The Investec Ashes 2013

Four vie for chance to replace Pietersen

The potential replacements should Kevin Pietersen not be fit on August 1

David Hopps

July 24, 2013

Comments: 56 | Text size: A | A

Ravi Bopara plays to the off side off his toes, England v India, Champions Trophy final, Edgbaston, June 23, 2013
Could Ravi Bopara's impressive Champions Trophy have revitalised his Test credentials? © International Cricket Council

James Taylor's guest appearance for Sussex against the Australians presents him with a chance to push his claims to make his Test return at Old Trafford if Kevin Pietersen is ruled out of the match through injury.

England are optimistic that Pietersen will recover from his calf strain in time, but if not, they face a tricky choice about who should replace him. It goes to show that even England do not quite have a plan for everything.

James Taylor (Nottinghamshire)
Age 23, Tests 2, Runs 48 at 16.00

James Taylor has joined Nick Compton in guesting for a county against the Australians at England's request, but he can't assume that if he makes runs it will automatically lead to a place at Old Trafford. Compton repelled the Australian attack in successive games at Taunton and Worcester but could not salvage his England spot.

It would be appropriate if Taylor was recalled for Pietersen because it is the figure of Pietersen which hovers around his England career. He shared a 147-run stand with Pietersen, as very much the junior partner (Taylor made 34), against South Africa at Headingley last summer, and acquitted himself well enough, but his chaste congratulation of Pietersen after he reached his hundred was that of a young batsman still seeking to make his way and accentuated his diminutive size which some contend leaves England wary.

When the Pietersen furore was at its height, there were also suggestions that Pietersen had been none-too-complementary about his ability - suggestions that Taylor routinely dismisses. He has had a good season in the County Championship, with 824 runs at 58.85 and his coach, Mick Newell, has suggested that he is ready for a recall. If England select on county form and fitness, Taylor is the only candidate.

Ravi Bopara (Essex)
Age 28, Tests 13, Runs 575 at 31.94

There were enough signs in Bopara's approach in the Champions Trophy which invited the question whether he might yet have his best Test days ahead of him. There was a conviction about him that had been lost at international level and he came out of the tournament with his reputation enhanced. For him to suffer a side strain playing county cricket, with a potential eight-week lay-off, represents cruel timing. England pressed Essex to leave him out of their recent Championship match so his injury did not worsen, but surely they would not allow him to enter a Test carrying an injury. Their concern is much more likely to surround his ability to bowl in the NatWest Series against Australia.

Nick Compton (Somerset)
Age 30, Tests 9, Runs 479 at 31.93

Nick Compton's removal from the top of England's order at the start of the Investec Ashes series was signalled so emphatically by Geoff Miller, the national selector, that it is hard to imagine his return in a reshuffled line-up. Miller made it sound as if England had taken a view, leaving Compton shocked and emotional. It would be feasible for Compton to slot back in at No. 6, with an eye to the second new ball, and until his loss of form against New Zealand in May, his Test career had been a decent one. He played well against the Australians, too, in tour matches at Taunton and Worcester, the latter at England's request. But England are 2-0 up and they will prefer to maintain the balance of batting styles. Compton for Pietersen, however much you shuffle, is a more defensive set-up. A Championship average of 42.54 this season does not particularly push his case either.

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)
Age 26, Tests 16, Runs 700 at 30.43

It was observed in these columns when Morgan was scoring healthily in IPL that if anybody would expect to pop straight from one-day cricket into the Ashes without bothering with much Championship cricket along the way it would be Morgan. All it would take would be an outstanding Champions Trophy, an injury in England's top six, and all the niceties about his preference for IPL ahead of preparing for Test cricket could be forgotten. He is a centrally-contracted player after all, and relishes the high-pressure occasion. But Morgan broke a finger in the Champions Trophy semi-final against South Africa and required an operation as soon as the tournament was finished. His Middlesex appearances have been limited to a first-ball duck in a YB40 tie against Yorkshire at Radlett and, on the Middlesex message boards, they have been speculating that this will be as good as it gets. For all that, he was still seen in the nets at Lord's during the second Test with England's batting coach Graham Gooch.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Basingrad on (July 26, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

@RowhanJ - have you seen Hales's first-class record this season? It makes hilarious reading... he has talent but the time is definitely not now!

