Ashley Giles calls his mate Michael Vaughan 'harsh' for dig at selection
Coach knocks former captain for criticising squad ahead of third ODI against Australia
As players, Ashley Giles and Michael Vaughan were joined at the hip. If one was absent when both were in the England side the other inevitably felt that something was missing. The reunions were almost touching.
But being good pals not only means being able to say you're sorry but also telling each other a home truth or two, and today Giles, now the England one-day coach, informed Vaughan, now one of the classier pundits, that he was not best pleased.
Their disagreement was about the composition of the squad for the NatWest one-day series in which England will attempt to draw level with Australia in the third match at Edgbaston today – though the weather forecast unfortunately is distinctly unpromising. After the opening game was abandoned because of rain, the tourists had a thumping win against a depleted England at Old Trafford on Sunday.
When the squad was announced, Vaughan tweeted that ticket holders should receive a partial refund since five first-choice players were being rested. His implication was that spectators might not have bothered had they known that Alastair Cook, the captain, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson would all be absent along with the injured Tim Bresnan. Giles, however, saw it differently.
"It's harsh – I think it was said in haste by Michael," he said. "This is an exciting side to come and watch. There's Kevin Pietersen, Michael Carberry is an exciting batsman at the top of the order, then you've got Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Steven Finn – there are some good names to watch.
"Then you have the youngsters. I'd hope the cricketing public would want us to bring through some of our young cricketers and expose them to what is almost the harshest of environments, playing Australia."
Giles is correct in this assessment and most spectators would have been aware that rest and rotation was probable after a gruelling Ashes series. The problem, if one exists, lies in the quantity of cricket.
Nobody can expect all players to be made available for every international, for that way lies injury and staleness. England have actually responded reasonably in keeping their middle order intact, while also seizing the opportunity to give a decent run to those who may be pushing for the spare squad places in the World Cup early in 2015. They must be given experience now, not when that tournament begins.
A more pertinent complaint lies in the balance of the side. England were patently a bowler light at Old Trafford and paid for it when James Tredwell was heavily targeted by Australia. They had nowhere to turn for relief.
Something similar may happen again unless they change policy by moving Root up to open the batting with Pietersen. They could then give an opportunity to Chris Jordan, the Sussex fast bowler, who has been rejuvenated this season, or the Somerset tyro Jamie Overton.
Giles said: "You don't get ready-made replacements for Broad, Bresnan, Anderson. So this exposure is crucial. It's hard on these young guys at times because we're asking them to do a lot. But we're asking them to do it because we believe they can. We just never know what's round the corner – whether it be injury, retirements in some cases – so we have to be prepared for everything."
But he did not appear to be for turning about selection immediately, pointing out that it was the balance that almost won England the Champions Trophy back in June. "But when you have inexperience you are going to have to suffer some pain to get some gain, and that's a little bit of what we are looking at."
Third ODI: Details
Probable Edgbaston teams
England K P Pietersen, J E Root, I J L Trott, E J G Morgan (capt), R S Bopara, J C Buttler (wk), B A Stokes, C J Jordan, J C Tredwell, S T Finn, W B Rankin.
Australia S R Watson, S E Marsh, A J Finch, M J Clarke (capt), G J Bailey, A C Voges, M S Wade (wk), J P Faulkner, M G Johnson, C J McKay, Fawad Ahmed.
Umpires A Dar (Pak) & M Gough.
TV 1.30-10.30pm, Sky Sports 1. n Weather Rain all day, becoming heavier. Maximum temperature: 13C.
Odds England 6-5; Australia 4-6.
Sat Fourth ODI, Sophia Gardens.
Mon Fifth ODI, Rose Bowl.
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