England wrapped up a series win over South Africa this week and Graeme Swann has taken up the role of schoolteacher to write each player a school report...
"Not only has he got that Botham-esque quality of making something happening when there’s nothing going on with the ball, he is a joy to watch with the bat when he gets going"
I always used to really look forward to these as a player, reading my "school report". Actual school reports always made me nervous because I was forever staring out of the classroom window, dreaming of playing cricket for England rather than learning about the 12 planets of the solar system or Henry IV's seven wives. Here we go then...
Dom Sibley - 8/10
It's been a good tour because he got that hundred and established himself. He's put the foundations down to be England's opener for a good few years. It's a position we've been looking to shore up for a while, so well done to him.
Zak Crawley - 7/10
I've been impressed even though he hasn't scored the same volume of runs as Sibley. He's looked solid and his catching has been excellent, including that superb one close in at Centurion. He's helped England get off to some good starts and that is the difference between being a good Test team and one that gets sub-par results.
Rory Burns - 6/10
Can't say too much about him given he only played one Test match but he needs to be stronger on the ball, clearly. He's managed to get football banned so that's a black mark against him!
Joe Denly - 6/10
Denners has frustrated me because he has looked great every time he has batted. He's getting starts and not converting them. But he's looked at home at No 3 and he really could carve out an England sunset for his career now. Once he's in, he must just go on. He's better than this. We all know it.
Joe Root - 7.5/10
He's still not scoring the runs I want him to but he's had a good tour overall, and you don't win three Test matches with bad leadership, so that reflects well on him. His batting looks as if it is close to back where it should be - he is as good if not better than Steve Smith, but at present there is a galactic difference between their outputs. I still think it's a massive blunder not picking a spinner in the first and last Test, which is muddled thinking. If you're going to be No 1 in the world, you cannot be without a spin bowler. In every game. EVERY. GAME.
Ben Stokes - 9.5/10
I can't give him the perfect 10 because then he can't get any better and he didn't score a triple hundred or take 20 wickets in a match. The bloke is just bloody brilliant. Not only has he got that Botham-esque quality of making something happening when there's nothing going on with the ball, he is a joy to watch with the bat when he gets going. Bloody hell Stokesy, you're good!
Ollie Pope - 8.5/10
His average in first-class cricket demanded that he played and he lived up to it. He's a lovely player to watch and that was an excellent first tour to establish himself. Someone has to do something special to knock him off his perch.
Get off his back
Jos Buttler - 7/10
He has had detractors on this trip and people have started saying "should he be the wicketkeeper in this team?". I don't think he kept badly at all and he's a very important part of the team, especially when Joe is captain. He's a crucial right-hand man. That's why I've given him a seven, because he was part of the leadership group that won three Tests in South Africa. Get off his back!
Dom Bess - 9/10
I said after the first game he played that he needed to be more penetrative and he went out, bowled beautifully and took five wickets. He can still be a more aggressive bowler - but it would be so easy to fix. He's got such a repeatable action but he needs to impart a little bit more oomph on the ball - and I'm more than willing to sort it whenever Straussy is ready to let me at him. It's crazy that he was left out for the last test and even though England won, the end did not justify the means in my opinion. A spinner should play in EVERY GAME!
Jofra Archer - 7.5/10
England still haven't got him quite right, because he should be bowling 10 or 11 overs a day. I don't know why they won't accept that the old methods don't apply here. He's still bowling too much. But I don't think he's done badly when he's bowled. He was a bit expensive in the first Test but he still picked up wickets.
Mark Wood - 9.5/10
I'm not just giving him this mark because he's from Durham and he supports Newcastle. It's the joie de vivre that he plays with, the smile on his face, his batting, but more than anything his explosive brilliance with the ball in Johannesburg. He had to extend his run-up and rather than just say "okay, I could be fast-medium and prolong my career", he's said "nah, I want to be rapid". His skills in that last game were exceptional too. Howay the lads, he's as mad as a cut snake but absolutely mint.
Sam Curran - 7.5/10
With the ball, some people still say he's not quick enough but he's got great shape, great control and he is a very clever cricketer. I was really happy with how he bowled at the Wanderers and early on in the series too. He's a better player with the bat than he showed in this series but he's a cracking player.
Stuart Broad - 9/10
Every time you write Broady off, he comes to the party. He's a workhorse. He still looks 21 years old and yet he must bowl more overs than anyone else in world cricket in his role and yet he doesn't drop on pace or skill.
Jimmy Anderson - 9/10
I know he didn't play much but he will never be anything less than nine out of ten because he's my best mate and he makes me laugh so much. These injuries are starting to get a little bit worrisome but he'll be back. He's had a nice little break. And as soon as he can't play any more, he could be bowling coach to anyone in the world, and if England haven't already teed him up for that, they are missing a trick. And if Jimmy is the fast bowling coach then I'm happy to throw my hat into the ring as the spin coach.