Have you heard the news? Less than 24 hours after watching India parade around Edgbaston wearing delicious cream / white / off-white / ivory / beige jackets (the spoils of their Champions Trophy victory), the selectors focused minds on summer’s main event by announcing that Joe Root would open the batting in our Ashes warm-up game against Essex. Nick Compton’s name was not even in the 14 man squad.
Even if Compton scores a triple hundred in the next two weeks, it looks extremely unlikely he’ll win his place back before the first test. In a way this seems harsh, but the reality is that he looked like a dead man walking in the series against New Zealand.
Compton looked utterly devoid of confidence, and his scoring rate would’ve made Chris Tavare look like a bit of a dasher. We’re glad the selectors have realised that a top three of Cook, Compton and Trott is simply too similar. Although it’s a bit of a gamble, seeing as Root was playing so well in the middle-order, it’s probably the right decision.
Root’s promotion also enables England to pick Jonny Bairstow at 6. Thus far in his career Bairstow has looked like a dynamic young player of seam bowling – although his prowess against spin rivals that of Robin Smith or Daryll Cullinan.
As Australia have less quality spinners than David Warner has functional brain cells (judging by his behaviour in the Walkabout in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago), Bairstow’s inclusion makes sense. He’s also one for the future, whereas Compton turns 30 this week.
The other interesting thing about the squad is the inclusion of Graham Onions and Boyd Rankin at the expense of Monty Panesar. Do we really need 6 seam bowlers in a squad of 14, especially as the Australians play spin about as well as Smith and Cullinan’s imaginary love child?
I suppose the selectors had to get a Warwickshire player in there somewhere, even if that means leaving out Monty and England’s forgotten man, the fit again Chris Tremlett. Just kidding, Ashley.
England squad: Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott