England news April 4, 2013

England stick to Prior judgment


James Harris, the most sought-after player of the winter in county cricket, is one of four uncapped players in England's provisional 30-strong squad for the Champions Trophy.

But once again England remain determinedly opposed to Matt Prior's return to one-day international cricket as the Sussex wicketkeeper batsman does not even make the 30 despite a series of attacking displays for England in the Test arena.

His one-day record is mediocre, although arguably he is a much superior player these days. Measured against that was the desire of England's selectors to follow a consistent path and, as much as they desire a first England win in a major ICC 50-over event, to leave Prior to concentrate on reaching the start of the Ashes series in perfect fettle.

Prior made a bristling unbeaten hundred in the Auckland Test to give England a face-saving draw against New Zealand last month, and a share of the series, but it has not swayed the conviction of England's selectors that Jos Buttler or Craig Kieswetter offer better options in the 50-over format.

Harris will be one of the most eagerly-studied players in early season as he seeks to make a big impression with his new county, Middlesex, who won the battle for his transfer fought out by a dozen counties after he left struggling Glamorgan.

Harris is joined in the squad by the Warwickshire opening batsman, Varun Chopra, Yorkshire's belligerent middle-order batsman Gary Ballance, and the Warwickshire seam bowler, Chris Wright.

Although none of the four have strong chances of making the cut when the final 15 is named by the May 5 deadline, the long list is nevertheless more intriguing than the conservative list of 30 players announced earlier this week in the England Performance squad.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "This is a balanced squad which will provide the selectors with strong options in all areas and reflects players' performances for both the senior England teams and the England Lions and EPP squads over the winter period.

"With this country hosting the tournament for the first time since 2004, there will be every incentive for England to perform well and we anticipate intense competition for places in our final squad which will be named early next month."

England have never won a 50-over trophy at a major ICC event. The Champions Trophy features the best eight ODI teams in 15 matches between June 6-23 at The Oval, Edgbaston and Cardiff.

With just over two months until the opening game in Cardiff, additional tickets for all 15 matches will go on general sale at 10.30am on Monday 8 April, via icc-cricket.com or 0844 249 2013.

England provisional squad for Champions trophy
Alastair Cook (Essex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Rikki Clarke (Warwickshire), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), James Harris (Middlesex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Graham Onions (Durham), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Chris Wright (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on April 6, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    @ davidpk on (April 4, 2013, 11:11 GMT) - Prior scores faster than most in TESTS, not ODIs. He has a career S/R of about 77, which is about TWO runs faster than Trott! @JG2704 on (April 4, 2013, 10:41 GMT) - I think the England top 4 is going to be the main asset for England. The spin options as you have pretty much noted are very good with Tredwell & Swann, the pace attack is a different matter. The biggest problem with (IMO), with your mobs pace attack is that they have a bit of a "sameness" feel about them. I think you need a Left armer, so I'd suggest players like C Wood (stats are brilliant in List A), Keith Barker ho is almost an allrounder option, or Liddle. Obviously the squads been selected, but I think not having much variety in the pace attack will come against your boys!

  • John on April 6, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Shan156 on (April 4, 2013, 20:54 GMT) Think that's a bit harsh on Craig. His average is still 30 despite his poor form for Eng in the last year and despite him batting down the order (as opposed to his familiar opener role). His SR is also higher than anyone's (regulars) in ODIs inc KP and Morgan who are the only 2 regulars within 10 of his SR Bell was given a 2nd chance and while I'm still not convinced has done better 2nd time around. If Jos does the business he should remain WK but if he doesn't and Craig finds form again with Somerset why should he not get a 2nd go? I'm not saying he shouldn't have been dropped but if his form merits being selected again then why not. I don't feel that dropping a player should signal the end.

  • Shanmugam on April 4, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Although I am a huge fan of Matt Prior, I think we should select him only for tests. He had his chances in ODIs and didn't take it. We should look at the future and groom the incumbent, young Jos Buttler. But, no more chances for CK please. He has been as much a failure as Prior in ODIs. In 6 ODIs, Jos' record is shabby but he always came in with quick runs needed in the last few overs. Let's give him another year and then judge him.

  • rkp on April 4, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    I can't believe that Prior is not the squad. playng 5 ODIs is hardly going to make someone tiring, esp. if he is playing the IPL. His ODI stats does not reflect his current form. He is also an excellent keeper. I think the Eng selectors made a big mistake in not choosing him and most likely repent for this.

    Also, the selectors should look at what happened to the Eng test performance due to long rest to the players. After the India series, most of the first XI team didn't play in the ODI and as a result were out of valuable practice before the NZ tests. The result (0-0) showed that.

  • Dean on April 4, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Kieswetter has been pretty much lambasted on these pages in recent times & Prior's record is worse than his, so for me there's no real argument regarding Prior being picked for ODI's. It's also a huge plus that it gives him rest inbetween test matches where once again he just proved what a valuable player he is for us.

  • John on April 4, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    @Dark_Harlequin on (April 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT) For me - as a Somerset fan - I'm not too unhappy when Jos or Craig are omitted during CC season as they are good performers for Somerset in shorter formats.Folk boo about Prior not being in the squad and about Craig being in the squad but as someone else pointed out Craig's stats are better than Matt's for Eng in shorter formats and as you said and I have said before re Matt - even if he was there he'd be rested half the time. I think they may even have told Matt it was a workload thing but IMO , I don't think he's really cut it in the shorter fmts for Eng. I'd say Craig prob will miss out. Jos is not the number 1 and they can have Jonny as a back up. Re Jade , I just feel they'll stick with him - just a gut feeling.

  • sam on April 4, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    No need of playing him now, but if England want to win World Cup in 2015 Prior must bat at 6 or 7 and have at least 10 international ODI games as practice.

  • Rob on April 4, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Dernbach and Kieswetter are very fortunate indeed to even be in a 30 man squad. Surely there are other more promising players out there ?