England news September 9, 2015

Taylor targets UAE Test return

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James Taylor hopes his ODI century against Australia could persuade the selectors to recall him to the Test squad for the tour of the UAE.

Taylor made his maiden international hundred at Old Trafford on Tuesday, conquering a dry track, two spinners and a trio of fiery seamers in the process. With batsmen on both sides struggling to time the ball, Taylor showed admirable skill and composure in manoeuvring the ball cleverly and running like a whippet.

With similar conditions expected in the UAE - albeit against Pakistan's superior spinners - Taylor hopes the innings showed what he could contribute given another opportunity in Test cricket.

"I'm desperate to get back in the Test side," Taylor said. "I know we are going to be playing on similar wickets against good spin bowlers in the UAE, so this was nice little reminder of what I have to offer on a turning pitch where it wasn't easy to score off the slower bowlers."

Taylor's two Tests to date have brought modest returns. But an average of 16.00 disguises the fact that he added 147 with Kevin Pietersen during his first innings against South Africa, at Headingley in 2012 - his share was an unobtrusive 34, where he was happy to rotate the strike and allow Pietersen, at his absolute best, to dominate - and was run out attempting a fourth in the run chase at The Oval in his other game. It is too early to come to any conclusions about his ability at that level.

Some have, though. It is no secret that Pietersen was not overly impressed with Taylor's technique after their partnership together and it seems others in the England team have similar views. In particular, there has been some concern over his ability to play the short ball, his propensity to play across the line and his strokes outside off stump. A first-class average of 46.59 and List A average of 52.57 suggest none of those issues are causing him too much trouble.

As things stand, though, Taylor's long-term position in the ODI side is not assured. Despite his fine century, he will know that he was called into the side as a replacement for the rested Joe Root. As the experience of Michael Lumb - who scored a century on ODI debut only 18 months ago, but played only two more games - shows, taking your opportunity is not the same as securing a place in the longer term.

But Taylor hopes that his ability to bat either at No. 3 or in a finishing role offers the team a versatility that the selectors cannot ignore. His leadership qualities and ability to read the game situation have already been rewarded by an appointment as vice-captain of the ODI side for the rest of the series.

"I'm a versatile player and I'm willing to bat anywhere in the team," he said. "I love batting at three and four and I'm glad I got the opportunity. The higher I bat in the order the bigger the runs I can potentially score.

"I've got so much better over the years at playing the situation. I think that is my biggest strength: adapting to the situation put in front of me.

"We have seen in the innings at Hampshire that I can hit the ball over the ropes when I've needed to. But in Manchester I didn't need to go too hard too early and just sat back and let Eoin Morgan hit the fours and sixes."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2015, 10:05 GMT

    Team England for UAE: Playing XI: Cook, Bell, Root, Bairstow, Taylor, Stokes, Buttler, Ali, Rashid, Broad, Anderson. For SA tour Replace Rashid with Wood or Finn

  • Jibran on September 10, 2015, 14:36 GMT

    Through out Ashes England missed a batsman like Taylor in the middle order. I think they are over doing the bravado thing a bit. They have filled their test sides with all sorts of stroke makers and sloggers so when the slide starts the team is totally depended on poor old Cook to battle it out. If recent trend in test cricket is something to go by Test cricket is still very much about character and showing patience, teams who like to play Test cricket like T20 have been collapsing regularly. In the end good old classical test batting from the likes of Cook, Rogers, Pujara, Duplesi and Younis Khan tends to bail out the team from the choke. And that is what England needs in the middle order. Between Bell, Root, Stokes, Moeen and Butler they got enough stroke makers. A guy like Taylor should be given the spot at 5 that went to Bairstow so when the slide starts he can grind it out the rough period with Cooky, take off some of his burden.

  • j on September 10, 2015, 13:49 GMT

    as players get older they sometimes become tired mentally and the body does not respond always. Bell can still play a great shot and a great innings but it is happening less often now. I like Taylor a lot. seems to have a lot of heart. he is a dark horse to be the next England captain in my view - if he can establish himself in the team, I would see him taking over from cook in 3 or 4 years. I am a big fan of Bell but it may be time to move on. I am sure in amongst Compton, Hales, Taylor, Balance etc we have enough options to cover his position. Taylor has scored consistently for yeas and since getting back into the team he has done pretty well. that was a proper innings in difficult conditions. I say pick him against Pakistan. they have to figure out how to fit him in (there are a few ways depending on who else is picked) but I think he deserves it

  • Android on September 10, 2015, 12:29 GMT

    I followed Ashes very closely. I am not England Team supporter but I would like them to get rid of their opener Adam Lyth. He was very pathetic. Bring in Taylor in his place. No.2 Or No.3 does make any difference. Taylor seems to have very sound techniques.

  • Charles on September 10, 2015, 12:07 GMT

    I hope Taylor is in the squad as I see him as Bell's successor at 3 which could easily be after the Pakistan series as I do not think Bell will want to continue if he does not perform in the UEA . Now that Joe Root is established at 4 it is a much easier decision to drop / retire Bell from 3 as we have 2 suitable alternatives in Ballance and Taylor and the pressure is on him to hit some runs. I would love to see him hit a load of runs in both series and wish him the best.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2015, 11:52 GMT

    So let me get this right. Taylor's still on the periphery of Test selection despite obtaining good runs in the last four ODI series, demonstrating he can bat in a variety of manners, possessing a first class average over 45, and now can show off an excellent ODI ton, all because his technique is perceived as being 'wrong'. Hales on the other hand has a lower first class average, no ODI ton, looks to have major problems with quick bowling, got shown up by the mighty Indian pace attack (chortle), and yet he seems the more popular choice for Tests in the UAE.

    Since Hales scored that T20 ton against Sri Lanka on 27th March 2014, in all forms of cricket for England his record reads: 590 runs, 23 innings at 25.65 with 1 T20 and 2 ODI half centuries.

    Taylor on the other hand in that same time period has only played ODI cricket. His record reads: 659 runs, 19 innings at 43.93 with 1 ODI ton and 5 ODI half centuries.

    Not a difficult selection issue for me.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2015, 11:32 GMT

    EVDA_CHETA ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2015, 10:36 GMT: You wrote:

    "Taylor is just serviceable with making 1 decent score in EVERY 5-7 matches ..." . (emphasis, added)

    How many multiples of "5-7 matches" Taylor was given chance to represent England? To let you use the phrase "every"!

    To give you some chance, I would include all three formats! Please let all of us know, the answer, if you find..

    By the way, most of the readers (not all ) are suggesting his name for the test squad.

  • Jojee Varkey on September 10, 2015, 10:54 GMT

    England should bring Taylor in place of Bell. Time to move on..

  • Johnston on September 10, 2015, 10:45 GMT

    And all this whilst selectors favourite Ian Bell averaged 29 across the last 22 tests he's appeared in. Taylor (or somone else for that matter) could have bedded in by now, but alas no - we've been subject to a few pretty 50s from the woeful Bell and now the world seems his oyster, as the selectors sycophantically bow down in reverence to his newly found hunger.

  • Mustansir on September 10, 2015, 10:36 GMT

    Taylor is just serviceable with making 1 decent score in every 5-7 matches but this guy is not a big match player. this guy can help in 1 win in 10 matches. nt an impact player. just one player in team of 11,nt a player who takes on fight with oppostion player.

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