England v India, 4th npower Test, The Oval August 17, 2011

Pressure on Bopara as Taylor shines

32

Graham Thorpe, the England Lions batting coach, believes James Taylor would be ready for the challenges of Test cricket should a chance arise in the middle order, which will add to the pressure on Ravi Bopara to perform against India at The Oval.

England have moved on from the days of a player's future being decided by a performance in the final Test of the season, yet despite a selection process now based on continuity and loyalty Bopara faces a crucial five days. Jonathan Trott's shoulder injury has given him another chance to show he should be the spare batsman on the winter tours but he will know there are other players breathing down his neck.

Top of that list of contenders is Taylor, the Leicestershire batsman, who captained the Lions to their 2-1 one-day series win against Sri Lanka A and scored two hundreds. His County Championship form has been less convincing with 502 runs at 31.37 but Thorpe is in no doubt about his potential.

"He has been in the system for a few years and he's very mature," Thorpe told ESPNcricinfo. "You forget sometimes that's he's 21 years old because he knows his game very well. That's the most important thing and you get a feeling that he would be ready. Now it's just a question of an opportunity to open up for him."

Bopara had very little to gain when he walked in at 596 for 4 at Edgbaston and was subsequently lbw to Amit Mishra for 7. However, the skittish nature of his brief stay highlighted a player who is feeling the pressure and while the selectors won't make snap judgements they also won't be shy of ruthless decisions. Precedents have been set with Steven Finn's omission during the Ashes and the way Andy Flower decided, on the evidence of one match in Abu Dhabi, that Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb should open in Twenty20.

Following his omission from the Test team during the 2009 Ashes, Bopara has tried to revive his career with domestic stints in New Zealand and South Africa followed by a return to the England Lions set-up where he has worked with Thorpe.

"Ravi himself will know it's an important Test match for him to do well. What comes next is hard to say, Ravi would be right to just focus on this game," Thorpe said. "I'd say to players whoever they are representing - whether it's the full side or the Lions - not to look too far ahead. That's one of the reasons are England are doing well right now because they just look after the here and now."

Thorpe also doesn't believe that England's Test line-up should be altered just for the sake of finding a spot for a talented young player and at the moment the priority should be maintaining the form that has propelled them to No. 1.

"I feel you should never pre-empt selection by resting guys," he said. "England are a long way from matching someone like Australia who dominated for years so aren't in a position to be shuffling things around. It might naturally happen that space opens up and with the volume of cricket being played there might be chances to get players in."

In his role with the Lions, Thorpe is gaining first-hand knowledge of the players coming through the system to challenge for top honours. Much is made of England's depth in fast bowlers - highlighted this week by the recall of Graham Onions after doubts emerged over James Anderson's fitness - but Thorpe is equally confident over the batting talent emerging.

"I'm excited by what's underneath," he said. "The age profile is younger as well. If you look at Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales and Joe Root they are all in their early 20s. There is some good, young talent to work with and, while that doesn't mean they will make it for certain in the long term, when you have a pack of competitive batsmen to work with it can only be a good thing."

Andrew Strauss, meanwhile, believes the competition from the Lions is important in keeping standards high. "We've tried to make sure the Lions squad mirrors what we do so that people understand what is expected of then," he said. "A lot of that drive and determination comes from the individuals as well, and the point of our set-up is to nudge people in the right direction so that they don't become too comfortable."

They are views echoed by Thorpe, who is confident that the set-up underneath the full team is preparing the players who can help England stay top. "The guys are very hungry and know what is expected to play at the highest level," he said. "So hopefully No. 1 won't be a short-term thing and you'd like to think over the next four to five years they can keep building and stay there."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 20, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Oh please England already has enough runscorers!!

    India have been a disgrace. I think they should be made to repay any earnings for the tour and the money handed back to any one who paid to watch them.

