South Africa in England 2012 July 29, 2012

Taylor 'relishing' South Africa challenge

ESPNcricinfo staff

James Taylor is "relishing" the prospect of facing South Africa's bowling attack at Headingley having been called into the squad for the second Test but is not taking his debut for granted.

Unless England change the balance of their side and play five bowlers, which is unlikely, Taylor will earn his first cap at No. 6 after Ravi Bopara became unavailable due to personal reasons shortly before the squad was named on Sunday morning.

Taylor, who has been captain of England Lions over the last two years and averages 61.60 from ten first-class matches for them, has long been earmarked as a Test batsman in waiting. But he had seemingly fallen down the pecking order at the start of this season after failing to secure a place in the extended England performance squad and Jonny Bairstow was chosen to replace an injured Bopara against West Indies.

However, Taylor led the Lions against the West Indians in May and scored an impressive century at Derby and this week hit his first Championship hundred for his new county, Nottinghamshire, against Sussex. It is actually Taylor's one-day form that has been more consistent and he has made 345 runs at 69 in the CB40.

"Facing South Africa's bowling attack is always going to be a tough challenge but it's something that I would relish because getting an England Test call has been my aim from the word go," he said. "Test cricket is the pinnacle but there was a noticeable step up to division one of the Championship and wickets haven't been easy to bat on this season

"I've always backed myself to play at the highest level and even though I'm young I've played a lot of cricket and I've got a lot of runs behind me. The next goal is to get a place in the eleven and if I get that opportunity I have to take it with both hands. If I get in the team then I have to work hard to get runs and then work harder again to do that consistently.

"I've always tried to keep my feet on the ground and strive to become a better player and that will always be my mantra."

Taylor's move from Leicestershire to Nottinghamshire for this season was with the aim of boosting his Test ambitions after getting a brief taste of international cricket last season against Ireland. He has now jumped back ahead of Bairstow while fighting off the challenge of Eoin Morgan and Nick Compton.

"I hoped that I would be next in line but I never took anything for granted although I have scored consistent runs in all forms of the game to earn this chance," he said. "Playing at Headingley would be a very proud moment for me but nothing has happened yet, I'm just one step closer and waiting for the nod and the opportunity to help England to get back into the series.

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  • John on August 1, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @satish619chandar on (July 30 2012, 03:23 AM GMT) Personally , I'm dubious but time will tell. However he has actually come back into some form after a slow start to the season. His last knock was 170 N/O.

  • John on August 1, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @Trickstar on (July 30 2012, 01:35 AM GMT) I see you're like the JTP to Bell - KP can do no wrong. I presume you read my response on the KP T20 BB article where I gave you evidence of where Flower said KP was to be rested for the WI ODI series after you queried the legitimacy of my comms - just that you went all quiet afterwards?

  • John on August 1, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster on (July 29 2012, 21:09 PM GMT) Possibly could actually strengthen both the batting and bowling. I think if you just went in with 10 players it wouldn't weaken the batting massively

  • Mathew on July 31, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    Woakes has impressed, but we all know there is a big step up to test cricket. Bresnan has consistently contributed both with bat and ball. Although not a match winner by himself he plays a key role. Remember last match he was unlucky in the first innings and not out in the second. I agree with some here though that if we cannot fins a decent enough no.6 then why not go for another all-rounder or specialist bowler (Finn/Woakes), we certainly wont miss the runs.

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    i am afraid that SA bowlers eat this little man up. Good luck to him...cmon JT.

  • greig on July 31, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Lots of talk about Compton. Another saffa, are you serious??

  • John on July 31, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    @Si Baker /MattyP1979 on - When I first mentioned 5/1/5 on here pre UAE I had very few comms in agreement. Now it seems most are. I've not had one convincing reason against. And I don't see it as a gamble as we have no established number 6. This to me would be an ideal time to try it as we wouldn't even be dropping a batsman to do so. Another reason why I wanted Nick in there is because I see him a guy who will deal better with the pressure. I'm not sure any of our bowlers deserve to be dropped but if they were to drop Broad or Bres and still go for a 5/1/5 that'd suit me although again it'd be harsh on Broad/Bres. If we were doing the same with batsmen we'd prob only keep Cook and Trott in there but I guess the difference is we don't have as much quality on reserve. Guess re JT , we're going to need someone to replace KP who I think will be playing his last Eng match this series

  • Talha on July 31, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    ohhh!!! some one has just inquired about headingly pitch, they wont gonna make it seaming wicket nor a bouncy one.... I'm afraid that they will choose spinning option as swan was pathetic in the last test. JT will see what Test cricket is all about....

    if he have chosen for headingly Syten, Morkel, Philander, Kallis, and Tahir will be waiting to welcome you....good luck Jame taylor

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    @JG: Yup, I'd definitely go 5-1-5 as well - but only as long as Woakes is included at 7 in place of Bresnan, whose recent batting form has been brittle at best. Unfortunately, though, we're not the Andys, so that won't happen. Long-term, I believe that now it's clear that Woakes is a quality middle-order bat, he should be groomed for the Botham/Flintoff role at 6 or 7. I'd like to see that happen by next year's Ashes, but the selectors seem to have a blind spot re Woakes despite those impressive debut ODI & T20 performances in Oz in 2010-11. Re Compton: I wish Strauss had graciously hung up his bat before the start of the season to make way for a new opener, but after those cheap runs against the Windies, we're probably stuck with him until 2013/14, by which time I'm afraid it's possible that, with the advent of Hales, Root, Denly, Stokes, Bairstow, Roy, Vince et al, Nick may just miss the boat. A shame, as I think him & Cook would've forged a formidable opening partnership.

  • Mathew on July 30, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    Will he play? Or is this the perfect time to try 5-1-5. We are 1-0 down and everyone is calling for Finn to be included. @JG2704 agree with everything you have posted, but JT is a long term prospect though I think putting him against SA first up is a little on the harsh side. Good luck to him...cmon JT.

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