Posted by 200ondebut on (July 26, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Why no Gary Ballance on the list? To me this is the ideal opportunity to blood the next new talent rather than give a one off reprive to one of the nearly men. For me its either Taylor or Ballance.

Posted by thebarmyarmy on (July 26, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

Please no Bopara or Morgan!! Let them play the limited overs if they have to... Taylor is my choice followed by Crompton.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 26, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

@SDH12 on (July 25, 2013, 9:33 GMT) Re Luke - I notice he seems to be omitted from the recent T20 games which seems strange. I know Craig played either for the Lions or a B side before the seniors called him up.

Posted by RowhanJ on (July 26, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

Hales for me is a good young talent who seems to relish the pressures of international cricket, that or Taylor for me

Posted by   on (July 25, 2013, 19:01 GMT)

Carberry has to be a rank outsider. FC average of 40 this season in the 2nd division doesn't speak of a man in form.

I'm surprised Samit Patel has dropped so far in the reckoning, I think at test level his bowling is no more than a bonus (not sure he'd be ahead of Root at 3rd change for example). But 824 runs @ 48.47 is a good return and he'd got 3 centuries this season, top score of 256.

Another outsider who has played for the Lions is Varun Chopra. I'm a Bears fan so would hate to lose him as it might be relegation from div1!! Again he's an opener like Compton so doesn't seem a good fit for Pietersen replacement, but 848 runs @ 49.88 whilst having to worry about newly captaining what was until recently a really struggling side betokens him maturity at only 26.

Posted by BoycottsGranny on (July 25, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

Rather than Compton replacing Pietersen lower down the order, what about opening with him and moving the versatile talent of Joe Root back down to six (with Bell moving up to five)?

Posted by RichardG on (July 25, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

As an avid Yorkshire fan, you can forget about Rashid. His return to form has been great to see this season, but he's far from being an England player. His bowling, for a start, just plain isn't good enough. Far too many half-trackers and four balls. And if he's going to be picked for his batting, he needs to prove himself over a longer period. His record with the bat until this season was good, but nothing startling.

As an avid Yorkshire fan, I am surprised that Ballance isn't on this list. He's terrific. He bats at five more often than not - not six - and has a very well organised game. It should be Taylor though, and if not, I'd go for Lumb.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 25, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

@David Hopps: "It goes to show that even England do not quite have a plan for everything." - Who ever said they did, and why on Earth did they? They certainly never seem to have a plan for getting out tail-enders; if (heaven-forbid!) anything should happen to Swann, do you really reckon Panesar will be the automatic shoe-in, or (surely?) England would want to look at other contenders for the premier spinner (Tredwell; Briggs; Rashid; Kerrigan etc. etc.)?

Posted by StJohn on (July 25, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

There is another option - pick a 5th bowler! With a lower middle order of Prior, Bresnan, Broad and Swann, in principle there's enough batting depth to play only 5 specialist batsmen. The trouble is, England's top order has been fairly weak and Prior hasn't been in great form either. But I'm not sure that picking a 6th specialist batsman would necessarily compensate entirely for that. I think 5 bowlers could be a good option. Depending on what the pitch is like, maybe even Panesar might worth a go.

If we go for a 6th batsman, I'm not sure that there's really much between Compton and Taylor, is there? Both are quite steady and unlikely to score as quickly as an in-form Pietersen. So not sure that Compton would be inherently any more defensive an option. Given our own batting frailties, someone who can occupy the crease and build an innings would probably do nicely. But a 5th bowler would be my preference!

Posted by colc on (July 25, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

Rashid is a good shout, especially as he seems to have got his bowling back from the menders. Luke Wright also seems to be much improved, and can bowl some useful overs. In fact, there are some uncanny parallels between Watson and Wright, one of them not being the ability to work as part of a team!

Posted by emmersonne on (July 25, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

Michael Carberry! Except we need him, you can't have him.

Posted by liz1558 on (July 25, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

It looks like a hiding to nothing. The only batsman who can be dislodged in the top six is Bairstow, and it would take a game changing knock to do so as he has the long term backing of the selectors. Bopara, Taylor and Morgan are all vying for Bairstow's spot should he lose the selectors' confidence. Compo's chances have gone.

