England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 February 28, 2012

Patel and Tredwell in for Sri Lanka

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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

  • JG2704 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?

  • JG2704 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?

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • zenboomerang 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...

  • JG2704 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.

  • JG2704 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

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • zenboomerang 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...

  • JG2704 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?

  • JG2704 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?

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • zenboomerang 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...

  • JG2704 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.

  • JG2704 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

  • CricketingStargazer 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.

  • zenboomerang 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...

  • zenboomerang on March 1, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    @RoJayao @all Galle comments... When Oz played last year it wasn't a raging turner - just a pitch with a bit of life in it... 13 of 19 wkts went to pace bowling by Oz - 9 in the 2nd innings... lol... Oz would have won 2nd Test except for rain & again our pace attack took most of the wkts... Both the 2nd & 3rd Test pitches were flat & dry - not alot for the spinners & were belters.... If you don't get runs look at your batsmen...

  • sk12 on February 29, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    @Rahul_78 - Patel and Tredwell are just backups, no way Eng would play more than 2 spinners in a match. Their bowling is no problem, but I would be really interested to see how the batsmen fare against Herath and co. Probably Eng can replace Monty with Samit just to strengthen the batting? As an Indian fan, would love SL to take the series and soften up Eng and create doubts ahead of their tour to India - but this would need a hell of a performance from SL to do so.

  • Herath-UK on February 29, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    England lions had a real good tour recently against Sri Lanka A and I thought there would be an attempt to introduce young blood here in the squad of 16.Sri Lanka seem to be on a high since change of captain and coach. and I'm looking forward to an interesting contest. Ranil Herath_Kent

  • Sinhaya on February 29, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Hope Sri Lankan spinners will do well against the English batting. Sachithra Senanayake will definitely rock because his local average is well below 21. Just cant wait till the Galle test starts.

  • on February 29, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    OK, you do whatever you want. Meantime, Sri Lanka will be ready well under Mahela and England will eventually loss the series by 1-0 if not 2-0. However, pitches should be spin friendly for that matter. Last time when Australia visited there, except one game pitches were not spin friendly, thats why Australia won the series by 1-0 (however, they won the spin friendly match). But we all know Australia is a better team than England when it comes to play spin bowling. Probably under Mehela captaincy, Sri Lanka will be better prepared and win the series, that would be a huge confidence for them after lossing every series under Dilshan's captaincy. Good luck Sri Lanka !

  • JG2704 on February 29, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    This looks a fair enough squad to me.As Nutclet says I don't think Bairstow is ready and Buttler def isn't and I'm pleased that the selectors haven't made a kneejerk selection based on one (out of 3) decent performance in the T20s.Morgan came in on the back of his T20 and OD form - his county 4 day average isn't brilliant-+ I think he'd have done better if he played more his OD game in the test series in Pak.Still worry about Bell as I see him as a confidence player and right now it's gone.My 11 for the 1st test would depend on conditions but would be Strauss,Cook,Trott,KP,Prior, Patel,Broad,Swann,Anderson,Monty.5th specialist bowler either Finn,Tredwell or Bres dep on conditions.

  • MrBrightside92 on February 29, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    Mistake - yeah Tredwell is cover for Swann not Monty (Opps...), anyway, good constructive point Rahul_78, playing 3 spinners...but I think Samit would be better at 6/7 (Prior 6/7) than Bopara because Patel is more attacking. Prior was our best test batsman in UAE and Broad had some success by being attacking..Bopara will go into his shell but he's no Trott/Cook...and he'll be coming in at 6...we need to attack this vulnerable bowling line up..it's about runs...plus if it's a raging turner in at least one of the venues you have three spinners. Patel doesn't have that mental doubt in ability that Ravi has...he's just a bit tubby...if Eng bat well they should win...fundamental, obvious...but true

