England news April 28, 2015

Billings, Willey, Ansari called up for Ireland ODI

Play 01:24
'A peek into England's future'

England's post-World Cup renewal will begin against Ireland in Dublin next week with a team containing several of the next generation making an impression in the county game. There could be as many as six ODI debutants in the side, to be captained by James Taylor, including Kent's explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings, Somerset allrounder Lewis Gregory and Surrey's Cambridge graduate Zafar Ansari.

The other uncapped players are David Willey, the Northamptonshire allrounder and son of former England batsman Peter Willey, Hampshire's stylish top-order batsman James Vince and Surrey's Jason Roy, who made his T20 international debut last summer.

There is also a return for Tim Bresnan, who has not played for England in any format since the 2014 World T20, while Alex Hales, recently critical of his handling by the team management, will have the chance to reassert himself as one of the country's most exciting limited-overs talents.

Although England have only named an XI to travel to Dublin, it is expected that several non-playing members of the Test squad will be added after the final match begins in Barbados on Friday. Jonny Bairstow, who last played an ODI in 2012, has already been named while Adil Rashid and Mark Wood are also candidates.

After England's humiliating World Cup, when they were knocked out during the group stage, changes were a certainty - though the proximity of the fixture to England's tour of the Caribbean, where the third Test will conclude three days before the Ireland game, has also significantly affected the make-up of the side.

Only three of the World Cup 15 are included - Taylor, Alex Hales and Steven Finn - although nine members of that group are currently in the West Indies. Eoin Morgan, who was given the ODI captaincy after Alastair Cook's removal weeks before the tournament, is at the IPL along with Ravi Bopara, while Chris Woakes is injured.

Taylor only broke into England's one-day side on the tour of Sri Lanka that preceded the World Cup, having made a compelling case at domestic level, but his leadership qualities have been noted at Nottinghamshire, where he captains the limited-overs sides, and with the Lions.

"To be given the opportunity to lead your country is a huge honour," he said. "There are still some very experienced and talented cricketers in that team who I'd have been delighted to have as my captain, so it is a privilege and one I'm going to relish. It's going to be brilliant leading an England team in a one-day international. We know it will be a tough game against Ireland and this match provides a great chance for us all to show we can play a huge role in limited-overs cricket in years to come."

Sam Billings netting with England Lions in Benoni last winter © Gallo Images

Ireland, who performed conspicuously better than England in Australia and New Zealand, may infer more second-class treatment at the selection of such an experimental side but, after the grim showing in 50-over cricket over the winter, England's fans should find plenty to be enthusiastic about among the group.

Ansari, who opens the batting for Surrey in Championship cricket, bowls slow left-arm and could fulfil the spinner's role - although it is understood England plan to play Rashid. Billings, who scored 458 runs at an average of more than 100 and a strike rate of 154.20 in last season's 50-over Royal London Cup, will compete with Bairstow for the gloves, but either could still play as a specialist batsman.

Left-arm seamer Willey has been tipped for an England call-up since starring on T20 Finals Day in 2013, when he scored 60 from 27 balls and then took a hat-trick to help Northamptonshire to an unexpected triumph, before injury affected his progress last year.

Finn and Bresnan - who has begun the season in good form for Yorkshire after making a change to his action - will lead an otherwise inexperienced attack. Boyd Rankin's good form for Warwickshire has been offset by the need for an injection on a back problem, while Nottinghamshire left-armer Harry Gurney is also injured.

England's national selector, James Whitaker, said: "We are expecting a very competitive match against a talented Ireland side and this fixture gives us a great opportunity to look at players who have performed well in county cricket and for the Lions. We are starting to identify players we believe can make a real impact in limited overs cricket in the next four years as we build towards the World Cup in 2019 and these players have a huge opportunity to stake a claim for further opportunities this summer.

"James Taylor has played with many of these players with England and England Lions and his experiences leading Notts make him an ideal captain to lead a young and dynamic side with Eoin Morgan currently in India at the IPL.

"We will add a number of players to the squad once the side for the final Test against West Indies has been selected."

England squad: James Taylor (capt), Zafar Ansari, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Sam Billings (wk), Tim Bresnan, Steven Finn, Lewis Gregory, Alex Hales, Jason Roy, James Vince, David Willey

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

Comments