Ashes 2013: England guard against complacency ahead of third Test against Australia

Selectors shake up squad as Panesar and Tremlett earn surprise recalls

It is untrue that England’s selectors have entirely lost the capacity for surprise. Sometimes, it seems that way when the mantra of continuity, continuity, continuity is preached as if it were one of the gospels.

With the team 2-0 ahead in the Ashes series and Australia seemingly at their mercy there were three amendments yesterday in the party chosen for the third Investec Test which begins at Old Trafford on Thursday. True, there were no completely new names but the unexpectedly large squad of 14 represented further evidence that no player is ever entirely forgotten in the regime operated by Geoff Miller, the chairman of selectors, or that none can ever be quite sure of his place, which is as it should be.

The size of the party offers Andy Flower, the coach, and Alastair Cook, the captain, all the permutations they could wish for in selecting the starting XI at Old Trafford. These cover pace, bounce, swing and spin.

Chris Tremlett has been selected in the squad after last playing for England in January 2012 since when he has had to combat back and knee injuries. Monty Panesar is there as a possible partner for Graeme Swann should the pitch and weather be ridiculously dry. James Taylor, the tiny Nottinghamshire batsman, has been picked as cover for Kevin Pietersen.

Miller, giving little away as usual, said: “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.

“Chris Tremlett has worked hard to regain fitness and form following a couple of injuries and his performances for Surrey this season have been very encouraging. Including an additional spinner in Monty Panesar who has plenty of international experience provides Alastair Cook and Andy Flower with a number of options.”

For the next day or two, possibly up until the moment of the toss, attention will be on the fitness or otherwise of Pietersen. He has been having treatment for a calf strain which prevented him fielding during Australia’s second innings at Lord’s. Pietersen has had a quiet series so far, though the importance of his careful 64 in the second innings at Trent Bridge after coming in at 11 for 2 should not be overlooked. He will be eager to play on Thursday, desperate to make a lasting impression on a home Ashes series for the first time since 2005.

Fully reintegrated Pietersen may be after his little imbroglio with selectors and team-mates last summer, which led to his being dropped, but he has not yet had an opportunity to win back, or perhaps capture for the first time, the hearts and minds of England supporters. He has hardly been greeted with rapturous receptions this summer and it is still difficult to imagine him generating the clear warmth of feeling which was accorded Joe Root’s sublime 180 in the second Test at Lord’s.

It is to be hoped Pietersen makes the starting line in Manchester. England are a better side with him than without him which is why they eventually  reincorporated him last year. There would be a certain irony if the diminutive Taylor were to replace him.

Reports abounded that Pietersen was not exactly enamoured of Taylor’s method when the latter made his Test debut against South Africa at Headingley last year and they shared a partnership of 147.  Nor were the selectors, as it happened, since they summarily dropped him after the next Test and told him to sort out his technique, especially in dealing with balls outside off stump.

Taylor is an attractive batsman, fearless and unafraid of innovation. He has made plenty of Championship runs this summer and occupied the crease doggedly this weekend in his guest appearance for Sussex, made at the selectors’ behest, against Australia.

Nobody suspects that he is the  finished article and were he to play it would be intriguing to see or hear the congratulatory message from Pietersen. But he may be more complete than many who have played for England in the past and who are filling the berths in Australia’s order now.

Tremlett is unlikely at this stage to dislodge the pace trio in possession, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan. But he has moved in front of Steve Finn and Graham Onions, both of whom have work to do to be recalled, and he can probably book his passage to Australia this winter.

A spell with Middlesex, while listening to what England want of him, will do Finn good. He may be receiving mixed messages which is never beneficial but at 24 he should be approaching his prime as a fast bowler. He needs to resolve what he wants his run up to be and what it can do for him.

Onions has been a fringe player for England. He played the most recent of his nine Tests 13 months ago after  recovering from a career-threatening back injury but he is destined not to be part of the frontline attack.

England squad: third Ashes test

* For the Old Trafford Test against Australia, starting on Thursday (showing age and number of tests)

A N Cook (capt, Essex) 28 94

J E Root (Yorkshire) 22 8

I J L Trott (Warwickshire) 32 45

K P Pietersen (Surrey) 33 96

I R Bell (Warwickshire) 31 90

J M Bairstow (Yorkshire) 23 10

J W A Taylor (Notts) 23 2

M J Prior (wkt, Sussex)  31 69

T T Bresnan (Yorkshire) 28 19

S C J Broad (Notts) 27 59

G P Swann (Notts)  34   54

J M Anderson (Lancs) 30 84 

M S Panesar (Sussex) 31 48

C T Tremlett (Surrey) 31 11

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own