the Ashes taking nine wickets and claiming some crucial scalps at big moments in games, but could have Ahmed done just as good a job? I think so.

Ahmed did a good job in the West Indies during England's recent ODI and T20 tour in December taking five and six wickets in the respective series'.

Ali wasn't the only player to be pulled out of retirement by English selectors.

Just months after the Ashes series England headed off to the ODI World Cup in India.

Once again England selectors had pulled Ben Stokes out of ODI retirement to play in the World Cup.

Harry Brook was left out of the initial World Cup Squad in favour of Stokes and Jason Roy despite being arguably one of England's best batsman at the time and flying high off a solid Ashes series where he scored 363 runs.

He was later included in the squad but could only manage six games during the tournament. 

I can get my head around the decision to pull Stokes out of ODI retirement more because of his recent form and how destructive he can be with the bat.

He more than proved his worth in England's ordinary World Cup campaign scoring 304 runs from six games including scores of 108, 84 and 64.

Keighley News: Ben Stokes, who is captain of the England test side, was pulled out of ODI retirement to play in the World Cup in India last year.Ben Stokes, who is captain of the England test side, was pulled out of ODI retirement to play in the World Cup in India last year. (Image: PA)

But once again the British media trying to sweep a poor England Cricket performance under the rug. 

Former England captain, now commentator, Nassar Hussain said after England's woeful performance at the tournament, where they didn't even make the finals, that it was the short turn around from the Ashes to the World Cup that was to blame. 

Umm...Nassar can you tell me mate, how did Australia do?

How to watch India v England?

The first test between India and England at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad starts at 4am (BST) on Thursday (January 25).

You can watch the game and the whole India v England series live on TNT Sports via the discovery+ app.