England newcomers make mark at Test level

There was a lot of focus on the England team when they returned from the Caribbean as World Cup winners, so when the squad for the first Test against Bangladesh at Lord’s was announced, there were one or two surprises. It was great for Ajmal Shahzad that he was named in the 12-man squad and clearly the hierarchy have identified him as one for the future.

I think the biggest surprise in the squad, though, was the inclusion of Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan. He came in from nowhere in Test match terms , but I am sure he has the potential to go on and become not just a good one-day player, but also a great talent at Test match level. I know he did not get a half-century in either innings he played, but I think the selectors will have seen enough to keep their faith with him with an eye on the Ashes squad next winter.

The fact Stuart Broad and Paul Collingwood were rested, which is more or less a first, brought new players into the squad and opened the door for Tim Bresnan to continue his improving and fledgling international career. Most of the batters dipped their bread at some stage during the series against a totally inept international bowling attack. The one bright spark was the batting of Tamim Iqbal, who played two swashbuckling innings that really were out of the top drawer.

Clearly the man of the series was Steven Finn, who bowled with pace and bounce to totally intimidate their inexperienced batting line-up. He looks like a prospect for the future, but let’s not pin our hopes on him too early and allow him time to develop. The second Test at Old Trafford was also special for Ajmal Shahzad, who made his Test debut. He played a nervous little innings and had a nervous first few overs, but he settled down and gave a demonstration of his reverse swing skills which I would suggest is also a good pointer for the future.

Since the end of the Test series, England have picked a one-day squad to play a match against Scotland and a five-match series against Australia but there were no real surprises in it. Captain Andrew Strauss comes back in to open the batting with Craig Kieswetter and the rest of the side is as expected. The Australian series will be very competitive and if England are not playing in the football World Cup on the days of those matches, we will see some full grounds.


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