Posted by siltbreeze on (July 25, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

What a ridiculous article - two of the four 'contenders' are injured. Does anyone seriously think Morgan has the slightest chance of replacing Pietersen?

Posted by SDHM on (July 25, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

@JG - think Wright's being rested for the Aus game. Anyway, he only makes runs against Middlesex it seems! Robson doesn't qualify for England until next year, although I believe he can represent the Lions: both Rankin & Kieswetter I think may have represented them before being fully qualified (although I'm not entirely sure about that).

@Henrik Loven - without Broad & Swann in the first innings and Bresnan in the second the last match may well have been much closer. See no point in weakening the part of the team that isn't functioning all that well at the moment. Do all those clamouring for 5 bowlers remember the last time we did it? We were thrashed in two days at Headingley. England reverted to 6 batsmen for the next game and what happened? Ashes regained.

Posted by trav29 on (July 25, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

so before the last game carberry was averaging below 30 in FC this year and all of a sudden one innings should get him another chance ? why on earth would he get another chance now when hes having a poor season in FC cricket and he couldn't break into the team during his best spells of form ?

taylor has to be the choice if KP isn't fit. hes consistently scored runs in all three formats, has excelled during his time with the lions and despite not making a big score in the limited chances he got last year was unlucky to not tour over the winter.

Posted by Basingrad on (July 25, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

I can't see it being anyone but Taylor. Putting Morgan on this list has given me a chuckle though. He's not even the best Irishman in county cricket; Ed Joyce is far and away the better batsman. Morgan is a chancer, an improviser, someone who goes out there to do damage over a 5-10 over period with free rein and no fear of failure. He is not a Test batsman's cousin's hairdresser's dog. I doubt that Middlesex ever really want to pick him in the championship...

Ballance is a big talent but I fear he has had a bit of an easy life that flatters his numbers - he comes in at 6, usually over the last couple of years with 300+ on the board. He needs to bat higher before they should consider him.

The other option of course is Ben Stokes. His bowling is rapidly improving and he could hold his own at 6. It would allow them to play Swann and Kerrigan at OT as well, with Stokes as the 3rd seamer. Surely it will be Kerrigan ahead of Monty as well? There's no comparison on form or potential.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

England have got real strength in depth in their batting reserves at the moment. Taylor deserves another chance for sure. Who knows what he would have done in his last innings were it not for a 'yes, no, sorry' run out courtesy of Trotters? Adil Rashid is another who could do a job at 6 or 7 if Pietersen is unfit for OT.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

Morgan should be nowhere near the side at this stage.

Looking through the stats - some other names which Cricinfo haven't mentioned

Chopra 707 runs @48 Ballance 802 @61 Gale 815 @ 54.4 Wright 527 @ 65.87 Lumb 867 @61.92 Patel 824 @

Also is Robson Eng qualified and could Joyce become English again if he was supervised eating bacon and eggs for breakfast and fish and chips for lunch for the next 5 days?

going by the stats , Lumb has one of the best averages and is possibly the nearest to KP in terms of tempo. Also he's a left hander which I think we only have 1 of in the top 7. The one prob being he's a natural opener Patel would also be a bowling option although he's hardly potent in that dept.

And Luke Wright - and I'm not advocating his inclusion - but he's playing for a top side and I wonder if he were to play/score big vs Aus - stranger things have happened

Posted by Munkeymomo on (July 25, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

Adil Rashid is averaging 90+ in the championship, plus gives an allrounder option. Just a thought.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

Against stronger sides, we really do need an all-rounder such as Bopara, Luke Wright or Stokes. Even before Bairstow; would Ravi Bopara not make as many runs as Bairstow does? And the bowling would be so important if one of the main bowlers was injured during a match. Can't rely on Trott to bowl and take wickets!

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (July 25, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

People talk about Carberry's age and then mention Lumb in same sentence are pathetic Lumb is OLDER than Carberry !

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (July 25, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

I'm so sick of the Carberry overlooking it's bordering on disgraceful to not even be mentioned as contention ? he just hit another ton the other week. As far as short format goes there is no competition for T20 spot and he should also be in the Odi side v Australia after the Tests.