  • CricketingStargazer on February 29, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @landl, I find it hard to see us going in with 2 seamers and 3 spinners (it was briefly contemplated in the 2004 Sri Lanka Tests and rejected), although we went in to a Trinidad Test in 1974 with 4 (!!) spinners with Tony Greig sharing the new ball with Geoff Arnold before reverting to off-spin for the rest of the innings (he took 13 wickets in the Test). KP can bowl a few overs and should be encouraged to do so. I do like the 3/2 combination, provided that we can avoid the "6 out, all out" tail of the past. The 5th bowler has to be able to bowl 10 reasonable economical overs in a day and take the odd wicket and needs to look the part with the bat. KP right now probably cannot bowl 10 overs in a day (or, at least, we hope that he won't), Ravi Bopara would be very marginal and I am far from convinced that Samit Patel would for now. A lot will depend on the pitches. For now, Bopara is probably ahead (lots of comments that he can reverse it) unless the pitches look like dust bowls.

  • Rahul_78 on February 29, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    No doubt England is a top test side and deserving no 1 team even though they slumped to 3-0 defeat against Pakistan. But they should stick to their strength and what worked best for them so far. Even against Pakistan their bowlers were outstanding and always managed to restrict pak batsmen to manageable scores. Going with spin heavy side consisting of Monty,Swann and Patel against Srilanka is quite risky who apart from India are best players of spin bowling in the world. India tried to go in with so called 4 quick's in Perth and got a hiding in OZ. England will do well to stick to their successful formula of 2 spinners and 2 quick's and Bopara in place of Morgan in Lanka.

  • jmcilhinney on February 29, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    @Nicholas_Clarke, I wasn't aware that Taylor or Woakes bowled spin, and that's why Patel and Tredwell are there. I would like to see more of Woakes too and I do see Taylor pushing ahead of Bopara and Morgan and the like some time soon, but I can see the logic of Patel and Tredwell in this cenario, i.e. Patel can bat if needed and he's cover for Monty while Tredwell is cover for Swann and he already has plenty of experience and won't need to learn on the job like a young spinner would.

  • Mooky on February 29, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    No problems with any of this, look a good squad suited for Sub Continant conditions I would go with 3 quicks (Brenson as 3rd) and 2 spinners With Brenson, Broard and Swann in the bowling unit, you are not weakening the batting, Finn as cover an excellent cover, just like Brenson was in Australia

  • satish619chandar on February 29, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    Bopara to take the no.6 slot? Patel should be a good option with his all round abilities but i hope he don't take Monty's place as Monty proved to be the best spinner in UAE tour.. Or they can try Bresnan at 7a nd Prior at 6 to strengthen the bowling a bit more.. With Broad and Swann capable of batting, they can afford to drop a batsman and include a all rounder in Bresnan..

  • Nicholas_Clarke on February 28, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    It's disappointing that the selectors decided to go with Patel and Tredwell instead of James Taylor and Chris Woakes. The later two have a big role in the future of English cricket and should be brought into the Test team as soon as possible. Not to knock Patel and Bopara, who are decent enough, but the other two are more deserving.

  • Patchmaster on February 28, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    @ Jonesy - your usual 'ENG humiliated by AUS' is not only untrue (we thrashed AUS in the last TWO Ashes series', but it's dull make. Put a cork it it eh ?

  • AlanHarrison on February 28, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    I've no complaints about Morgan being dropped, and nor can he have any. England should have been more ruthless at times with their top 5-6 over the last few years. But there's still a sense that Morgan is being dropped in part for other people's failures. If Bell and Pietersen had hit a big ton each during the test series in UAE, and England won 2-1, it's very unlikely, given the way that England operate these days, that Morgan would now have dropped. Yet in reality, partly because Bell and KP actually did worse than Morgan in that test series, the likes of Henry Blofeld, who should know better, assert that Morgan "does not look like a test cricketer", and the pressure builds until Morgan is dropped. Morgan was the same player last summer - his test average has not significantly gone down since then - but England were winning, so almost noone then was saying that he "does not look like a test cricketer". Also I have to say that Morgan's recent test record is better than Strauss' ...

