With only faint assurances regarding the fitness of Kevin Pietersen heading into the third Ashes Test, the selectors have shaken up the England squad ahead of their attempt to retain the urn at Old Trafford.
And if Pietersen’s calf problem is considered serious enough that he has to miss the Test, it looks most probable that Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor will step into the fray.
Despite playing only three previous Test innings at international level, Taylor’s county form has ensured his squad inclusion, and selector Geoff Miller’s comments indicate that his featuring is probable should Pietersen miss out.
He told BBC Sport, “Kevin Pietersen is continuing his recovery from a calf strain and he will be assessed by the medical team closer to the start of the Test, and we have therefore included an extra batsman in James Taylor who has been in good form for Nottinghamshire this season.”
Amongst other notable additions meanwhile, Monty Panesar has been recalled to perform on a pitch that is so often conducive to spin bowlers.
Should he make the starting line-up, the Sussex ace will appear in his first home Test match for four years, and would lap up the opportunity to face an Australian batting order devoid of confidence.
Even as eager as ever to prove a point and put himself in the frame for regular selection again though, Panesar will have his work cut out in stopping James Anderson justifying his 7/4 price to be England’s top wicket-taker in this Test.
Chris Tremlett is another player who will hope to get the chance to compete in that market however, with the aggressive bowler’s inclusion in the squad coming at the expense of Steven Finn.
Graham Onions is the other player to be dropped, and England’s new-look bowling contingent will seldom get a better chance to post impressive economy figures than against such a confidence-sapped Aussie order.
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