Posted by landl47 on (July 25, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

Taylor is almost certainly it for now. Compton is cover for the top 3. Bopara showed a lot in the CT and his bowling would be a distinct plus, but I don't see him as a test #4 and he's dealing with an injury. However, if and when he's fit I could see Bell at 4, Bairstow at 5 and Bopara at 6.

Morgan hasn't got the defensive skills to grind out long innings. His future is in the short formats and his own choices as to what cricket he plays have made that pretty clear.

However, like the_wallster, I think Ballance is a better prospect than any of them. He's also working with Gooch in the Englland set-up, has been in great form and with 15 FC centuries at age 23 is clearly capable of big innings. He has a very compact style, lots of strokes, is left-handed which is an advantage and not over-awed by the big occasion. His time will come, quite soon I believe- sheer volume of runs will force the selectors to pick him.

Posted by dashe on (July 25, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

Michael Carberry should bein for sure he has done the hard yards and is a fantastic player.

Posted by CricketCoachDB on (July 25, 2013, 1:13 GMT)

@Ingerland Carberry is averaging 34 in Division 2:;team=1102;type=tournament

Well down the Hants batting averages. You don't select a Test player based on limited overs form.

Carberry is also 32 and an opening batsman. He's absolutely miles away from an England place. The 4 players discussed in the article plus Chopra, Lumb and Ballance are just some of the players ahead of him at this stage.

It drives me mad that Michael Vaughan and other "experts" don't realise this and still call for Carberry!

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 25, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

Old Trafford = Monty Panesar. Monty has had a 5fer everytime he's played there. Go with 5 bowlers take some chances for a change!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 24, 2013, 22:47 GMT)

It is interesting to see how the selectors may think down th eline. I would say that if KP has not recovered in time it will be a shock as there are so many ways to speed the healing process up. Also I would say he is irreplaceable or as near as. Looking at how these selections lineup, how does Compton fit in? Hardly a middle order player. Replacing flair with a snail is hardly the solution. In an ideal world Morgan might line up but he ahs hardly inspired loyalty sadly. Charismatic but faulty I would say. Taylor is okay and certainly has been lined up fot England for many a moon. Bell minor. Ravi might be okay as he has big shots in his armory. Also played okay in CT as well has desperation to play. Personally I would leave Bell at 5 as it his spot and move Bairstow to 4 and give Taylor or Ravi the job at 6. Hopefully it will not happen though.

Posted by AshesErnie on (July 24, 2013, 22:25 GMT)

FFS Mr Hopps, if Morgan and Bopara are even close to being in the running for a Test recall, you can put away all thoughts of England having strength in depth batting-wise. Compton is worthy if the need arises, Taylor a sound man for middle order vacancies but Bopara and Morgan are like for like with the Aussie middle order which, in case you have been under a stone for the last month, is a hilarious joke.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

Since when did Morgan show any possibility of a successful Test career and what first-class cricket has he played this year?. Bopara is injured and has had many chances. I cannot see beyond Compton and Taylor but perhaps the matured Luke Wright is a possible.

Posted by the_wallster on (July 24, 2013, 19:59 GMT)


How about....Gary Ballance. Test 0, FC 60, Ave. 52.93. List A Average: 53.12

The guy's a machine. His average are so superior to his other competitors he should be in ahead of Bairstow and Root.

He's an oustanding fielder to boot.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

While Taylor looks to be a shoo in if KP doesn't recover I would have gone for Ben Stokes. England need a top class all-rounder to give them the balance to be a great side - Stokes may not be the one but he seems the most likely at the moment. With Stokes in the side they could then easily bring in Panesar/Tredwell/Kerrigan for Bresnan or Broad (assuming another dry pitch is in the offing).

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

The problem with this article is that I'm pretty sure England do have a plan and James Taylor is almost certainly it. That said, they are not averse to changing a plan that proves to be wrong (an improvement from the Fletcher era). I wouldn't totally discount Wright; the report of his innings against Middlesex was encouraging, he's averaging 65 in the Championship and he has a chance to prove himself against the Australians. If Morgan gets anywhere the Test side with no First Class games in a year I'll lose all faith in the England management. As a totally left field suggestion, how about Adil Rashid?

Posted by RoBoBobster on (July 24, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

@ Richard Lavill so 527 runs @ 65.87 isn't any good. I agree Taylor is in the driving seat but his extra zoom would perfectly replace Pieterson, he can bowl a bit and is in top nick, and, like Pieterson if he gets going he can take the game away!

Posted by Jonathan_E on (July 24, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

Replacing Pietersen with a 5th bowler (e.g. Kerrigan or Panesar as second spinner) might seem an idea, but would leave a bit of a long tail - none of Bresnan, Swann or Broad is quite a Test match number 7. If you drop Bresnan for Onions or Finn, too, then the tail starts looking ominously long (Anderson, Kerrigan / Panesar, Finn/Onions at 9-10-11 is three outright rabbits.)

The conclusion would be that, at the very least, you'd need to keep Bresnan *and* Broad in the side as second and third quick bowlers, for their batting as well as bowling, and still need Swann for his batting as well as bowling, with a tail of only two genuine rabbits (Anderson, of course, plus Kerrigan or Panesar if we want a second spinner, or Finn or Onions if we go for a fourth quick.)

A sixth batsman means the ability to drop Bresnan or Broad if their bowling loses form, for another guy who is actually bowling better. Not that Finn exactly covered himself in glory so far...

Posted by Chaffers on (July 24, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

I agree with Henrik to an extent, whichever batsman comes in won't give the whingeing pods nightmares. Our batting is strong enough, it just needs to fire.

Personally I'd look to Scott Borthwick. He's batting up the order now and has 700 runs at 47, more importantly though playing a leggie against the pods would simply be twisting the knife!

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

Best batter in England at present is without a doubt Varun Chopra,admittedly a regular opener he can fit in any where in the order,an outstanding close fielder too.A return for Bopara Morgan or Compton not feasible at present as all short of runs and current form.Doubts about Taylor's temprement have held him back in the past and a failure at Hove will set him back further.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

Well SDH12, if the batting of a side that wins by 347 runs needs "shoring up" - rofl! There's a thing called looking to the future and right now is the ideal opportunity to blood Kerrigan who took 12 of the 15 wickets one a batsman's paradise, one that will probably be very similar to what the 3rd Test one will be. Forget Carberry, Taylor, Wright, Morgan & co! With Root and Bairstow making a successful transition to the test side, there's no need for people to clamour for their favourite players, none of which, with the possible exception of Taylor, are future test players, let alone stars.

Posted by salazar555 on (July 24, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

Carberry has missed his chance, he's too old to be coming into a side. Unless both openers go down with illness then I don't see Carberry getting in the side. If Pieterson is still injured then I expect them to blood a youngster. The selectors probably think both Morgan and Bopara have had enough chances and have not taken them so give the kid Taylor a shot and see if he takes it or becomes another Morgan/Bopara and throws it away

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 16:13 GMT)

For me it has to Compton at six. He has that touch of class that is vital, he was dropped too unjustly, and i feel he has the necessary mental strength to come back.

Posted by cric_J on (July 24, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

Going by potential alone , I'll be inclined to pick Compton. But I agree with @R_U_4_REAL_NICK that he won't be a suitable replacement for KP and more importantly for the no. 4 slot. Compton is an accumulator and that is not what you want from a no. 4/5 batsman , considering Bell would (and should) move up to 4.

The other thing that could be done is moving Joe in the middle order again for this match and get Compo to open with Cook. That again would be silly and is highly unlikely.

I actually expect KP to recover in time , but in his absence Taylor seems the most likely and probably the most worthy replacement. My gut feeling though says it should (and really could) be Bopara. England have this tendency to select him in the most unexpected situations and he has a tendency to deliver when he is selected that way.

Posted by SDHM on (July 24, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

Henrik Loven - we've had no problems bowling Australia out (well, unless you count last wicket partnerships!) but in the last game we were 28-3 and 30-3 in either innings, and we were bowled out for 215 in the first game. Makes absolutely no sense to weaken the batting, if anything it needs shoring up!

Posted by FriedEgg on (July 24, 2013, 15:13 GMT)

If the choice really is as above, then Taylor would be my choice. Compton is a bit sedate (although I do feel he was jettisoned a little too soon) and Bopara and Morgan have never really clicked after several attempts.

