England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 February 28, 2012

Patel and Tredwell in for Sri Lanka


England will take four spinners on tour to Sri Lanka next month after handing a first Test call-up to Samit Patel and giving a surprise recall to Kent offspinner James Tredwell. Eoin Morgan has paid the price for his struggles against Pakistan in the UAE and Patel will offer batting cover as well as a slow-bowling option with his left-arm spin.

Tredwell is the most unexpected selection in the 16-man squad for two Tests in Galle and Colombo starting on March 26. He played his one previous Test against Bangladesh, in Dhaka, in early 2010 where he took match figures of 6 for 181 and hasn't appeared for England since the World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka in Colombo last March. However, his presence means England have cover in both the off-spin and left-arm spin categories should either Graeme Swann or Monty Panesar suffer injury or illness.

Morgan's omission was largely expected after a horrid six weeks in the UAE where he has made 180 runs in 13 international innings across Test, one-day internationals and Twenty20s. He becomes the first England batsman to be dropped from the Test side - as opposed to retiring (Paul Collingwood) or being injured - since Ravi Bopara during the 2009 Ashes series.

It is Bopara who is likely to benefit most from Morgan's absence this time with a chance to resume his Test career after encouraging form in the one-day series against Pakistan. However, he isn't a certainty that he will get his chance with Patel also an option at No. 6 while Tim Bresnan could also be recalled at No. 7 with Matt Prior moving up one place if conditions demand five frontline bowlers.

"We have selected a squad that we feel will be able to make best use of the conditions we are likely to encounter in Sri Lanka," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "There is no doubt that this Test series will be a challenging one but it is exciting that players have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have learnt from the disappointment of the Pakistan Test series and can make further strides in developing the skills needed to succeed on the subcontinent."

Ian Bell, who averaged 8.50 in the three Tests against Pakistan, had enough credit in the bank while Kevin Pietersen was resurgent during the one-day and Twenty20 matches against Pakistan. The other members of the original UAE touring squad to miss out are Chris Tremlett, who is sidelined with a back injury, and Graham Onions. Steven Davies remains as the reserve wicketkeeper despite some thought that Jonny Bairstow may have squeezed into the party.

The squad will depart for Sri Lanka in two lots with an advanced group leaving on March 5 for a training camp under the guidance of Graham Gooch. Bell, Davies, Panesar, Patel, Tredwell and captain Andrew Strauss will fly out on March 5 before being joined by the remaining members on March 10. England have two warm-up matches before the first Test in Galle.

Squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Steven Davies, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, James Tredwell, Monty Panesar

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 2, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer ctd - IMO our best W in last 10-15 yrs + was against Australia in 2005 as Australia still had Warne,Mcgrath,Haydn,Gilchrist ..Look at our team for that series and compare.5 batsmen,a bowling all rounder,a spinner and 3 pacemen.Now why can't we do the same now with the players we have?I'd say our top 5 bm now are on a par with that side.I'd say Flintoff is a slightly better batsman and Broad a slightly better bowler in the AR position. Prior is a better batsman and WK than Jones.Then you have the other 4 bowlers. I'd say our 3 pacers (say SF,JA,TB) are a little better than (SJ,MH,SH) with the ball and similar with the bat.Swann and Giles are similar with bat but Swann's the better bowler.In SL they should go with Monty (IMO in place of TB) which might weaken the batting further but our bowling would be immense.You either go 6/1/4 or 5/1/5 no right or wrong way.I'd say go with your strengths and surely our strength is with our bowling right now so why not try 5/1/5?

  • John on March 2, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer TBH , I don't mind Eng having a lengthy tail with Broad batting at 7. I just feel right now Finn would do alot more damage with the ball than Bopara or Patel or Morgan at 6 with the bat.There are 2 ways at looking at it.You say to Zen than taking 2 batsmen is a waste because they won't play them which is true but to me it gives a kind of message to the batsmen that they will not be dropped no matter what and the bowlers a different message when surely it is the batsmen that need to feel the heat and not the bowlers. My point is why not try a different balance to the team even if it's just for 1 test and have 5 absolutely top quality bowlers and 5 batsmen and Prior rather than 4 top bowlers 4 top batsmen , Prior and 2 batsmen in mediocre form. Also re Strauss/Flower being meticulous in prep - why did Flower then say they did not prepare properly after the Pak whitewash?

