The Investec Ashes 2013 July 24, 2013

Taylor given chance against Australians

ESPNcricinfo staff

James Taylor, the Nottinghamshire batsman, has been given the perfect platform to stake his case for selection in the third Investec Test after he was included in the Sussex side to play a three-day match against Australia.

England may have to call on a middle-order batsman for Old Trafford if Kevin Pietersen does not recover from a calf strain that ruled him out of the final two days of the Lord's Test. The third Test begins on August 1.

Taylor's county, Nottinghamshire, have no County Championship fixtures before the third Test so an agreement was reached between the England management and Nottinghamshire to allow Taylor to play for Sussex in the tour match starting on Friday.

"This will provide James with a valuable opportunity to play in a longer format of the game while we consider our options ahead of the third Test next week," England team director Andy Flower said. "Kevin Pietersen is continuing his recovery from a calf strain and a decision about his availability for the Test will be made nearer the time."

Pietersen is likely to recover from his injury but the decision to provide an opportunity for Taylor to face Australia indicates he is England's preferred option should they need a replacement. It also indicates they are not certain Pietersen will be available.

Taylor, a diminutive right-hander who began his career at Leicestershire, was handed a Test debut against South Africa at Headingley last season and made 34 in the first innings, sharing a partnership of 147 with Pietersen that got England back into the match. But after 10 and 4 in the third Test at Lord's he was left out of the tour party for India.

His work over the winter, when he toured Australia with England Lions, did not produce immediate dividends on tour, but it has produced results this season with 824 runs in the County Championship at 58.85 including 204 not out against Sussex. He has also made 456 runs in seven Yorkshire Bank 40 matches.

His guest appearance for Sussex rules Taylor out of Nottinghamshire's final two Friends Life t20 group matches against Yorkshire on Friday and Lancashire on Sunday. Notts currently sit top of the North group but are yet to secure a quarter-final berth.

"I'm hopeful that KP will be fit to play and, as it stands, I'm preparing to play in the three-day game for Sussex and nothing more," he said.

"I'm disappointed to have to miss two big Notts matches but the Sussex fixture will give me an opportunity to get some red ball practice and then I'll wait and see.

"I'm not back in the Test side yet but I'm pleased to be a step closer to it and I've always dealt with situations like this by concentrating on the game in hand and refusing to look too far ahead."

Taylor has scored 196 runs in the competition but his director of cricket, Mick Newell is fully supportive of his England ambitions. "We want to provide James the best possible opportunity to be prepared to play in the third Test should he be required," Newell said. "While clearly he is an important player for us and will be missed on Friday and Sunday we have a proud record of producing players for England.

"We remain in close contact with James and the ECB regarding the situation and hope that he can make a contribution and be selected."

England have previously inserted players into different teams for match practise. Earlier this summer Nick Compton was allowed to play for Worcestershire against Australia, although it didn't help his quest for selection for the first Test against Australia, and in 2011 Andrew Strauss played for Somerset against India to try and regain form.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    I think, irrespective of his calf strain, Pietersen should be dropped anyway. He just doesn't seem 'with-it' mentally for me. Has no one considered putting Compton back in to open with Root and then drop Cook to 3? Cook seems to be having problem with the new ball.

  • John on July 26, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    @ Guernica on (July 26, 2013, 8:46 GMT) Shame for Magoffin too I guess

  • Duncan on July 26, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Well, Luke Wright is obviously not in the reckoning - he's not even in the squad for this game. Shame as it would have been a good chance for him to impress. No Joyce or Magoffin either (or Prior obviously), so Sussex well below full strength. Hope Panesar and Jordan get a game.

  • John on July 26, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    @sockington on (July 25, 2013, 21:04 GMT) Strange post there. Being that July has in recent years been a poor month for weather , how do you work out that the best weather was Saved for T20? Even the weather forecasters didn't know about this heatwave until it was actually happening

  • JOHN on July 25, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    this is absolutely ridiculous. Sending a player to a different county to play against the touring side - not on. Perhaps if the cretins running the domestic game didn't save the best weather for that pub league slog garbage, and instead used it for county cricket, this situation wouldn't happen.

  • Mike on July 25, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Sorry was thinking Kerrigan had some abilty with the bat, I must have got him mixed up with Gary Ballance. Doh !

  • Mike on July 25, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    I don't think he will make a Test cricketer this lad. I think he will end up the classic example of someone who excels at County level but can't/won't make the step up(no pun intended) to international cricket. He looked way out of his depth v SA at Headingley(yes he got 32 but it was a real struggle for him all innings, was almost painful to watch. I'd rather we bought in another spinner like Kerrigan as he has some ability with the bat and will of course be playing on his home ground, so knows the wkt inside out.

    But it won't happen so I shall fully support him should he play and I hope he rams my words down my throat and begins to look the part, but I just can't see it happening I'm afraid.

  • Peter on July 25, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    I think Bairstow got picked because England see him as a long term replacement for Prior. Bairstow is a wicket keeper and hopefully one day will turn out to be a good wicket keeper batsmen. This lad is doing all the right things, he's keeping his head down, working hard and making big runs, he can't do any more but wait for his chance

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    I'm a huge fan of Taylor, but Robert Henderson, you need to compare to Gary Ballance's stats. I think Taylor's the more proven player, but even so, he has valid rivals. I just wish Morgan, Bopara and Patel would be ignored rather than the younger players with more talent.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    After growing up in the 1990s and being at school, watching Australia crush England, with their galaxy of stars, its so nice to see it the other way round. The likes of Tremlett and Finn struggle to make the final 11, and we now have 3 England batsman who are 22/23 challenging the experienced players. What a turnaround? Having witnessed the dark ages first hand, this could turn into a golden era. And such an era is defined by the quality of players who don't make it to the final team!