Ex-England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has taken to Twitter to criticise the ECB selectors over their selection of the England batting Performance Programme squad for the winter camp in Sri Lanka.
Collingwood was surprised that his Durham colleague, opening batsmen Mark Stoneman, was left out of the squad.
He decided to air his views publicly by declaring "I'm sorry but how @mark23stone keeps being overlooked for the England Performance Programme is beyond me. @ECB_cricket you're missing out!"
Collingwood is basing his argument on the fact that Stoneman impressed again this season for Durham. He scored 951 runs in 26 innings, with an average just over 36, scoring three centuries and four half-centuries in the process.
It is worth remembering that Stoneman spends half his time batting on pitches that can be very helpful to bowlers, particularly early and late in the season, so although his stats may not be the best he has to work hard for his runs.
However, it appears that English cricket has a very good strength in depth particularly in the batting areas so Stoneman may have to bide his time and continue to perform on the pitch in order to achieve the recognition that Collingwood feels he deserves.
There is still a strength of feeling that players in the north of the country do not catch the eye of the selectors as much as their colleagues down south. Particularly at Durham they feel that, Collingwood and Steve Harmison aside, the county has produced England players but they have failed to cement places in the national side. Players such as Graham Onions, Scott Borthwick and Phil Mustard are three such examples.
Is Collingwood correct in his criticism or is he speaking from the heart rather than his head?
After all there are others on the county circuit who could perhaps claim to have a stronger argument. As Stoneman is an opening batsmen he is challenging Yorkshire's prolific opening pair of Adam Lyth and Alex Lees and was always likely to be second best to them.
As well as the batting and spin-bowling camp a separate camp has also been selected for the fast bowlers who will be travelling to South Africa.
England Performance Programme (Batters and spinners) Zafar Ansari (Surrey), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Adam Lees (Yorkshire), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Stephen Parry (Lancashire), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Adam Riley (Kent), Jason Roy (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire), Tom Westley (Essex)
England Performance Programme (Fast bowlers) Jack Brooks (Yorkshire), Matthew Dunn (Surrey), Mark Footitt (Derbyshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).
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