Monday, 29 July 2013 00:00
ESPNCricinfo: James Taylor, Chris Tremlett and Monty Panesar have all been included in an expanded 14-man squad for the third Investec Ashes Test at Old Trafford. Steven Finn, who was left out at Lord’s in favour of Tim Bresnan, and Graham Onions have been dropped, while Kevin Pietersen is included with his calf injury, which is progressing well, due to be assessed closer to the match.
The recalls for Tremlett, who last played for England against Pakistan in the UAE early last year, and Panesar reflect the conditions that are expected at Old Trafford where traditionally, pace, bounce and spin come to the fore. However, it remains unlikely that England will tinker with the bowling attack that was so impressive at Lord’s.
Tremlett’s return is a significant blow for Finn, who was in the three-man pace attack just two Tests ago but does not even feature in a 14-man squad now. He has been working on technical aspects of his run-up and delivery for most of the year and in Test cricket has rarely looked completely comfortable.
Tremlett trained with the England squad during the Lord’s Test as he continues to build up his workload during the season after missing the majority of 2012 with a series of injuries, the most serious of them being to his back. England are keen to have him available for the Ashes in Australia later this year after the impact he had during the 2010-11 series.
Last month, he told ESPNcricinfo that he was confident his body would now allow him to get through Test matches again. “If I was picked for a Test tomorrow I’d be confident,” he said. “If you had asked me that three games into the season, my honest answer would have been that I’m not ready to play Test cricket. But now I have some games under my belt, I have my confidence back. I feel I’m ready now. I’ve no doubt.”
Panesar, the other bowler brought into the squad, remains England’s second spinner in Test cricket despite a difficult tour of New Zealand where he had to take on the main role in Graeme Swann’s absence. He enjoyed some success against the Australians at Hove with 3 for 70, which followed a five-wicket haul against Middlesex, although his overall Championship returns this season are a modest 21 wickets at 40.09.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: “Chris Tremlett has worked hard to regain fitness and form following a couple of injuries and his performances for Surrey this season have been very encouraging. Including an additional spinner in Monty Panesar who has plenty of international experience provides Alastair Cook and Andy Flower with a number of options.
“Kevin Pietersen is continuing his recovery from a calf strain and he will be assessed by the medical team closer to the start of the Test and we have therefore included an extra batsman in James Taylor who has been in good form for Nottinghamshire this season.” Miller said. Taylor is currently playing for Sussex against the Australians in the tour match at Hove.
It would be a quirk of fate if it were to be Taylor who replaced Pietersen, given the stories that emerged following his Test debut against South Africa, at Headingley last year, where he had an extended partnership with Pietersen, although may not have overly impressed his senior team-mate.
After being abruptly dropped after his two appearances against South Africa, and not even named in the England performance squad at the start of the season, Taylor was told to churn out the runs at domestic level and work on some technical flaws which concerned the selectors, specifically his ability to handle deliveries outside off stump.
His performances for Nottinghamshire, where he has made 824 runs at 58.85 in the championship, mean he has done all he can at county level to make the selectors consider him again.
Squad: Alastair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, James Taylor, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Monty Panesar