New Zealand tour of England, 2013 April 29, 2013

Root to lead Lions; Bopara included

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Joe Root has been named captain of the England Lions team to play New Zealand in a four-day game in Leicester from May 9.

Root was scheduled to captain the Lions on their limited-overs tour of Australia, but was instead called-up to the senior squad. James Taylor, who captained in his place, remains part of the Lions team.

Among the more intriguing selections is a recall for Michael Carberry, who played one Test in Bangladesh in early 2010, as well as Ravi Bopara and Toby Roland-Jones. The team, which will be coached by England's limited-overs coach Ashley Giles, contains three players from Warwickshire, the club he coached to the County Championship title last year: Chris Woakes, Chris Wright and Varun Chopra.

Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket, in a move that suggests he is currently considered Matt Prior's deputy in Test cricket. Yorkshire and Warwickshire provide five of the 11 players.

England's eagerness to give Root the captaincy once again illustrates how highly the regard the qualities of a player who seems mature beyond his years in cricketing terms.

"With a busy summer of Test cricket ahead, this fixture against New Zealand is an excellent opportunity for our players to show us that they are capable of representing England in the longer format of the game," said Geoff Miller, the national selector. "Joe Root will lead the side in order to assist his development as a cricketer and provide him with valuable experience of captaincy against quality opposition."

Ashley Giles, England's one-day coach, will join the management team for the match as he casts an eye over players who are competing for places in England's Champions Trophy squad this summer.

England Lions Team: Joe Root capt, Jonny Bairstow (both Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Graham Onions (Durham), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Chris Wright (Warwickshire).

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 4, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Even the England Lions team looks stronger than the Australian Test Team.

    I do think the Captains match up in the quality ranks-both Clarke and Cook are world class players,The Aussie Pace department with Jackson Bird looks quality too, but where England have a distinct advantage is Spin. Unfortunately, with the likes of Hauritz you cannot expect to win Ashes. Swann and Panesar are magnificent. The England top order looks solid with both Compton and Cook in great nick. The same can't be said of Warner and Cowan. The English middle order with Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell and KP in the ranks is far better than the Aussies' combination of Khawaja/Huges,Watson,Clarke. Brad Haddin is marginally better than Matt Prior. Overall it would be fair to say that the English start distinct favourites.

  • on May 4, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    @RandyOZ

    I am amazed Bopara is playing - he's had more lives than Brad Haddin

  • Lmaotsetung on May 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    This is pretty much England's next in line players. Ofcourse not all 11 will eventually make it to the senior team or be the next generation of superstars. All you need is just 2 or 3 to go on and make a contribution at the next level. It will be an interesting warmup match for sure, one which most England fans will be keen to follow.

  • Meety on May 3, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    @JG2704 on (May 2, 2013, 19:26 GMT) - 3rd time lucky? I have been wanting to say that I think this is a good squad. Particularly pleased that Woakes & Kerrigan have been given a crack. I also wanted to say that I think it is great that the ECB have picked a decent side to play against NZ, unlike the trivial pettiness other Boards (that shant be named) engage in.

  • JG2704 on May 2, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    RandyOz - The talent always has been and always will be wafer thin in England so no need to keep remind us mate

  • AKS286 on May 2, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    AD Hales is missing. Eng must groom this talent and debut him early.

  • AKS286 on May 2, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    One More spinner or a spinning all-rounder must be included. If Bopara bowls then so many pace bowlers are available. Spinner requires.

  • SirViv1973 on April 30, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    @Landl47, Your thoughts on Wright could be true but so far this season he is backing up what he did in 2012 and if he continues to do so for the rest of this season who knows. I would agree that Roland Jones is a fair bit ahead of him in the pecking order & is doing all that can be asked of him, although I suspect the selectors still have him behind Bresnan & Onions in terms of back up to Anderson,Finn & Broad. Aus fans are constantly raving about how great Jackson Bird is largly due to his domestic ave, and some would have us believe he is the 2nd coming of McGrath. However if you look at TRJ record his ave is only marginally down on Bird's & he's taken nearly 50 wickets more. Hopefully James Harris will be fit again soon & when you put that bunch together then I don't think our seam bowling stocks are looking too bad perhaps the only negative would be that none of them are express pace.

  • Jaffa79 on April 30, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Hey Randy...I agree, Bopara should not be playing. Mind you, he did smash you Aussies around last summer and even bowled you mugs out. My favourite stat: Bopara = 13 tests and 3 hundreds whilst Cowan has played 17 tests and Watson 41 tests with the grand total of 58 tests with the same amount of hundreds as dear old Ravi. That is your top order as well! Damn. It really is tough to defend your top order but I admire how you Aussies continue to do so.