  • JG2704 on February 28, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    @landl47 on (February 28 2012, 17:10 PM GMT) Also they should assess Bell too. Bell looked thee worst of our batsmen in the Pak test series. If he still looks shot in the warm up matches etc then they could be doing the team and possibly the man himself more harm than good by continuing to pick him. I still maintain they should have tried a 5 man bowling attack in Pakistan and they should try it in the 1st match vs SL if Bell doesn't regain his form. Another reason for my thinking (in the Pak series) is that it's easier for a bowler to come into a strong performing bowling unit as it is for a batsman to come into a frail batting unit

  • JG2704 on February 28, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    @ CricketingStargazer on (February 28 2012, 14:42 PM GMT) Obviously the selectors are a law to themselves and seemed scared to change anything re batsmen/formation but IMO Patel should be in with a shout of playing. They have to replace Morgan and to me it seems like a 2 man fight between Ravi and Patel. Personally I'd go for Patel. I just get the impression that Ravi is the sort of guy who will be found wanting when the going gets tough and that Patel has a better temperament. If Patel does come in it would be as a batting all rounder rather than a bowling all rounder. You say about the possibility of Broad and Anderson pulling up and not having a 3rd seamer.That was one of my reasons for having a 5 man bowling attack inc Finn vs Pak but selectors changed FA. Hope it never happens but it would serve them right for short sightedness if it did.

  • CricketingStargazer on February 28, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @Front-foot-lunge & @Crisu, I think that he is referring to the humiliation of actually losing a Test to Australia in that series. For one Test we made Mitch Johnson look like a world-beater... :-(

  • on February 28, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    DROP MORGAN AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!!!!!!

  • 200ondebut on February 28, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    No real surprises here - Morgan has had 16 tests to stake a claim but hasn't performed well enough to make the place his own. Time for someone else to be given a go. Glad with the two options of Bopara and Patel - as they both give bowling options.

  • landl47 on February 28, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    This is pretty much the squad I was expecting, though I'm surprised they are taking 16 players. With only 4 games to be played, and the need for those who will be in the test side to get as much practice as possible, surely 14 would have been enough? Two or three of this squad aren't going to get a game at all unless someone is injured or ill. It's hard to see where Bresnan fits in unless England play 4 seamers, Tredwell is surely only there to provide cover in case England want to play 3 spinners and one of the others can't play and Davies is in the role of reserve W/K, unlikely to play on a 4-game tour. There are really only two places up for grabs- Patel/Bopara as the last batsman and extra bowler and Finn/Panesar depending on whether England go in with 3 seamers or 2 spinners. Unless the pitches are really rank turners (like the one Nathan Lyon was so fortunate to encounter on his debut) I'd expect three seamers, which would give the advantage for the last batting spot to Patel.

  • simon_w on February 28, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    @jackiethepen -- I think probably "Patel" is a mistake for "Prior" in that sentence (unless they are making Patel do extra work that the others). There are options in this squad, which is exciting, and I'm really pleased to see Samit called up. I don't have a huge amount of confidence in Bopara in Sri Lanka, so I would be playing Patel or Bresnan in my first choice XI, but I expect Bopara to get the nod, and I hope he confounds my expectation. He probably will :)

  • Tlotoxl on February 28, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    @ozzbozz: Bopara is a lot better now than he was then and no Vaas, Murali or Malinga will be a huge difference in quality. Personally I am more intreaged in where/if Patel will fit in? will there be 6 batsmen or 5? which fast bowler will make way for Panesar if we go 2 spinners?

    I'm guessing Bopara, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson Panesar as the 6-11 with Bopara, KP and Trott filling in bowling as necessary.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on February 28, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    @jonesy2 'Ol Boy, I'm so sorry to have to refresh your memory but last Summer England thrashed Australia in Australia, and no one would even begin to question who the better team is.