    Please don't take this as an attack on the English. I as an Aussie would love (really hate!!) to admit that this has been a thoroughly professional response by the english cricket system to the thumping in 2006-7. They look not just happy to win the ashes as the side of 2005 did, but rather to set the standard for international cricket. The one only let down is that Cook really has not had a good series. multiple failures were not what anyone expected after his amazing summer in Australia.

    That said his one contribution was monumental and sadly 6 runs and 11 balls too short!!

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 19, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    @landl47: "Sure, India with its huge population no doubt has some good young players. How many of them look close to making the jump to international cricket? If they are up to that standard, why aren't they here? " - Well the answer to that is because the Indian selectors have been thinking like you. They don't wish India to pummel England, they are behind making money. India is a huge country but a country filled with backroom politics. If you had seen the emerging players tournament held in Townsville, the Indian team there won the competition. Some REALLY exciting prospects in hand for India in the next few years. Unless you closely monitor the Indian domestic scene like some Indian fans do you can't be so sure about some of the young Indians. So quit the assumptions.

  • on August 19, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    @@Hatsfor Bats- do you really think that we have the same level of young talent coming through as England do? If so why is it a fact that we can't field a team that can beat England? In the last 4 test series England are 3-1 up on us, and the one that we did win had the old guard still in it. I'd say based on sheer figures players like Flintoff, Vaughan, Jones, Hoggard etc were all filled in with like for like players like Cook, Bresnan, Anderson etc- we have nowhere near been able to replace McGrath, Langer, Hayden, Gillespe, let alone Warne & Martyn. England are all over us with the young talent coming through, and that is why I think they will be on or near the top for at least the next 5 years. We on the other hand will struggle to field a competative XI in test cricket in the same period. I just hope that Hughes doesn't fall away he is great to watch..

  • landl47 on August 19, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    @HatsforBats: no, you wouldn't see the same results at this time, but as I said, these guys are only 21/22. None of the England players you mention are close to retirement; by the time they are, the England youngsters will be mature cricketers and ready to take over. With all due respect, England just toured Australia and saw a number of the players you mention; I don't think Australia has anything like the quality of young players that England has, and Australia doesn't have the luxury of a #1 side with most of its players in their 20s and only one over 32. Sure, I might be biased, but you might remember that I said before the Ashes series that this was a very good England side, and I was accused of bias then. Turned out to be justified, didn't it?

  • on August 19, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    i think taylor deserves place in the team

  • mensan on August 19, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Bopara has never impressed me in tests. It's OK to use him as all rounder in limited overs matches.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    @landl47: my point was that you probably just don't rate them as highly as you rate your English players, probably from bias. If you take out Anderson/Bell/Cook and replace them with Woakes/Hales/Taylor do you honestly think you would see the same results? I doubt it. I don't even think you would get the same results if you replace your attack with Shazad/Onions/Finn/Rashid. There is plenty of talent in Aus: Mitch Marsh, Hughes, Khawaja, Starc, Hastings, Hazelwood, Faulkner, Smith, Cummins, Maddinson, as I'm sure there is in Ind, Pak, SA etc. But are they ready for test level cricket and would they be immediately successful? And yes this Eng squad is no.1 and they deserve it, but until they win everywhere they will face the same criticism that India has since becoming top of the ICC points table.

  • ygkd on August 18, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    Taylor has impressive stats for sure, but having watched him on the telly I was left thinking he's still got a lot of work to do if he's going to force his way into an England test line-up. ODIs may be more his place, where he could succeed against the likes of India, he certainly doesn't seem to lack confidence against friendly bowling! Seriously, Samit Patel looks a much more ready-made player. Hyping youth is what Australia currently excels at. It doesn't hurt to make them wait a bit.

  • Stevros3 on August 18, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Mcgrath-Dravid-Flintoff, the good young bowlers (besides Finn, who is in limbo it seems between lions and the full team). You have Woakes, Shahzad & Dernbach are the obvious three. now it might just be the Warwickshire fan in me; but Woakes could be a future England all-rounder. Just taken 7 wickets today for the Bears (beating his 6-43 against the WI); currently taken 45 wickets in less than 8 games at 17 runs apiece and averaging 45 with the bat. Now one thing he does lack a bit is real pace, but he gets good movement and is consistent with the ball and is a real pleasure to watch bat.

