Root and Bairstow in as England rest players

November 7, 2012 5:00 pm

Captain Alastair Cook and wicket keeper Matt Prior are both rested for Saturday’s tour match against Mumbai A, with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow given the chance to impress coach Andy Flower. Root, who will be making his England debut at just twenty-one years of age, will lead the batting order with Somerset opener Nick Compton whilst Bairstow overcomes a thigh injury to assume wicket-keeping duties. It is undoubtedly an experimental England teamsheet, and Flower knows that his players will need to use the precious little game time between now and the first Test to adapt to what have historically been difficult playing conditions for touring sides.

One of the dilemmas facing the England selectors is the search for a second opening batsman. Root and Compton would appear to be the frontrunners for the first test in Ahmedabad, with the only viable alternative being to promote Jonathan Trott up the order. Compton was out for no score in the first tour game against a fairly strong India A team, but is the more experienced of the two and will probably get the nod, ahead of Yorkshireman Root.

Samit Patel’s century earlier in the week appears to have given him the edge in the race to claim the second spinner’s spot, although Monty Panesar will be keen to reassure selectors of his effectiveness in the subcontinent over the next few days, and a large haul of wickets would certainly do his case no harm. Patel is not commonly regarded as a full-time spinner, which may work against him if the wicket in Ahmedabad seems to be offering up some turn.

Regardless of line up, this will be a winter of transition for England as they move from the old era of Strauss into an exciting new one of Cook.

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