  • Mark on March 2, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    JG, a lot depends on whether or not England get to be able to play Stuart Broad as an all-rounder. At present he is a bowler who can bat who has played a single magnificent innings plus some useful ones. In the last 9 Tests in which he has batted he has a 169 and 4x50 in 15 innings, which is getting close to good enough to be considered an all-rounder, but he still averages only 28 overall, which is even fewer than Eoin Morgan and far from good enough to bat at 7. While we still have to play 6 batsmen and Prior at 7, because none of the bowlers is good enough to bat at 7 (and no, Samit Patel has not shown that he is likely to be a front-line bowler at Test level), there will always be a balance issue. As our strength is in seam, we are most likely to play Bopara to spell the quicks, with Finn, Bresnan and Monty fighting over the final bowling place.

  • Mark on March 2, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    JG, fair enough, but you know what I mean. I've seen England play a batsman at 8 who would have been too high in the order batting at 10. Over the last 3 years England have had a happy habit of getting out of trouble time and again because their numbers 8 to 11 have been the most prolific in world cricket. England could have a tail in Sri Lanka that is Broad at 7, followed by Swann, Finn, Anderson and Monty and that is not a comforting thought.

  • Mark on March 2, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    @Zen, I have to say that I agree with you on the mental block. However, Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss are nothing if not meticulous in their preparation and probably mortified that it went wrong for the Pakistan Tests. They know that taking two extra batsmen is a complete waste of time because they won't play and if an injury replacement is needed, they always have the Lions. What they do need is to give the batsmen confidence to play their own game in the conditions. Swann and Monty are not going to bowl 20 overs in the nets at batsmen in the middle of a Test and less still in the hot and humid conditions of Sri Lanka. It's not overkill, it's the two Andy's throwing down a challenge to the batsmen to step up their game or be shown up even in the nets.

  • Roo on March 2, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer... I have no problems with your point - but it still is overkill... Oz went to SL for 3 Tests, 5 ODI's, 2 T20's with 2 specialist spinners & 1 wkt keeper... We won the Test & ODI series... If your 2 best spinners cannot keep your batsmen in form, nothing can... I have enjoyed watching England play for many decades but they seem to have a mental block in subcontinent conditions against spinners - bringing extra spinners only exaggerates this mental "frailty"... Something the coaches & batters need to overcome... Your bowlers can win anywhere - so its up to the batters to break this barrier...

  • John on March 1, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    @zenboomerang - TBH it's only 3 spinners - Patel is more of a batsman that bowls a bit of spin. Re "If you don't get runs look at your batsmen" - unfortunately we did. We looked at the same number 4,5 and 6 for the whole tour because our selectors didn't have the balls to change anything.

  • John on March 1, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (February 29 2012, 07:53 AM GMT) I do like the "provided that we can avoid the "6 out, all out".In Pakistan we'd get 3 wickets down and that was it unless we got some runs from Prior,Broad or Swann.It's ok on paper having a decent batting line up but when in reality it doesn't work surely it should be changed.Anyway Both Bopara and Patel would give a bowling option even if is just a fill in job.I still think they could go for a 5th bowler by either replacing Morgan with a bowler or dropping Bell and bringing in either Bopara/Patel as a batsmen as well.Feel that a team should play to it's strengths.In the ODIs/T20s Pak played with 2 quicks/3 spinners Eng the reverse because Pak have better depth in that dept and Eng better in the pace dept. Can Eng not try to win by bowling a side out cheaper rather than trying to put more runs on the board? Sure it would (on paper) weaken the batting but I believe it will more than compensate with how much it adds to our bowling

  • Mark on March 1, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    Zen, England could have taken 13 or 14 players on this tour. To be honest, they know their Test IXI and are hardly likely to play anyone from outside the XII. What they do need though is to have one spare batsman, one spare bowler and a couple og guys willing to bowl for hours and hours in the nets: that is what Patel and Tredwell are going to do. If the wickets take spin, expect Andy Flower to have the spare spinners bowling endlessly at the top 6 in the nets.

  • Roo on March 1, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Surprised at the Eng squad for the lollypop tour of SL - why the overdose of spinners?... 3 would be too many... Eng must use 3 seamers to have any chance of winning a Test in SL - Bresnan at no.7 if 2 spinners are needed... Prior should bat at no.6 in subcontinent conditions & proved himself in UAE... Oz pace & seamers did the job while the spinners contained well in our 3 Test series in SL - no reason why Eng should not go with strength...

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