  • Trickstar on August 18, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @jackchatfield No mate, Taylor when just playing for Leicestershire has a average of 31.37, he's scored 502 runs in 17 innings with 1 not out and he hasn't scored a ton and only 4 fifties to his name. He has scored heavily when playing for the Lions in both first class and ODi's which has got him noticed this year, even though he hasn't performed in a really poor Leic teams, where a lot of the time Taylor finds himself batting with the tale.

  • on August 20, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Oh please England already has enough runscorers!!

    India have been a disgrace. I think they should be made to repay any earnings for the tour and the money handed back to any one who paid to watch them.

    Please don't take this as an attack on the English. I as an Aussie would love (really hate!!) to admit that this has been a thoroughly professional response by the english cricket system to the thumping in 2006-7. They look not just happy to win the ashes as the side of 2005 did, but rather to set the standard for international cricket. The one only let down is that Cook really has not had a good series. multiple failures were not what anyone expected after his amazing summer in Australia.

    That said his one contribution was monumental and sadly 6 runs and 11 balls too short!!

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 19, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    @landl47: "Sure, India with its huge population no doubt has some good young players. How many of them look close to making the jump to international cricket? If they are up to that standard, why aren't they here? " - Well the answer to that is because the Indian selectors have been thinking like you. They don't wish India to pummel England, they are behind making money. India is a huge country but a country filled with backroom politics. If you had seen the emerging players tournament held in Townsville, the Indian team there won the competition. Some REALLY exciting prospects in hand for India in the next few years. Unless you closely monitor the Indian domestic scene like some Indian fans do you can't be so sure about some of the young Indians. So quit the assumptions.

  • on August 19, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    @@Hatsfor Bats- do you really think that we have the same level of young talent coming through as England do? If so why is it a fact that we can't field a team that can beat England? In the last 4 test series England are 3-1 up on us, and the one that we did win had the old guard still in it. I'd say based on sheer figures players like Flintoff, Vaughan, Jones, Hoggard etc were all filled in with like for like players like Cook, Bresnan, Anderson etc- we have nowhere near been able to replace McGrath, Langer, Hayden, Gillespe, let alone Warne & Martyn. England are all over us with the young talent coming through, and that is why I think they will be on or near the top for at least the next 5 years. We on the other hand will struggle to field a competative XI in test cricket in the same period. I just hope that Hughes doesn't fall away he is great to watch..

  • landl47 on August 19, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    @HatsforBats: no, you wouldn't see the same results at this time, but as I said, these guys are only 21/22. None of the England players you mention are close to retirement; by the time they are, the England youngsters will be mature cricketers and ready to take over. With all due respect, England just toured Australia and saw a number of the players you mention; I don't think Australia has anything like the quality of young players that England has, and Australia doesn't have the luxury of a #1 side with most of its players in their 20s and only one over 32. Sure, I might be biased, but you might remember that I said before the Ashes series that this was a very good England side, and I was accused of bias then. Turned out to be justified, didn't it?

  • on August 19, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    i think taylor deserves place in the team

  • mensan on August 19, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Bopara has never impressed me in tests. It's OK to use him as all rounder in limited overs matches.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    @landl47: my point was that you probably just don't rate them as highly as you rate your English players, probably from bias. If you take out Anderson/Bell/Cook and replace them with Woakes/Hales/Taylor do you honestly think you would see the same results? I doubt it. I don't even think you would get the same results if you replace your attack with Shazad/Onions/Finn/Rashid. There is plenty of talent in Aus: Mitch Marsh, Hughes, Khawaja, Starc, Hastings, Hazelwood, Faulkner, Smith, Cummins, Maddinson, as I'm sure there is in Ind, Pak, SA etc. But are they ready for test level cricket and would they be immediately successful? And yes this Eng squad is no.1 and they deserve it, but until they win everywhere they will face the same criticism that India has since becoming top of the ICC points table.