  • hhillbumper on April 30, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Ravi Bopara must have a lucky charm.Shame it does not effect his batting though.

  • on May 4, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Even the England Lions team looks stronger than the Australian Test Team.

    I do think the Captains match up in the quality ranks-both Clarke and Cook are world class players,The Aussie Pace department with Jackson Bird looks quality too, but where England have a distinct advantage is Spin. Unfortunately, with the likes of Hauritz you cannot expect to win Ashes. Swann and Panesar are magnificent. The England top order looks solid with both Compton and Cook in great nick. The same can't be said of Warner and Cowan. The English middle order with Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell and KP in the ranks is far better than the Aussies' combination of Khawaja/Huges,Watson,Clarke. Brad Haddin is marginally better than Matt Prior. Overall it would be fair to say that the English start distinct favourites.

  • on May 4, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    @RandyOZ

    I am amazed Bopara is playing - he's had more lives than Brad Haddin

  • Lmaotsetung on May 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    This is pretty much England's next in line players. Ofcourse not all 11 will eventually make it to the senior team or be the next generation of superstars. All you need is just 2 or 3 to go on and make a contribution at the next level. It will be an interesting warmup match for sure, one which most England fans will be keen to follow.

  • Meety on May 3, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    @JG2704 on (May 2, 2013, 19:26 GMT) - 3rd time lucky? I have been wanting to say that I think this is a good squad. Particularly pleased that Woakes & Kerrigan have been given a crack. I also wanted to say that I think it is great that the ECB have picked a decent side to play against NZ, unlike the trivial pettiness other Boards (that shant be named) engage in.

  • JG2704 on May 2, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    RandyOz - The talent always has been and always will be wafer thin in England so no need to keep remind us mate

  • AKS286 on May 2, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    AD Hales is missing. Eng must groom this talent and debut him early.

  • AKS286 on May 2, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    One More spinner or a spinning all-rounder must be included. If Bopara bowls then so many pace bowlers are available. Spinner requires.

  • SirViv1973 on April 30, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    @Landl47, Your thoughts on Wright could be true but so far this season he is backing up what he did in 2012 and if he continues to do so for the rest of this season who knows. I would agree that Roland Jones is a fair bit ahead of him in the pecking order & is doing all that can be asked of him, although I suspect the selectors still have him behind Bresnan & Onions in terms of back up to Anderson,Finn & Broad. Aus fans are constantly raving about how great Jackson Bird is largly due to his domestic ave, and some would have us believe he is the 2nd coming of McGrath. However if you look at TRJ record his ave is only marginally down on Bird's & he's taken nearly 50 wickets more. Hopefully James Harris will be fit again soon & when you put that bunch together then I don't think our seam bowling stocks are looking too bad perhaps the only negative would be that none of them are express pace.

  • Jaffa79 on April 30, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Hey Randy...I agree, Bopara should not be playing. Mind you, he did smash you Aussies around last summer and even bowled you mugs out. My favourite stat: Bopara = 13 tests and 3 hundreds whilst Cowan has played 17 tests and Watson 41 tests with the grand total of 58 tests with the same amount of hundreds as dear old Ravi. That is your top order as well! Damn. It really is tough to defend your top order but I admire how you Aussies continue to do so.

  • hhillbumper on April 30, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Ravi Bopara must have a lucky charm.Shame it does not effect his batting though.

  • 2.14istherunrate on April 30, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    I cannot really fault the side.I would say however that one could pick an entirely different side and it would still be the LIons in as much as there seem to be many players of similar standard around which is great.

  • RandyOZ on April 30, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Is Bopara still being selected? The talent really is wafer thin in england at the moment isn't it?

  • YorkshirePudding on April 30, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    @Greendevlin, Morgan was given a fair crack at cementing his place and apart from one innings against a poor indian bowling line up did nothing to warrant him keeping his place in the test squad. I personally think he has too much head movement to be a test player, there are also youngsters like Root, Bairstow, and Taylor all knocking on the door of the test team, Root especially who has 2 double tons, and a few big hundreds under his belt.

    All I can say is best of look to him, and hope we see him playing more during the summer and winter.

  • jmcilhinney on April 30, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (April 30, 2013, 5:44 GMT), while some Australian fans may have exaggerated the achievement of beating that touring Lions team, some England fans have exaggerated just how under-strength the Lions were too. It certainly wasn't England's second best XI but they really should have done better than they did all the same.

  • JG2704 on April 30, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    @GreenDeviln on (April 29, 2013, 17:28 GMT) Thought that giving Morgan a CC was showing some kind of faith and to be honest Morgan has done little (effortwise) to repay the selectors for giving him a CC To be honest I think Morgan (from both his comms and actions) is happier to be in India right now.

