Batty back in the frame as England look to seal series

Gareth Batty looks set to complete a memorable hat-trick tomorrow. The Worcestershire all-rounder celebrated yesterday's call up into England's Champions Trophy party by scoring a maiden first-class century against Surrey at the Brit Oval. And further good news should come his way when David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, announces England's squad for the third npower Test at Old Trafford.

Batty made the last of his five Test appearances against the West Indies in April but unfortunately that match will not be remembered for his well flighted off-breaks. In Antigua the 26-year-old did become part of history; it was off his bowling that Brian Lara scored his 400th run. Batty and other members of Michael Vaughan's side will be hoping that the coming Test match does not inspire Lara in the same way.

The Yorkshireman returned to England with the unflattering figures of 2-185 but this has not stopped him performing with distinction for his county. Batty has taken over 40 wickets in the County Championship this season as well as averaging over 30 with the bat. England will wait until they have assessed the state of the Old Trafford pitch before they decide on their final 11 but Batty's selection for this match will confirm him as Ashley Giles' number two.

After comprehensively beating the West Indies for the second time in a row last week in Birmingham, England have little reason to change their side although there could be a case for Simon Jones replacing James Anderson on Thursday morning. The pitch at Old Trafford has traditionally offered reverse swing rather than conventional swing for the quicker bowlers and this may tempt the selectors to pick Jones ahead of the local boy.

Jones has had an interesting week since being left out of England's starting 11 at Edgbaston. This made the fast bowler available for his county but Glamorgan, controversially, chose to select bowlers who were playing for them regularly in their championship match against Hampshire, ahead of a centrally contracted player who is occasionally available.

This club versus country situation caused outcry in many sections of the media, who felt that Glamorgan should have been told that they had to play Jones in the match. Giving Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, power to withdraw players from county matches is fair enough but I do not think he should be allowed to force an individual on a county against their will. A county's main objective is to produce Test cricketers but they should not have to select players when they do not want them.

This left Jones in a horrible position but he produced the best possible response when he took five wickets for Glamorgan in this week's four-day game against Somerset. At the end of the first day's play it appeared as though the Welsh side's decision to leave him out was vindicated - Jones had figures of 0-46 off six overs. But the paceman came back strongly and his bowling on Wednesday, on a pitch not too dissimilar to that on which England will play next week, which will encourage the selectors to return to him.

Mark Butcher would have been the only other item on the selectors' agenda. The Surrey opener yesterday declared himself fit for today's Twenty20 finals day in Birmingham but this is unlikely to convince the selectors that he merits a recall. Butcher suffered whiplash in a car accident before the Lord's Test as he was travelling for treatment on a thigh strain. Both injuries have taken longer than expected to mend and the 31-year-old may now have to wait until England's winter tour of South Africa before he starts putting Robert Key under pressure.

Whilst England remain spoilt for options, the West Indies have a major task ahead of them if they are to avoid a whitewash in this four-Test series. Their captain Brian Lara has received plenty of criticism for their performances to date but an incident on the final morning of the Lord's Test highlighted how naive some of their squad are.

Whilst making their way across the ground before the start of play, with the covers on and rain falling, one of Lara's team-mates sidled up to him and asked whether the Duckworth/Lewis method would be used to reduce the total set by England. It is a sweet story but it shows the size of the problem facing West Indian cricket.

Old Trafford the squads

Possible England squad: M P Vaughan (capt), M E Trescothick, A J Strauss, R W T Key, G P Thorpe, A Flintoff, G O Jones, A F Giles, M J Hoggard, S J Harmison, J M Anderson, S P Jones, G J Batty.

West Indies (probable): B C Lara (capt), C H Gayle, D S Smith, R R Sarwan, S Chanderpaul, D J J Bravo, R D Jacobs, O A C Banks, C Collymore, P T Collins, J Lawson.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'