    As I said, so sorry about having to point the obvious.

  • chrisu on February 28, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    RE jonsey2 who seems to have a rather strange case of selective amnesia. I can remember Ravi Bopra scoring 3 consecutive test centuries for England but I can`t remember England being humilated in Test cricket in Australia last summer. maybe he is thinking of rugby but that was in New Zealand.

  • SDHM on February 28, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    Erebus - is it really the place to throw a young spinner in though? It needs someone with a cool head and who knows their game inside out as opposed to a youngster still learning the ropes. Tredwell is not a long term option, but as back-up he won't let anyone down. Having said that, Sri Lanka made Nathan Lyon look like Saeed Ajmal when the ball started turning in Galle, so maybe getting one of the younger players in wasn't such a bad move (although I can't think they'd play that badly again to be fair). I don't agree that England need to play five specialist bowlers to be competitive - the bowling wasn't the problem against Pakistan, so why weaken the batting when it looked shaky in the UAE?

  • on February 28, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    I think this a good squad selection by England. Firstly, it is no surprise that Morgan has been dropped. Despite the fact he has two test hundreds to his name he has never looked secure in the test team. After his bad form in the Pakistan tests, there was a chance he could have redeemed himself in the tests if he did a Pietersen and returned to form in the ODIs. But his torrid time continued there so i dont think the management had much choice. In regards to the rest of the squad, they have certainly given themselves plenty of options to play with. Hypothetically, England could easily go with 5 bowlers and still maintain a strong batting line up. However, i think they will persist with the four man attack with two spinners as it has continued to work.

  • Robster1 on February 28, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    Not surprised to see Morgan get the chop, but unlike South Africa or Australia, England do consistently seem to have a problem blooding young players of real promise. In the southern hemisphere it wouldn't be Bopara getting yet another chance (I for one don't think that he'll ever make a it as a test batsman) but James Taylor.

  • CricketingStargazer on February 28, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Some interesting thought but, realistically, Samit Patel's only chance of playing a Test is if England choose to go with 2 seamers and 3 spinners in a Test. He isn't going to play ahead of Swann or Monty, is he??? Just to remind you, in the ODIs in India he batted well, but was only threatening to his own boundary fielders with the ball. The 2 seamer/3 spinner option could backfire horribly if Broad or Anderson pulls a muscle in the first half hour of a Test, with no one else in the side who could be a remotely serious emergency seamer! Can you imagine Bell or Trott taking the new ball?

  • HankasHarry on February 28, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Oh dear. England are struggling to find a set combination for the test side. Is KP going to stay in the test squad based on his T20 & ODI form? I hope that Eng bring in Finn for Anderson, as experience alone does not buy you wickets, especially after the test-hammering at the hands of Pak in the UAE. I don't know what series is playing the strongest on England's minds - whether SL, or the upcoming hosting of SAF, or retaining the Ashes. IMO Eng look wobbly. Cook, Trott, Strauss, Prior, Broad & Monty seem to be the main cog for the test team, who have shown they can perform on the subcontinent. Throw in Finn (as speed gets you wickets on any surface) as pace option & you have a plattform of 7 players who can chess it out. If this will be enough to face up to SAF & Aus...who knows?

  • CricketingStargazer on February 28, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    The selectors have reasoned in a very calculating manner. They have obviously decided that an extra batsman like Bairstow would not have much of a chance of any cricket at all, but that by having 4 spinners available they can subject their own batsmen to a spin barrage in the nets to prepare them. It is unlikely that Patel or Tredwell will play, but they will have a major role preparing the players who are in the side. For a 2-Test series the series the selectors will know who their XII is now: the last place will be down to their assessment of the pitch. I can see two of the spinners bowling a huge number of overs in the nets, day in, day out.

