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Taylor has to settle for performance place

George Dobell

September 18, 2012

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

James Taylor pulls during his gutsy innings, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day, August 4, 2012
James Taylor played a battling innings on his Test debut at Headingley © Getty Images
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James Taylor must console himself with a place on the England Performance Programme having been omitted from the Test squad to tour India.

The 22-year-old Taylor played in the final two Tests of the series against South Africa, making 34 at Leeds, where he added 147 with Kevin Pietersen, and 10 and 4 at Lord's, where he was run out in the second innings. While he did not enjoy a prolific first season in Division One of the County Championship - he averaged 35.45 for Nottinghamshire in 2012 - he has a good reputation as a player of spin bowling and might have been seen as the man in possession. Instead two men without Test caps, Joe Root and Nick Compton, have been preferred in the Test squad.

Taylor is in pole position should England require a replacement, however. The Performance squad will also travel to India in mid-November so will be on hand if any member of the full squad suffers injury or illness. Ian Bell is expected to miss the second Test of the series in order to attend the birth of his first child.

There is no place in either squad for Ravi Bopara. He has struggled to recover any semblance of form and confidence since declaring himself unavailable for the second Test against South Africa due to personal problems. It may be wrong to read too much into that, though, as Chris Woakes and James Tredwell have also been excluded from both squads. Steven Davies, who has been the reserve Test wicketkeeper for the last few years, also finds himself out of both squads having lost his form and his Surrey place towards the end of the season.

There is better news for 19-year-old Ben Foakes. The Essex wicketkeeper has played only five first-class games, but has impressed with both his batting and his glovework for England Under-19 and has been promoted above a host of rivals into the England set-up. Gary Ballance, Zimbabwe born and the nephew of Dave Houghton, is also included in an England squad for the first time having only recently qualified. Ballance represented Zimbabwe in the U19 World Cup in 2006. Two other wicketkeepers, Jos Buttler and Craig Kieswetter, have also been named in the squad.

There are call-ups, too, for Chris Wright and Toby Roland-Jones, two seamers who enjoyed good county seasons, while Azeem Rafiq is one of four spinners, alongside Scott Borthwick, Danny Briggs, who claimed only five Championship wickets in 2012, and Simon Kerrigan. Varun Chopra has been rewarded for his consistency with Warwickshire over the last couple of years and is the only specialist opening batsman in the squad.

Meanwhile Leicestershire's Josh Cobb has been named as England captain for the Hong Kong Sixes. Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire are the only three counties without representation in any of the squads named on Monday.

England Performance squad Jos Buttler (Somerset), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Matthew Coles (Kent), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Ben Foakes (Essex), James Harris (Glamorgan), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Azeem Rafiq (Yorkshire), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Chris Wright (Warwickshire)

Hong Kong Sixes squad Josh Cobb (capt, Leicestershire), Adam Ball (Kent), Keith Barker (Warwickshire), Ben Brown (Sussex), Chris Nash (Sussex), Tom Smith (Lancashire), Ross Whiteley (Derbyshire)

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by baghels.a on (September 20, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

Although i share sentiments echoed regarding the omission of woakes but selection of Ben Foakes is inspired one ,i watched him in u-19 WC and beleive me he is seriously good.

Posted by thebolivian on (September 20, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Woakes I'd assume is being rested. He's played a lot of cricket over the last few years and he's apparently competely knackered. He needs a few months rest. The Lions go to Aus in February 2013 so good chance he goes on that.

Posted by JG2704 on (September 20, 2012, 0:03 GMT)

I'm sure there are quite a few absentees whic probably should be here. I'm wondering if there are other plans re Woakes? If not this seems absolutely astonishing

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

No Woakes, Bopara, Tredwell, strange, Barker not selected strange. Danny Briggs selected, barely taken a wicket or hampshire in 1st class cricket, strange. Morgan in test squad, never scored in runs in the longer formats, strange.

Players supposedly picked on performance for the counties, certainly not the case here.

Posted by Kidderwolf on (September 19, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

Regarding Davies; he has lost his form after the tragic death of a team mate, surely therefore he is the kind of player these Performance squads should be looking after. If he has been good enough to be reserve keeper since 2009, then surely England should take him under their wing at times like these to help him through his current temporary problems?

Posted by FreddyForPrimeMinister on (September 19, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

Taylor was overlooked in favour of Root and Compton because England need a new opener to replace Strauss, so much as I like JT, there's sense in that selection. What concerns me is why Woakes isn't in the Performance Squad. I'm a Lancs, not Warks fan, yet you only have to look at Woakes averages with bat and ball, along with his consistency when fit, to realize the lad is a little bit special. He may indeed be a touch green to go with main squad to India but surely he should be inked in for the Performance team - especially as it will give him experience now of playing in the sub-continent. Baffling...

Posted by RodStark on (September 19, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

Does anyone (including the selectors) have any idea what the "performance squad" is supposed to mean? Certainly not those next in line (no Tredwell); certainly not future test players (Buttler?). Future ODI players perhaps? Names pulled out of a hat?

Posted by SDHM on (September 18, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

@Rowdy - As I said on my post to landl, the Woakes omission is strange. Davies however has had a shocking season, so I'm not entirely surprised to see him out of the loop.

Posted by SDHM on (September 18, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

landl - agree. I get the feeling what you suggest is the case though; strength and conditioning work for most of the winter. He's a much better bowler in the longer format than he is in limited overs cricket (a quick glance at his records will tell you this), so I'd be tempted to get him into the Test squads as soon as possible in all honesty. A better long term bet than Bresnan. Otherwise I actually prefer the look of this squad than the main one! The bowling especially looks great; Roland-Jones, Meaker, Wright and Rafiq in particular I'll be keeping tabs on.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (September 18, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

Again logic and right thinking are missing from this selection. I agree with the shock over Woakes-surely the future of England as an a/r. Is it not telling that Briggs, who really is not the right sort of bowler for me only took 5 f/c wickets.l Briggs is a spinless wonder- okay to tie down an end in one dayers/ t20 but not a serious attacking bowler. i prefer his team mate, Dawson who though erratic can rip a few or even bowl the Warne ball. Bopara should have gone as captain. A place should have been found for Bates too, as he has great talent. i would also take rashid on these tours and let him gain his confidence again-surely as soon as we have leggies challenging the better, and something tells me he is a better long term bet than Borthwick. One would hope down the line that the more attacking players would go furthest but I suspect the opposite is true as grey seems to be the default tone for England these days.

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