    PS He was on the Indian tour anyway and what exactly has he done at his county side Middx in an effort to prove himself and get back into the Eng side?

  • venkatesh018 on April 30, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Hope Graham Onions gets back to form. He will be crucial in a long year for English cricket.

  • CricketingStargazer on April 30, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    @Dashgar The team that went to Australia was, as people have pointed out time and again, a mixture of England's 3rd and 4th teams!! THe LIons were either with the Test squad or, in some cases, with the Development team in South Africa. The loud celebrations from Australia were just a fraction overdone: it was like playing a Tasmania 2nd XI and claiming it as victory over the Australian Test side...

  • Dashgar on April 30, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    Well good for England that they dropped most of the no hopers who went to Australia a little while ago. Interesting that Gary Ballance got dropped though. Maybe he can head back to Zimbabwe.

  • creekeetman on April 29, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    whats the obsession with bopara?????? i just dont get it, the man is not, and never will be test class, so why the persistance?

  • jackiethepen on April 29, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    Flower usually demands that batsmen earn the right to be recalled. He makes an exception for his former team mate Bopara who is still struggling for form. It is neither kind to Bopara nor to other up and coming players who deserve a chance and have earned it. Bopara should not be treated differently and favouratism should play no part in his selection. The same applies to Bairstow who was shamelessly promoted by the Daily Telegraph cricket writers on behalf of Boycott who is Bairstow's godfather. They are all good players but they should not be treated differently because of their connections.

  • landl47 on April 29, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    I'm not sure I share the enthusiasm about Chris Wright. He's an ordinary seamer who had a good year in 2012. The other seamer in the England A side, Toby Roland-Jones, has a far superior record and is younger. There's also James Harris, who has a better average and is only 22. It's tempting to go with the guy who is in form, but career records very rarely lie. The only time they do is when players are very young; mature players usually have the records they deserve.

  • GreenDeviln on April 29, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    @SirViv1973 U know why he chose IPL because selectors dropped him from New Zealand & India tour. Had Selectors been consistent with Morgan I bet his average had crossed 38-40+ in Tests..

  • SirViv1973 on April 29, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    @JG, Even though Woakes will bat at 7 here I still think its odds against him playing in that role in the test matches. In KPs absence I think what happened in Auckland will continue with Bell moving to 4 & Root 5. However Bairstow's place must be in doubt given his continuing struggles. I think he may need to outscore Taylor in this game if he is to keep his place. I will also be interested to see how Wright goes in this game he's bang in form & his inclusion here confirms he is on the selectors radar. If his form continues he could be a bit of a wildcard for the ashes tour party later in the year particularly if we pick up an injury or 2.

  • SirViv1973 on April 29, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    @Greendevlin, Morgan chose to play IPL so could not be considered for selection for this game.

  • CricketingStargazer on April 29, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    It's not beside the point on the Jonny Bairstow selection that Craig Kieswetter is out for 6 weeks with a broken thumb, otherwise it is not impossible that he would have taken the gloves as he is good form with bat and gloves right now. However, it is a chance for Jos Buttler to make a case.

  • GreenDeviln on April 29, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    It's pity that they haven't Eoin Morgan in the squad. Morgan has the class to make it big in Test arena only if selectors show some faith in him..

  • JG2704 on April 29, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    @InsideHedge - Agree with you there. The mind often boggles re selection , resting etc and also I notice this game overlaps both CC and the 40 over matches. You'd have thought Giles being in the Eng set up would pull a few strings for the bears but it seems that he's pulling out anyone who's anywhere near Eng class from the Warwicks side at every opportunity

    @cricketcricket1987 - Not 100% sure re Onions batting ability affecting his place. In NZ/India our last 3 were Finn,Jimmy,Monty. I think England possibly have their "tried and tested" policy with both bowling and batting

    @Si Baker-Is there still hope for my 5/1/5 then?

  • Motobu on April 29, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    landl47's team order seems more than possible. I just find it difficult to reconcile having Root in a 3rd different position in the batting order: Opening for Yorks, 6 at Test and the 3 here... guess we'll find out soon enough.

    Bring on the summer!!

  • trav29 on April 29, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    why is it relevant what bopara did in ODIs against Australia last year

    since then his form has been abysmal , I thought after losing your spot you had to earn the right to get a recall. there are numerous batsmen far more deserving of that spot based on their current form, and no baggage

    and another failure with the bat today to celebrate his inclusion ...