  • charlesandrewbudge on February 28, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    @jonesy2 - The chances of Tredwell actually playing a test on this tour are slim to none. He's cover for Swann, nothing more. Having said that, I would've rather seen a younger spin prospect or another seamer, either Onions or Woakes, included. I'd love to see Samit Patel get a chance ahead of Bopara, although it's a bit much calling him the worst batsman in test history.

  • Juiceoftheapple on February 28, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    With all due respect, I think most people are missing the point that Tredwell is unlikely to get a game, and all the younger players (batsman and spinners) should and are going home to prepare for the county season which involves a very heavy load of 4 day matches early in the season. Theres no point in them being net spinners to the England batsman when there are important competitive 4 day matches at home where they are all key players. Good work Flower.

  • on February 28, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    Onions!! Come on the lad has done nothing wrong. He should be included as he is totally different to everyone in the fast bowling department due to his line. And he is very good bowler, just unlucky with the injury.

  • on February 28, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    would love to watch the show....sri lanka is not the same team without murali still they have a handful of spinners who can make english dance

  • Guernica on February 28, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    @Jonesy - I think you're getting Bopara mixed up with Phillip Hughes

  • RoJayao on February 28, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    Better get set to play all four spinners in Galle England, the pitch is very likely going to be a raging turner, unless they got into trouble for the disgrace presented for the Australian game last year!

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on February 28, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    4 spinners seems excessive and have always seen Tredwell as a ODI rather than Test bowler. Can remember being told on here when Australia won in SL in August that it was against a poor team so meaningless so looking forward to a couple of innings victories by the World's no1 team.

  • Guernica on February 28, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    I don't know about that @Paul-Rone Clarke. When Australia toured last year, the pitches weren't as slow and spin-friendly as everyone expected. Pace bowlers on both sides took a load of wickets. Surprised at Tredwell, like many are - there a lot of decent young spinners around.

  • MrBrightside92 on February 28, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    a) Bopara was already in the test squad, b) it's not a long tour (2 warm up games and 2 test matches) and c) Tredwell is cover for Monty, so he's doubtful to get a game, you might as well pick Boycott's nan! Hope Samit gets the nod over Bopara, Ravi's had chances, Samit (if fit) should be given one now. If he can prove as a batsman (Prior at 6) then for non Asian conditions we'll have two spinners (still don't know what happened to KP's bowling - was tempted to bowl him in the last T20 ahead of Finn...but what do I know?)

  • on February 28, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    @jonesy2, is that tredwell that was part of england's humiliation in australia last summer?

    Was that the tour where England won the Ashes? sorry retained the Ashes?

  • o-bomb on February 28, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    @jonesy2 yes it was humiliating to only win 3 tests by an innings wasn't it. How poor we were last winter! Almost as poor as your memory.

  • o-bomb on February 28, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    In my opinion it was well past time for Morgan to have a rest. It's possibly a shame that Bopara is the only credible backup, but he seemed to play spin quite well in the Pakistan ODIs. I like that we've got 2 backup spinners going too. It wouldn't have made sense to bring in Patel had Swann got injured, so to have another off spinner is a good call.

  • maddy20 on February 28, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Picking a spinner who averages close to 35 in FC cricket may not bode for England, regardless of how bad the Lankans are.

  • Herbet on February 28, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Morgan has proved last summer that he has not got the technique to play quick bowling against test fields, and that was against India's "worst bowling attack of all time" when everyone else was filling their boots. These sub-continental tours were supposed to be his chance to show how good he was against spin, with his quick footwork and improvisation. Seen as he has failed there too, you would have to expect that he will now be a limited overs specialist only. Would have preferred to have seen Taylor selected, rather than Bopara.

  • Rajit on February 28, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    Noteworthy here is the preparation time England has.With first test starting on 26th March,entire squad will be in SL by 10th giving more than two weeks to acclimatized.Just goes to show the importance that ECB gives to important test series.BCCI? Anyone listening?

