Posts Tagged ‘bairstow’

Bairstow In, Taylor Out: Have England Picked The Right Squad?

The English international summer starts on Thursday with England taking on the West Indies at Lord’s and they have named a forward-looking 13-man squad.

Jonathan Bairstow

Jonathan Bairstow (REUTERS / Action Images)

Into the squad for the first time comes Yorkshireman Jonathan Bairstow as a replacement for Samit Patel. He gets his chance after Ravi Bopara was ruled out through injury – a cruel blow for the Essex batsman but Bairstow might have been in contention anyway.

357 runs this season for Yorkshire and a half-century for the Lions against the West Indians would ensured he was in the frame.

Some will be surprised that Nottinghamshire’s James Taylor, despite being named as Lions captain and then scoring a century at Northampton, has not been included. Perhaps the selectors feel he hasn’t quite got enough runs since making the switch from Division Two Leicestershire to Division One Nottinghamshire and that his time will come.

Comparing the two paints an interesting picture – Taylor has played more matches (69 to 50), scored more centuries (12 to five) and has a better average (48.60 to 46.37) but the majority of Bairstow’s runs have come in the top flight. Is this a valid argument? After all, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Eoin Morgan and Steven Finn have barely featured in the First Division and even Bairstow’s Yorkshire were relegated last season.

Nevertheless, he has been identified as one to watch for the future by England and made an immediate impact last summer against India. While Nick Compton is the man in form and the leading run-scorer this year, at 22, Bairstow has time on his side. And with all due respect to the West Indies, this is an ideal series for him – or any player, for that matter – to make his debut.

Things will get tougher when South Africa come calling later in the year, and by then Bopara should be fit, Taylor may be scoring runs consistently and the selectors will have more problems, though they will say these are the sort of problems they want to have.

Taylor’s challenge is to prove he is worth a shot and more time for him to do so may not be a bad thing. It pays to come into the side hungry but confident and at just 21, he, like Bairstow has time on his side. It will do him no harm to make his debut with more experience under his belt and knowing his game inside out. That certainly worked for Graeme Swann, Michael Hussey and Jonathan Trott no disservice.

But what are your thoughts on the England squad? Is Bairstow the right choice at number six? Would you have given Taylor a go? And who of Tim Bresnan, Steven Finn and Graham Onions would you leave out? Would you like to see England return to playing five bowlers – with both Prior and Bairstow wicket-keepers who could bat at six?

Opening Thoughts On India-England ODI Series

Now the dust has settled on the West Indies beating Bangladesh there is just enough time before the opening Twenty20 International between South Africa and Australia to think about the start of England’s ODI series in India.

Neither team is at full strength (India are still without Tendulkar, Sehwag, Zaheer, Yuvraj; England miss Morgan and Broad while resting Anderson) and perhaps that’s something we’re going to have to get used to more and more of – teams constantly rotating their resources as the volume of cricket continues to increase.

It promises to be a fascinating series, with India rightly favoured at home but England on the crest of a wave as reigning T20 world champions, Test champions and coming off the back of a 3-0 series win over India at home.

Apparently, India aren’t talking of revenge or payback, merely of winning the series. That’s exactly what England are trying to do too. You can read Chetan Narula’s in-depth preview of the series here and I’ll be catching up with him for our latest series of England v India podcasts later today.

In the meantime, who do you think will win, and will England drop Pietersen for Bairstow?

Kevin Pietersen takes a watching brief

Kevin Pietersen takes a watching brief - REUTERS / Action Images