  • ygkd on August 18, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    Taylor has impressive stats for sure, but having watched him on the telly I was left thinking he's still got a lot of work to do if he's going to force his way into an England test line-up. ODIs may be more his place, where he could succeed against the likes of India, he certainly doesn't seem to lack confidence against friendly bowling! Seriously, Samit Patel looks a much more ready-made player. Hyping youth is what Australia currently excels at. It doesn't hurt to make them wait a bit.

  • Stevros3 on August 18, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Mcgrath-Dravid-Flintoff, the good young bowlers (besides Finn, who is in limbo it seems between lions and the full team). You have Woakes, Shahzad & Dernbach are the obvious three. now it might just be the Warwickshire fan in me; but Woakes could be a future England all-rounder. Just taken 7 wickets today for the Bears (beating his 6-43 against the WI); currently taken 45 wickets in less than 8 games at 17 runs apiece and averaging 45 with the bat. Now one thing he does lack a bit is real pace, but he gets good movement and is consistent with the ball and is a real pleasure to watch bat.

  • Trickstar on August 18, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @jackchatfield No mate, Taylor when just playing for Leicestershire has a average of 31.37, he's scored 502 runs in 17 innings with 1 not out and he hasn't scored a ton and only 4 fifties to his name. He has scored heavily when playing for the Lions in both first class and ODi's which has got him noticed this year, even though he hasn't performed in a really poor Leic teams, where a lot of the time Taylor finds himself batting with the tale.

  • Trickstar on August 18, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    @Devon_Dumpling I think the first thing Hildreth can do is to start scoring runs this year, he averages 34 this year, with only 1 ton and 4 50's. He had a very good year last year but like a lot of England's potential batsmen, they don't follow it up, 2009 and 2008 he averaged 32 & 44 so it's not as if he's forced his way into the team by sheer weight of runs, these last few years. I like the look of Taylor, every time I see him bat he has class written all over him, he has every shot in the book, he uses his feet against spinners and is brilliant at maneuvering the field and running between the wicket. Even though he's young he's very mature, he's already captained his county as well as the England Lions. Personally I think England will bring him into the ODi team first to give him a taste and to gradually become comfortable around the England team, a bit like they did with Woakes.

  • landl47 on August 18, 2011, 18:02 GMT

    @Hatsfor Bats: you seem to be confusing quality with numbers. Sure, India with its huge population no doubt has some good young players. How many of them look close to making the jump to international cricket? If they are up to that standard, why aren't they here? England has a crop of young players at the moment who look primed and ready to move to the top level. I mentioned some of them; I see Woakes just took 7-20 against a useful Hampshire side. Taylor has just made 2 centuries in 3 ODIs against Sri Lanka A, after making 76 and 98 in the first-class match. Finn has already played for England with success. These are 21 and 22 year olds, not mid to late 20s. Players of genuine test class are rare, so to have that quality of players coming up on top of a squad that is already #1 in the world is awesome. I don't see India (or anyone else, for that matter) having so many young players at that level. Do you?

  • Baundele on August 18, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    Bopara should be given a fair amount of chances, especially when the team is not losing, before you call for his head.

  • on August 18, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    @jackchatfield - Taylor's overall average is high, thanks to his performances for the Lions, with Leics he has not been so good. @anti-boparas - one aspect of his selection is that he is also a bowling option and hence a reasonable replacement for Trott. He still has a lot to do to convince as a test batsman, though the talent is there he has yet to show if he is a Ramprakash or a Bell. @Mcgrath-Dravid-Flintoff - young bowlers: Finn (Middlesex), Harris (Glamorgan), Woakes (Warks), Meaker (Surrey), Brooks (Northants), Briggs (Hants), Borthwick (Durham), Dernbach (Surrey), Rashid (Yorks) - I'm sure others can think of more. And watch out for batsman/keeper Jos Buttler of Somerset - he's outhitting Kieran Pollard in domestic T20; when they are in together the opposition tend to suffer from shell-shock. He also has a List A average of over 60 - this lad could go very far.