  • Herbet on February 28, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    Bopara, the media love child, how many chances is he going to get to prove he is not a top class batsmen? Too many I would suggest.

  • on February 28, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    I fully expect fitness permitting for England to play five bowlers in both tests and that the preferred side will be:

    Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson and Panesar.

    If Bell fails again, I would give Patel a first cap for the second test. Glad to see Tredwell in the squad - good team man and wholeheartedly in all he does.

  • Long-Leg on February 28, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Fairly conservative selections if you ask me. Much has been made about England's batting improving as the tour in UAE progressed. I am not so sure. I didn't see much improvement in Strauss and Bell and I have never felt that Bopara is really test standard. Bairstow is a little unlucky not to be picked. Would like to see Finn get a start in the tests ahead of Bresnan.

  • on February 28, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    I used to be a Morgan fan, but this was before he started this silly squatting down on his haunches before every shot. I don't know how this would give him more time to play a shot, or why he wasn't coached out of this bad and ugly habit!

    I'd still like to see him on the one-day or T20 setup if he can return to the style and form of a couple of years ago, but he was never a test batsman.

  • Ozzbozz on February 28, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Oh dear, Bopara will be best pleased after finally replacing the non test batsman Morgan, not. Bopara had a wretched time the last time he faced Sri Lanka and I doubt it'll be any better this time round. Also Treadwell is abetter spinner in the long form than Samit but a batsman light for a long tour, Bairstow definately should have been there.

  • Nutcutlet on February 28, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    This touring party, as you'd expect from the selectors, is the product of clear and realistic thinking. Continuity is the hallmark of England teams & squads these days - and this mini-tour is all about restoring England's winning ways in the two Tests, albeit in hot & tricky conditions. It is a tour for seasoned professionals like no other. Morgan has run out of chances at the highest level and the youngsters like Bairstow, Buttler & Taylor are not yet ready for the literal cauldrons of Columbo & Galle. Eng. debuts should ideally be reserved for more temperate climes! Brief though it is - it is highly relevant to the Indian tour selection in the autumn. Cook could well be captain for that if Strauss fails to impress with the bat here. The #6 berth is the most fascinating and whether it'll be Bopara or Patel may well boil down to who wants it more. I'd advise Patel to work on his fitness like a man possessed, for his is the greater talent, IMO.

  • jackiethepen on February 28, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Surely Prior will be joining Strauss and Bell in the advance party? He has played no role in the T20s and ODIs and lacks match practice as well.

  • on February 28, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Great to see Samit Patel in the Test squad

  • on February 28, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    Good selections. Morgan needs pace and bounce for his flips and paddles to work, he needs to work on his "orthodox" game a little. Good to see England realizing they need to play a little bit "horses for courses" 2 spinners in every test in SL is an absolute must.

  • jonesy2 on February 28, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    haha oh my goodness bopara the worst batsman in test history is back in englands squad! again, how have they gone so far backwards so quickly?

  • jonesy2 on February 28, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    haha what? is that tredwell that was part of england's humiliation in australia last summer? how have england gone backwards so quickly!? amazing stuff

  • on February 28, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Interesting selection, I've seen Tredwell a number of times in county cricket, while watching Warwickshire, he never appears outwardly threatening but does turn the ball and takes wickets. I also think that it might have been a good idea to pick another batman, to which end, Jonny Bairstow is extremely unlucky not to be on the tour. There is little doubt however, that before long he will be a regular in the England middle order.

  • Erebus26 on February 28, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    I understand Samit Patel's recall. He's put in some useful performances for the one day side and his useful left-arm spin provides England with an extra bowling option. Tredwell's is harder to fathom. He's not a bad player but it slaps of conservatism from the England selectors. It would've been a great opportunity for England to have taken along one of the younger spin bowlers to provide them with experience of being around the senior squad. Bowlers like Briggs, Borthwick and Kerrigan all played on the subcontinent recently with the Lions team and would have some knowledge of the conditions in Sri Lanka.

  • on February 28, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    Interesting. Would have liked the selectors to taken another specialist batsman rather than count on versatility and strength in tail from the likes of Patel, Newsman and Broad. Happy to see Steven Davies in the squad, solid gloveman and proved to be a key run scorer for Surrey last year.

  • Tigg on February 28, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Stauss, Cook, Trott, KP, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Panesar has to be our most competitive XI. Bopara is next in line, with Finn, Patel, Davies and Tredwell as backups. I'm pleased Tredwell is included again, he's an excellent spinner (far better than Patel) and is a sign that two spinners is going to be the plan in Sri lanka.

  • big_al_81 on February 28, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    I'd like the balance of the side better for Sri Lankan conditions if we included Bresnan or Patel. If Patel were the choice I don't think he'd go in ahead of Prior though - Prior is a better batsman than Patel (or Morgan for that matter). I'd like to see Ravi get a go but there will always be tough choices to make so I'm not convinced he'll be in for the 1st Test - if Bell (or even KP's!) Asian Test form doesn't improve I'd be tempted to bring him in for the second test - funny little series though - hard to get momentum going.

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  • big_al_81 on February 28, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    I'd like the balance of the side better for Sri Lankan conditions if we included Bresnan or Patel. If Patel were the choice I don't think he'd go in ahead of Prior though - Prior is a better batsman than Patel (or Morgan for that matter). I'd like to see Ravi get a go but there will always be tough choices to make so I'm not convinced he'll be in for the 1st Test - if Bell (or even KP's!) Asian Test form doesn't improve I'd be tempted to bring him in for the second test - funny little series though - hard to get momentum going.

  • Tigg on February 28, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Stauss, Cook, Trott, KP, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Panesar has to be our most competitive XI. Bopara is next in line, with Finn, Patel, Davies and Tredwell as backups. I'm pleased Tredwell is included again, he's an excellent spinner (far better than Patel) and is a sign that two spinners is going to be the plan in Sri lanka.

  • on February 28, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    Interesting. Would have liked the selectors to taken another specialist batsman rather than count on versatility and strength in tail from the likes of Patel, Newsman and Broad. Happy to see Steven Davies in the squad, solid gloveman and proved to be a key run scorer for Surrey last year.

  • Erebus26 on February 28, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    I understand Samit Patel's recall. He's put in some useful performances for the one day side and his useful left-arm spin provides England with an extra bowling option. Tredwell's is harder to fathom. He's not a bad player but it slaps of conservatism from the England selectors. It would've been a great opportunity for England to have taken along one of the younger spin bowlers to provide them with experience of being around the senior squad. Bowlers like Briggs, Borthwick and Kerrigan all played on the subcontinent recently with the Lions team and would have some knowledge of the conditions in Sri Lanka.

  • on February 28, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Interesting selection, I've seen Tredwell a number of times in county cricket, while watching Warwickshire, he never appears outwardly threatening but does turn the ball and takes wickets. I also think that it might have been a good idea to pick another batman, to which end, Jonny Bairstow is extremely unlucky not to be on the tour. There is little doubt however, that before long he will be a regular in the England middle order.

  • jonesy2 on February 28, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    haha what? is that tredwell that was part of england's humiliation in australia last summer? how have england gone backwards so quickly!? amazing stuff

  • jonesy2 on February 28, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    haha oh my goodness bopara the worst batsman in test history is back in englands squad! again, how have they gone so far backwards so quickly?

  • on February 28, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    Good selections. Morgan needs pace and bounce for his flips and paddles to work, he needs to work on his "orthodox" game a little. Good to see England realizing they need to play a little bit "horses for courses" 2 spinners in every test in SL is an absolute must.

  • on February 28, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Great to see Samit Patel in the Test squad

  • jackiethepen on February 28, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Surely Prior will be joining Strauss and Bell in the advance party? He has played no role in the T20s and ODIs and lacks match practice as well.