  • landl47 on April 29, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    This looks pretty much like a reserve squad for England. It appears that Root won't open, since Carberry and Chopra have been picked; I'm guessing it will be Root 3, Taylor 4, Bopara 5 and Bairstow 6. Then Woakes will bat at 7 and that's encouraging. Onions and Wright to open the bowling, Roland-Jones and Woakes as the other seamers and Kerrigan to bowl spin. It's a reasonably well-balanced side, if a bit light in batting since none of the specialist bowlers are much good with the bat. I don't know that Bopara is in the selectors' minds, he just fits well with this young team. However, he still has talent; take a look at the averages for the Australian ODI tour of England last year.

    A lot of these players have shown good early-season form, so it will be interesting to see how they go against NZ. The first test starts 3 days after this game finishes, so a good showing in this match could mean a cap for one of the specialist batsmen or for Woakes.

  • Motobu on April 29, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Appointing Root as captain is a fine move. I can imagine they may open with Root and Carberry, at one point last summer it appeared they may have gone with Carberry as the replacement for Strauss before finally opting for Compton. And as no-one seems to have said it yet I find it impossible to resist the compulsion...

    Bopara? Seriously...? I'm sure most people here could name at least 3 more promising alternatives better deserving of the chance... It's not fair on them, it's not fair on us and it's not fair on Bopara either. Unless he has minimum of 12 months, extraordinary - out of this world form he shouldn't be getting the faintest sniff of a recall.

  • AKS286 on April 29, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    Investment in appreciated asset, Root as an opener or no.3 in test. C.Wright IS THE future prospect.

  • mikem764 on April 29, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Huge Michael Carberry fan but surely his time has come and gone, he's 32 now - would have made more sense to pick hugely promising James Vince, but sense has not been Lions' policy for a while it seems. As for Bopara, it's embarrassing - he'll never be Test class but England refuse to admit defeat - they seem keener on him playing for England than he is.

  • cricketcricket1987 on April 29, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Onions, despite being the leading wicket taker in county cricket every year, clearly won't play for England as he has limited ability with the bat which is goes against Englands policy. That'll mean Bresnan as the back up seamer who'll go back to bowling 75mph farts!

  • on April 29, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    The most interesting element of this selection is that Chris Woakes will bat at Seven as part of a five-man attack (six if we include Bopara as a bona fide bowler). Hopefully this will prefigure a similar role for Woakes in the New Zealand Tests & possibly even the Ashes. I wonder if he, rather than Bairstow, Taylor or Bopara, has already been inked in as KP's replacement against NZ? I certainly hope so, not least because it'll take a significant load off the backs of Anderson, Broad & Finn in what's going to be a backbreaking 12 months for the seamers.

    Otherwise, it's a disappointingly conservative squad. What else can the selectors learn about Carberry, Bopara & Onions that they don't already know? Personally, I'd have liked to have seen how Jos Buttler weighs up in a highly competitive four-day match - preferably with the gloves as well - while, for the sake of variety, one of the left-arm seamers - either David Willey, Reece Topley or Chris Wood - could've been given a runout too.

  • mikey76 on April 29, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Pretty dull selection, we've seen what most of these players can do. Would have liked to have seen Chris Jordan rewarded for some great early season form and had a look at the likes of Northeast and Vince. I think we are well aware of Onions or Bairstows ability.

  • Mattzo12 on April 29, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    On the bright side at least Warwickshire have Bell and Trott available.

    Sensible enough to get a look at Root's captaincy, although for me I'd prefer Taylor over Bairstow as a dedicated bat and Davies if we need a spare wicket keeper.

  • jmcilhinney on April 29, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @RodStark on (April 29, 2013, 13:48 GMT), given that Taylor's already played a couple of Tests, was a bit unlucky to have been run out in one of his three innings and has looked OK this season, you'd hope that he's next in line for a middle order spot. A good showing in this game couldn't hurt his chances. Obviously England aren't prepared to give up on their investment in Bopara just yet but you'd hope that, for his ever to get back into the senior team, he'd have to perform very well for an extended period at county level and for the Lions too. He's flattered to deceive before so you'd want to be very sure before giving him another chance. If he failed again then surely that would be it.

  • trav29 on April 29, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    it actually really worries me when I see bopara bowl well like he appears to be today as it then gives the selectors an excuse to keep considering him for a spot despite under-performing with the bat

  • InsideHedge on April 29, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    A pointless game that will take away important players from county duty. Warwickshire, for instance, are due to play Middlesex at home starting May 8, so that's THREE players unavailable. One of them is Chris Woakes who was inexplicably asked to "rest" in the opener against Derbyshire. So, he'll have played just one game for his county by the middle of May despite NOT being an England regular.