  • MartinC on August 18, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    I have seen Stokes of Durham a couple of times and have been very impressed with him certainly in the one day format. He looks like he has the technique and shots to be a very good number 5 or 6 though at Test level as well. Like to see him given an opportunity in the one day series.

    I'm from Lancashire by the way not Durham!

  • Prema1948 on August 18, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    He should be an extra ordinary player of good technique to main a consistency rate like this; he would be an ideal No 3-4 batsman, though I haven't seen him batting. I've followed his entire batting feats against the SL's 1st XI & 2XI sides toured England in recent times. However SL'an selectors of last 20 years have had no faith in this type of batsmen, they've always preferred reckless hitters who offer 2-3 straight forward chances even to score a 50 runs with combination of 101 risky strokes. They haven't bothered a bit about the manner a batsman scores his runs as long as he could get a big score even once out of 10innings played.

  • Mcgrath-Dravid-Flintoff on August 18, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Taylor and Hales are the future for the brits. keep em away from the IPL and you might see them scoring 10k runs in tests and odi's. who are the good young bowlers currently?

  • HatsforBats on August 18, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    @landl47: Just how do you come to the conclusion that Eng has more talent? Sure, Eng sit atop the rankings at the moment and their domestic structure is much more professional these days, resulting in the talent coming through. But to say there is more talent in England than India is just one-eyed and lazy. For the record, I like the look of Hales.

  • phendel on August 18, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Hundreds against the West Indies- whose attack is about as intimidating these days as a ham sandwich- is this the same west indies attack that bowled England out for 51 we talkin abt.....or despite fielding a (board) reduced side held India to 0-1 although they're #1 batting against #7......too scared to chase 86 with 15 overs on day 5......i cud go on & on.....although WI are not a great team right now i like to think that above anyting else their bowling is really good.....it saves more matches than their batting by far!!!

  • on August 18, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    With this struggling Indian bowling attack any player can hit a big knock. When Somerset team has scored a lot of runs in practice match what is not there for new comer like Taylor to score big one. England should plan for their coming test series rather than discussing much on whom to select or not for the only test match that is to be played. Already Oval test started and Bopara will play well because there is no demons in the pitch neither Indian bowling is looking deadly. So, even though with this match England selectors cannot ascertain whom to select for the next test series..

  • CricketChat on August 18, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    Bopara had a golden opportunity in the 3rd test to press his case (again). Eng under no pressure, Ind team deflated when he came into bat. Basically, a century for the taking, instead he gets out to a poor score. Taylor should be given a chance instead of Bopara for the extra batsman's spot in the upcoming tours.

  • SDHM on August 18, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    @ Devon - I can tell you that, being a Somerset fan, Hildreth's having an inconsistent season. Tresco and Compton have been scoring all the runs for us this year. Hildreth should have been in the side over Morgan last year if you ask me, but sadly I feel that unless he scores a bucket full of runs over the final month of the season and next year, he might have missed his chance.

  • Devon_Dumpling on August 18, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    What more has poor James Hildreth got to do before he gets a call-up? Dont get me wrong, I am 100% for plucking very talented youngsters and identifying them early enough for them to have decade long test careers, rather than flash-in-the-pan ones, bu i thought consistency was the new watchwrod of English cricket?

    Hildreth has been churning out thousands of runs in all forms of the game for Somerset over the last few years. He made the squad as a back up player, and now seems to be down the list below the latest bright new thing to have caught the imagination? He is also massively rated by Marcus Trescothick, and thats good enough for me...lol. Lets not spoil Taylor by picking him slightly too young, as we nearly managed to do to Ian Bell......

