Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Taylor is knocking

James Taylor has knocked loudly on the door of the England team, though perhaps he has missed the boat for an Ashes outing in the first two Tests at least. England, if they are thinking of him following his double century against Sussex, may want to avoid a disestablishing reshuffle until they have sussed out the seemingly enigmatic Australian bowling attack - one that allowed someone with a first-class average of 17.00 score a century against them, then promptly took eight wickets for sixteen runs. If England has shown us nothing else, it is that they are cautious about their cricket, and they play to eliminate all risk of defeat before they make the dash for victory. Blazing crowd-pleasers they are not - for the most part anyway - but unyielding they are.

Taylor, who scored his 204* admittedly on a decent pitch that Ed Joyce had already reached 200 on, remains in my own Ashes XI:

Cook (c)
Root
Trott
Pietersen
Bell
Taylor
Prior
Broad
Swann
 Finn
 Anderson

... but he does not seem to make many other lists. The constant selection of Bairstow, who seems to have the holy favour without Taylor having done anything wrong to warrant his own losing of it, accounts for the latter's exclusion from the starting XI for most. For some others it is the stupefying perseverance with Bresnan as part of a five-man attack, or the even more flabbergasting selection of Bopara. If Taylor has been robbed of his shot - momentarily, I suspect - then Bopara has surely timed-out with his.

Root's promotion to opener at the expense of Compton should have been the perfect opportunity for Taylor to resume his progression to the national team. I have been forever excited about him, ("James Taylor", July 2012). Instead, the debut during which he was so impressive ("Hunting big game", August 2012) remains his only opportunity - so far.

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