    Please don't complain about how IPL prevents players from turning out for their counties.

  • RodStark on April 29, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Well, I was wondering who was next on the selectors' list for a batting position. If KP is unfit, then it looks like Bairstow, but then who? It might actually be important in case KP doesn't get fit and/or Root/Bairstow don't work out. I would hope it's Taylor or perhaps Chopra, but surely they're not still hoping for a Bopara comeback? Don't they ever give give up?

  • jmcilhinney on April 29, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    With Carberry and Chopra in the team, it will be interesting to see where Root bats. If he opens then I think that it's an indication that that's where England see him in the senior team in the long term at least and quite possibly the medium term. That may be the case anyway but, if he bats lower down then it would suggest that England want to turn him into the best middle order batsman he can be for the senior team right now.

  • jmcilhinney on April 29, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    @SamuelH on (April 29, 2013, 13:15 GMT), given that it's a Lions game, I wouldn't be too concerned about Bairstow's selection. I'm sure that everyone would like to see Bairstow in form with bat and gloves so this is a great way to help that happen with no consequence if it doesn't come off for either England or Yorkshire. That is unless Yorkshire are playing a CC game at the time and are minus his services.

  • on April 29, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Pretty surprised that Gary Ballance isn't part of the squad at least?

  • SDHM on April 29, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Banging my head about the Bairstow selection. Horribly out of form, keeping poorly. If he's our back-up we'd better hope Prior stays fit! Kieswetter unlucky to pick up a hand injury yesterday, should've been in the side.

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  • SDHM on April 29, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Banging my head about the Bairstow selection. Horribly out of form, keeping poorly. If he's our back-up we'd better hope Prior stays fit! Kieswetter unlucky to pick up a hand injury yesterday, should've been in the side.

  • on April 29, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Pretty surprised that Gary Ballance isn't part of the squad at least?

  • jmcilhinney on April 29, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    @SamuelH on (April 29, 2013, 13:15 GMT), given that it's a Lions game, I wouldn't be too concerned about Bairstow's selection. I'm sure that everyone would like to see Bairstow in form with bat and gloves so this is a great way to help that happen with no consequence if it doesn't come off for either England or Yorkshire. That is unless Yorkshire are playing a CC game at the time and are minus his services.

  • jmcilhinney on April 29, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    With Carberry and Chopra in the team, it will be interesting to see where Root bats. If he opens then I think that it's an indication that that's where England see him in the senior team in the long term at least and quite possibly the medium term. That may be the case anyway but, if he bats lower down then it would suggest that England want to turn him into the best middle order batsman he can be for the senior team right now.

  • RodStark on April 29, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Well, I was wondering who was next on the selectors' list for a batting position. If KP is unfit, then it looks like Bairstow, but then who? It might actually be important in case KP doesn't get fit and/or Root/Bairstow don't work out. I would hope it's Taylor or perhaps Chopra, but surely they're not still hoping for a Bopara comeback? Don't they ever give give up?

  • InsideHedge on April 29, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    A pointless game that will take away important players from county duty. Warwickshire, for instance, are due to play Middlesex at home starting May 8, so that's THREE players unavailable. One of them is Chris Woakes who was inexplicably asked to "rest" in the opener against Derbyshire. So, he'll have played just one game for his county by the middle of May despite NOT being an England regular.

    Please don't complain about how IPL prevents players from turning out for their counties.

  • trav29 on April 29, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    it actually really worries me when I see bopara bowl well like he appears to be today as it then gives the selectors an excuse to keep considering him for a spot despite under-performing with the bat

  • jmcilhinney on April 29, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @RodStark on (April 29, 2013, 13:48 GMT), given that Taylor's already played a couple of Tests, was a bit unlucky to have been run out in one of his three innings and has looked OK this season, you'd hope that he's next in line for a middle order spot. A good showing in this game couldn't hurt his chances. Obviously England aren't prepared to give up on their investment in Bopara just yet but you'd hope that, for his ever to get back into the senior team, he'd have to perform very well for an extended period at county level and for the Lions too. He's flattered to deceive before so you'd want to be very sure before giving him another chance. If he failed again then surely that would be it.

  • Mattzo12 on April 29, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    On the bright side at least Warwickshire have Bell and Trott available.

    Sensible enough to get a look at Root's captaincy, although for me I'd prefer Taylor over Bairstow as a dedicated bat and Davies if we need a spare wicket keeper.

  • mikey76 on April 29, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Pretty dull selection, we've seen what most of these players can do. Would have liked to have seen Chris Jordan rewarded for some great early season form and had a look at the likes of Northeast and Vince. I think we are well aware of Onions or Bairstows ability.