The Ashes 2013-14

Robson included in performance squad

Alex Winter

September 23, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

England appear to have won the battle over Sam Robson, the Middlesex batsman, by including him in the Performance Programme squad to tour Australia.

Robson, born in Sydney, qualified for England earlier this season having played for Middlesex since 2009. Australia responded by relaxing their own qualification regulations - dubbed the "Robson rule" - allowing dual-nationals to appear as a domestic-qualified player in more than one country.

The change prevented Robson from having to choose between Middlesex and New South Wales and making an immediate decision on his international future but England have struck a significant blow in including him among their back-up party. Robson is the second-highest runscorer in Division One of the County Championship this season with 1,180 runs at 47.20.

Sam Robson fell just after tea, Middlesex v Surrey, County Championship, Division One, Lord's, 2nd day, May, 3, 2013
Sam Robson's international loyalty is up for debate © Getty Images

Also selected in the performance squad are several players who have regularly appeared for England Lions, among them Worcestershire's Moeen Ali, who has scored more runs than anyone in the County Championship this season, and Chris Jordan who appeared for England in the recently-concluded one-day series against Australia.

Two omissions from the performance squad are Nick Compton, who began the season opening the batting against New Zealand and James Taylor, the spare batsman for the Ashes. Neither will have a chance to impress in Australian conditions are now further away from the Test side than at the start of the season. But this party is not a reserve squad per se, unlike the group that shadowed the Test squad in 2010-11. England Lions are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka in January,

Along with Robson, Mark Wood, the 23-year-old Durham bowler, is the other player selected in an England squad for the first time. Wood is a highly thought-of right-arm seamer and took 27 wickets at 24.07 in helping Durham win the County Championship. He and Somerset's Jamie Overton won't travel to Australia but will remain at Loughborough for strength and conditioning work.

The entire squad will meet up in Loughborough for a preparation period before leaving for Australia on Novemeber 14. They will spend a month initially in Brisbane at the Cricket Australia high performance centre and then at the University of Western Australia in Perth. The tour includes two three-day matches in Brisbane and a final match in Perth.

England Performance Squad
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Ben Foakes (Essex), James Harris (Middlesex), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Tymal Mills (Essex), Jamie Overton* (Somerset), Sam Robson (Middlesex), Reece Topley (Essex), James Vince (Hampshire), David Willey (Northamptonshire), Mark Wood* (Durham)

*To remain in the UK and specialise in strength and conditioning at the National Cricket Performance Centre

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by SDHM on (September 29, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

@Tim Foster - think it might have been the other way round. Because he was playing in the UK on a British passport he would have been considered an overseas if he went back to Australia, hence the 'Robson Rule'. Personally think he's made the braver decision - he'd walk into the Aussie side tomorrow, but there's going to be a hell of a lot of competition for places over the next few years for batting spots at the top of the order for England, with Cook, Root, Carberry, Compton, Robson, Lees, Chopra, Burns, Wells, Sibley...

Posted by   on (September 24, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

@Sir Francis, he's apparently been offered contracts to play in the Sheffield Shield in the past but had he taken the offer he'd have had to play for Middlesex as an overseas player making it harder for himself to ensure a contract. CA have changed the rules as of this season meaning he wouldn't have to choose, however it looks as though it's too late.

Posted by enjoythegame on (September 24, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

I too was unsure why woakes has not been named in either squad. If as stated below that he has signed a contract to play in SA then the question is WHY? I believe he has been signed on an England contract and as such funded by the ECB. How much money do we have? As woakes is certainly not a regular and we are sending players off to Australia should we not therefore be working on their personal development under the watchful eyes and guidance of our coaches?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 24, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Touring is about much more than playing cricket. There are a number of players in this Performance Squad about whom the England set-up knows little. How they gel, how each player behaves outside the strictly cricketing environment as well as within it, will provide pointers to the likelihood of eventual selection of some at a higher level. A lot of people are often at a loss to explain why X is chosen over Y for England international recognition, especially (emphasis on 'especially') for a fairly lengthy tour. I would suggest that this is very often down to some perceived qualities beyond an exclusive focus on technique & talent. A decent work ethic, humour, sociability, being supportive towards other team members (even when you haven't been selected on a particular occasion) all must play a part. Who has these & who does not will be part of the report on the success of the venture. Cricket is a team game & the one quality that management really appreciates is 'low maintenance'.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (September 24, 2013, 1:34 GMT)

Mystified by this talk about Robson. He's played plenty of Grade cricket in Sydney without ever eliciting even the slightest interest from the selectors of any of the Shield teams. Doesn't mean he isn't any good, just that he hasn't impressed anyone. As for CA relaxing it's rules well, CA aren't exactly the smartest sporting officials in Australia (not that I know any that are).

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (September 24, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

@ JG2704 - Woakes signed a contract to play in SA over the winter. As for Taylor and Compton, yes probably the door is closing on them. Not a lot of new names there and this is a pretty experienced Lions squad. Hoping to see a good showing from some of the younger ones like Topley and Lees.

Posted by Bearded_Lefty on (September 23, 2013, 22:38 GMT)

Great to see 3 Essex players in there.

Posted by Chris_P on (September 23, 2013, 22:20 GMT)

@landl47. From what I have studied I agree Chopra seemed a little unfortunate. Robson has had a very good season with his county, but the thing at the back of my mind was his struggles on our pitches when he was here. he wasn't even scoring runs in Sydney Grade cricket where many other batsmen were selected ahead of him for NSW. The absence of batting on our tracks for a few years may or may not have helped, but he only has to ask his dad for advice. He was a fine, solid batsmen & unfortunately around when batting riches were overflowing in NSW when they had Walters, McCosker, Ian Davis, Border, Toohey etc. around in front of him.

Posted by SDHM on (September 23, 2013, 21:37 GMT)

@JG - worth pointing out the EPP is different to the Lions. Miller said earlier this is more about giving players who have yet to do much touring experience, whilst also getting them into the set-up, rather than it being a genuine second string. The Lions tour Sri Lanka after the new year, would expect to see the likes of Woakes & Taylor in there.

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