  • george204 on August 18, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    It's not enough to just have talented young players, it's how you bring them through the system, the timing of when you move them up, and how much faith you show them that counts. I remember a time at the start of the 1990s when we had a host of talented players supposedly ready to bring in: Atherton, Hussain, Ramprakash, Thorpe, Crawley, Lathwell. With the likes of Robin Smith already established, Hick waiting to qualify, fine players like Alec Stewart, Rob Bailey & Martyn Moxon waiting in the wings and an "old guard" of Gower, Lamb, Gooch to usher them in, the 1990s should have been a time of batting plenty for England. It didn't quite work out like that. Hopefully young Taylor will get his chance & enjoy success in a far more organised England setup than we had in the '90s.

  • on August 18, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    Considering Bopara made 7 of out of a total of 710, I can't see what the drawback is of including an exciting young talent who would no doubt cherish the opportunity. Ok so Bopara had little to gain in those circumstances, but neither do the England selectors in sticking with Bopara when there are younger prospects out there that would no doubt love a crack at an already demoralised Indian outfit, in a match where both the series and the no.1 ranking have now been decided. I would find it easier to understand the selectors going with Bopara if this was a crucial match-but the fact is, it isn't. Another thing I consider worth trying is the 5 bowlers approach-if Jimmy is fit, bring in onions as well. If Jimmy is out, bring in onions and finn. Our lower order is the best in the world-look @ the runs they've made this season! (in fact, englands tail has outscored indias top5!) could drop Morgan (a limited overs specialist, (and England's Raina or Dhoni) to allow for this.

  • on August 18, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    Being in Australia I hadn't heard of Taylor before this, very impressive stats for a batsman so young. If included in the test side he couldn't be any worse than Bopara, who I have NEVER rated as internationally worthy. Hundreds against the West Indies- whose attack is about as intimidating these days as a ham sandwich- are all very well and good, but if you can't be competitive against the stronger sides you don't belong at that level.

  • Finn92 on August 18, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    He will get his chance so I don't think we have to rush anything or put more pressure on Bopara. Every bloke deserves a fair chance (Ravi has had more than fair some might say) but it is important he comes in when he's going to get a prolonged run in a slot he's comfortable with

  • scg2008 on August 17, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    I think he's gotten a raw deal. Having been in line to slot into the test side, Morgan jets back from the IPL and plays one good innings and takes Bopara's spot. Then Bopara scores few good knocks in county games and gets called up to play THREE innings maximum to show his value and his career is basically riding on it. Ouch. Raw deal in my eyes. Send Morgan back to Ireland, hes a sellout.

  • chrismo on August 17, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Wow James Taylor born in Nottingham, was expecting to see Transvaal or something similar... :) very good start to a first class career for a 21 year old, wont be long i am sure till he gets a shot.

  • Valavan on August 17, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    As Thorpe said, England can include taylor, as he is inform in county circuit. BOPARA can have some rest.

  • landl47 on August 17, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    England has more talent than any other country among the 20-25 year old group. They also have a much better system for making sure those players reach their potential than most other countries. However, it's never certain that players who excel at lower levels will make great test players- the names Hick and Ramprakash spring immediately to mind! Still, Taylor with his performances against SL A has shown a lot of promise. England also has a relatively young team; in the next three years only Strauss himself will need to be replaced, unless injury or loss of form intervene. Cook, Morgan, Bresnan and Broad are probably still not at their peak. With Rashid, Finn and Woakes already having played international cricket, several good young W/K-batsmen, Taylor and Stokes looking good and a number of other prospects, that's the England team set up for the next decade. It's hard to remember a time so positive for English cricket.

  • jackchatfield on August 17, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    I think you'll find his 2011 average is far higher than stated... I just looked, and he almost has 1000 runs @ 52 ????!!!!

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  • jackchatfield on August 17, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    I think you'll find his 2011 average is far higher than stated... I just looked, and he almost has 1000 runs @ 52 ????!!!!