I'm not actually that convinced by Bairstow at this stage, either, but I can understand England wanting to keep as much of the current team as possible.

Carberry, as mentioned by others, would seem a good choice. There must be some more Yorkshire players waiting to join the side, though, surely - there aren't enough already! :-)

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

Lol at the baffling calls for Luke Wright to be called up. Got to be Taylor.

Posted by Tigg on (July 24, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

While James Taylor is the logical and perhaps more sensible choice, Luke Wright is in some form. He scores quickly, can dominate attacks and has added the ability grind out knocks to his repetoire. Throw in his more than handy bowling and world class fielding and you've got quite a number 6.

Posted by jackiethepen on (July 24, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

Is the height of Taylor a real issue? Short batsmen have always prospered. The greatest, Tendulkar and Bradman are short. Tendulkar is an inch shorter than Taylor. He was nicknamed The Little Master. Didn't seem to hold him back. As for KP at Headingley 2012 he was at his most fractious with the England side so poor Taylor couldn't have come in at a worst time. KP was blowing his top to his friends. He did during and after the match. I'm sure KP has put it all behind him. After all if you can get cross with Strauss, then you can get cross with anyone. Taylor did very well against Australia A when everyone else crumbled. He's a tough player and a good quality batsman. Next in line certainly.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

(sigh) Do NOT replace Kevin Pietersen with a batsman! Cook, Root, Trott, Bell, Bairstow and Prior is a very strong batting lineup and will provide more than enough runs anyway (it's not as if KP has dominated the Ashes this far, is it...). The intelligent move is to blood Simon Kerrigan, the player who will eventually replace Swann as England's main spinner, on his home ground.

Posted by CouncillorB on (July 24, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

I hate the idea of only having 4 bowlers in a test team. However if we are persisting with a batsman to replace KP then I would only be considering Taylor, Compton or Luke Wright. At this stage Bopara and Morgan should not even be considered. I don't understand why Wright is not being considered here. He has been playing well ( a couple of BIG scores this summer), is not a bad fielder and can also bowl a bit for good measure. Having said this I would pick Taylor, but have Wright in the squad.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

I realise he's a face from the past but it's a shame Rob Key doesn't get another well deserved chance - impressed the Aussies in an average England team on tour. England gave up on him far too soon.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 24, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

Chopra was also mentioned by Vaughan/Boycott/Tuffers as well, although he is an opener. I really hope they don't go with Morgan! He is not test standard at all; he is the England equivalent of Warner/Hughes, which to me = short-format specialist only.

As one of the few posters very disappointed with Compton's treatment, it might surprise a few people to see me write I don't think it should be him either. I can't see him coming in at 3/4 and performing as well he has done opening, and I doubt the selectors will want to move Root back down now. Besides, I usually believe replacements should be as 'like-for-like' as possible, and Compton is more of a grafter.

'Bits-n-pieces-Bopara' has done well recently in the shorter formats, and his bowling can come in really useful! But for some reason, and I don't really care if I'm wrong - I think it will be Taylor that gets the nod.

Posted by android_user on (July 24, 2013, 14:26 GMT)

Agree with Luke Wright due to his bowling but Yorkshire has always pulled the test team out so give Ballance the chance.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 14:06 GMT)

Am I the only person thinking that Luke Wright should be considered? Has his some very useful runs recently and can contribute with the ball. Using his medium pacers could even allow us to drop one of the seamers in place of a second specialist spinner.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

Very limited choices above; what about Ballance and Chopra? They must be above Ravi (reject), Nick (reject) and Eoin (reject) on the shortlist. Young, in form and refreshing. Shame all 3 aren't playing for 'Sussex' (farce), then we'd really see about handling pressure.

Posted by Chad950 on (July 24, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

Michael Carberry was discussed by Tuffers and Vaughan on their radio show. He was another person who was never really given a fair crack.

Posted by SDHM on (July 24, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

Don't see any choice - got to be Taylor. If anything, I think the main question should be in the bowling attack; I'd love to see a second spinner added to the squad. I doubt very much it will happen and, with OT being a reverse swinging ground, England would rightly argue they have the attack to exploit that well, but at least having the option in case the pitch is really dry would surely be worth it. I'd be bringing either Panesar or Kerrigan in for Finn or Onions.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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