South Africa in England 2012 July 29, 2012

James Taylor called up for second Test


James Taylor, the Nottinghamshire batsman, has been called up for the second Test against South Africa at Headingley after Ravi Bopara was ruled out because of what the ECB said were 'personal issues'.

The first match at The Oval marked Bopara's return to the Test line-up after nearly a year out of the team but he struggled, making 0 and 22. He was due to play in Essex's CB40 match against Worcestershire on Sunday but also withdrew from that that and this latest development brings a halt to another attempt to establish himself in the Test line up.

Taylor, who played one ODI against Ireland last year, will enter the match in good form after making a century against Sussex in the current round of Championship matches, although before that innings he had a lean season in four-day cricket with one half-century in nine matches. However, he had scored a century for England Lions against the West Indians earlier this season.

Taylor was preferred ahead of Jonny Bairstow, who played the three Tests against West Indies in place of an injured Bopara, and Somerset's Nick Compton, the lead run-scorer in the Championship.

Speaking after the second day against Sussex, before news of his call up, he said: "My ultimate ambition has always been to play Test cricket and my plan at the start of the season was to try to establish myself here and win games for Nottinghamshire, to keep knocking at the door and hope that when an opportunity did arise with England I would have enough runs behind me that they couldn't not pick me.

"I always expected to score runs because I know I can but it has been good to play against first division bowling attacks and on difficult wickets. I feel good about the way things are going at the moment."

Taylor is the only change to the 13-man squad after the innings-and-12-run defeat in the opening Test at The Oval, although question marks remain over the make up of the bowling attack after England took just two wickets in 189 overs. Steven Finn and Graham Onions, who both played Championship cricket this week, are the other options should the selectors decide on a change.

The most vulnerable of the pace bowlers appears to be Tim Bresnan, although he would bring local knowledge on his home ground and can bowl long spells. Stuart Broad was below his best at The Oval but it is unlikely that England will considering leaving him out, after showing faith in him during previous slips in form.

Finn took six wickets against Durham at Chester-le-Street while, by the start of the third day, Onions had four. Both played against West Indies at Edgbaston when England rotated their pace attack and Finn showed excellent form against Australia in the one-day series.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "We were outplayed during the first Test last week but it is important that this squad regroups and focuses on preparing for the second Test. This is a talented squad with plenty of international experience and they will be determined to improve on the performance during the first Test.

"We have made one change to the squad with James Taylor replacing Ravi Bopara, who is unavailable for selection due to personal reasons. James has been part of the England Performance Programme for a number of years and has performed consistently for England Lions and now has an opportunity to step up and experience the Test environment."

Squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, James Taylor, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Graham Onions

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shajw on July 31, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    @StaalBurgher: so, by your definition, only Zulus should represent South Africa?

  • Meety on July 31, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    @StaalBurgher - " should be of that ethnic background..." Please define England or Oz ethnicity & while your at it - what's Sth Africa's ethnicity? @jezzastyles - don't worry about hhillbumper - he trolls on Oz sites all the time, it is quite funny that he is getting his knickers in a bunch.

  • dummy4fb on July 31, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    I really hope Bopara's problems aren't serious because it would have to be to pull out at such a moment. If Taylor gets more than about 20 then Bopara might never play Test cricket again, so it must be pretty serious. As a massive fan of Trescothick I really hope it isn't depression. Bopara is a fine player and deserves a decent run, but good luck to Taylor, he's definitely one for the future.

  • MattyP1979 on July 31, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Greatestgame. Here here well said. Jezza. My comments are an attempt to equalise procedings here on cricifo. I still feel I have not been radical enough nor will one man ever balance some of this lot. I am actually not that one-eyed. Eng are a good outfit and I pray for a better showing come thur. As for the tired posts about ethnicity I am proud of my countries stance on it, I come from the most ethnic town in England, for those that want Eng to be blond hair/blue eyes and can trace their heritage back to Arthur can do one.

  • Greatest_Game on July 30, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    @StaalBurgher. I watched the last test SA played before isolation, & a team ready to dominate test cricket for years. They never played again because SA's government imposed standards defined by so-called "ethnicity." The ONLY standard for representing a National team is, & can be, eligibility as defined in the ICC rules. Eng are teased mercilessly because of the so-called S. Africans in their team. As a S. African I delight in teasing them. However, Eng MUST pick players ONLY based on ability & eligibility. Any other criteria would be bigotry! Imran Tahir is in EXACTLY the same position as Peterson, Trott, Prior, Wagner, Van Wyk etc. They meet the requirements, & should play if selected. Test cricket is a multi-cultural game played by multi-cultural countries. Teasing the Poms is fun, but we live in glass houses & must take great care not cross the line & throw stones. I am as proud of Basil D'Oliviera as I am of Kallis, Amla or Ntini - all great S. Africans, wherever they played.

  • Damo_s on July 30, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    "KP ... played a big part in the failure of our first innings by getting out to a stupid shot exposing middle order to the new ball." - I thought the same thing when he got himself out. That said, our middle order should be good enough to cope with a new ball no? KP is possibly the one batsmen in our team the SA bowlers will be wary of and he should use this wisely rather than trying to be over agressive and get out. Lets see what taylor does before we all start saying how good he is / isnt. he may thrive, or he may do a ramprakash.

  • 12thUmpire on July 30, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    India used to have openers as sacrificial lambs before exposing their recognized batsmen. What is Eng strategy? Is №6 ALso ANother LAMB? Then send Anderson as the day watchman, he sure can transfer the strike as often as the present №6 against strong teams. Did Straussy say there's no room for passengers? Then why is he "batting" against strong teams instead of following the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, Vaughny and Nass? He should return against weak teams, and consult Bopara on generating a "personal reason" in the interim!

  • bonobo on July 30, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    it gets so boring on this site,m when anything to do with england relates to someones birth place. most people dont care.....we just like watching cricket. staalburger unbelievable....................anyway. #6 is a worry for england since Collingwood stood down, Bairstow looked very immature, most commentators feel the same about Taylor, although lets hope he gets a good few games to prove himself....Morgan clearly needs work and Bopara hasnt convinced he is more than decent player at best. There seems to be a big gap between the test stars late 20s and early 30s and those guys and players like Taylor Bairstow...given Strauss is expected to retire next year...this could be a bigger long term issue..on the bowling all the talk is about Finn...but if someone comes in maybe Onions a better shout, Eng bowlers really failed to attack the stumps, Onions goes wicket to wicket is in great form and out bowled Finn against the Windies

  • Hammond on July 30, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @Staalburgher- how far back do you want to do? Only pick those with Angle heritage, and then stop anyone with Norman or Saxon blood from playing? Sorry mate the world has moved on from such fantasies. You play the best citizens of your country in your team. The concept is even more laughable when you look at Australia and South Africa, what "ethnicity" criteria do you look place on them?

  • jezzastyles on July 30, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    @hhillbumper - it's an international game, so fans of ANY country can tune in and have their five-cents worth - as long as they try and give a balanced and fair response, why do you care. I know some fans go over the top, but do you really take it to heart that much. After all, it's a public forum, you don't own ESPN Cricinfo, and they set the guidelines, moderate comments, and so on. The more audience the site gets, the more advertising income they generate, I would suspect.

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