  • landl47 on August 17, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    England has more talent than any other country among the 20-25 year old group. They also have a much better system for making sure those players reach their potential than most other countries. However, it's never certain that players who excel at lower levels will make great test players- the names Hick and Ramprakash spring immediately to mind! Still, Taylor with his performances against SL A has shown a lot of promise. England also has a relatively young team; in the next three years only Strauss himself will need to be replaced, unless injury or loss of form intervene. Cook, Morgan, Bresnan and Broad are probably still not at their peak. With Rashid, Finn and Woakes already having played international cricket, several good young W/K-batsmen, Taylor and Stokes looking good and a number of other prospects, that's the England team set up for the next decade. It's hard to remember a time so positive for English cricket.

  • Valavan on August 17, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    As Thorpe said, England can include taylor, as he is inform in county circuit. BOPARA can have some rest.

  • chrismo on August 17, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Wow James Taylor born in Nottingham, was expecting to see Transvaal or something similar... :) very good start to a first class career for a 21 year old, wont be long i am sure till he gets a shot.

  • scg2008 on August 17, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    I think he's gotten a raw deal. Having been in line to slot into the test side, Morgan jets back from the IPL and plays one good innings and takes Bopara's spot. Then Bopara scores few good knocks in county games and gets called up to play THREE innings maximum to show his value and his career is basically riding on it. Ouch. Raw deal in my eyes. Send Morgan back to Ireland, hes a sellout.

  • Finn92 on August 18, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    He will get his chance so I don't think we have to rush anything or put more pressure on Bopara. Every bloke deserves a fair chance (Ravi has had more than fair some might say) but it is important he comes in when he's going to get a prolonged run in a slot he's comfortable with

  • on August 18, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    Being in Australia I hadn't heard of Taylor before this, very impressive stats for a batsman so young. If included in the test side he couldn't be any worse than Bopara, who I have NEVER rated as internationally worthy. Hundreds against the West Indies- whose attack is about as intimidating these days as a ham sandwich- are all very well and good, but if you can't be competitive against the stronger sides you don't belong at that level.

  • on August 18, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    Considering Bopara made 7 of out of a total of 710, I can't see what the drawback is of including an exciting young talent who would no doubt cherish the opportunity. Ok so Bopara had little to gain in those circumstances, but neither do the England selectors in sticking with Bopara when there are younger prospects out there that would no doubt love a crack at an already demoralised Indian outfit, in a match where both the series and the no.1 ranking have now been decided. I would find it easier to understand the selectors going with Bopara if this was a crucial match-but the fact is, it isn't. Another thing I consider worth trying is the 5 bowlers approach-if Jimmy is fit, bring in onions as well. If Jimmy is out, bring in onions and finn. Our lower order is the best in the world-look @ the runs they've made this season! (in fact, englands tail has outscored indias top5!) could drop Morgan (a limited overs specialist, (and England's Raina or Dhoni) to allow for this.

  • george204 on August 18, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    It's not enough to just have talented young players, it's how you bring them through the system, the timing of when you move them up, and how much faith you show them that counts. I remember a time at the start of the 1990s when we had a host of talented players supposedly ready to bring in: Atherton, Hussain, Ramprakash, Thorpe, Crawley, Lathwell. With the likes of Robin Smith already established, Hick waiting to qualify, fine players like Alec Stewart, Rob Bailey & Martyn Moxon waiting in the wings and an "old guard" of Gower, Lamb, Gooch to usher them in, the 1990s should have been a time of batting plenty for England. It didn't quite work out like that. Hopefully young Taylor will get his chance & enjoy success in a far more organised England setup than we had in the '90s.

  • Devon_Dumpling on August 18, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    What more has poor James Hildreth got to do before he gets a call-up? Dont get me wrong, I am 100% for plucking very talented youngsters and identifying them early enough for them to have decade long test careers, rather than flash-in-the-pan ones, bu i thought consistency was the new watchwrod of English cricket?

    Hildreth has been churning out thousands of runs in all forms of the game for Somerset over the last few years. He made the squad as a back up player, and now seems to be down the list below the latest bright new thing to have caught the imagination? He is also massively rated by Marcus Trescothick, and thats good enough for me...lol. Lets not spoil Taylor by picking him slightly too young, as we nearly managed to do to Ian Bell......