England must engage Prior for one-day run

Sixteen weeks ago the landscape was somewhat different for Paul Collingwood and England's one-day side. Uplifting series triumphs over India and Sri Lanka, and two comprehensive Twenty20 victories against New Zealand strongly suggested that they were at last going somewhere. It was Michael Vaughan and the Test team, following series defeats against India and Sri Lanka, who were under pressure. Collingwood was being talked about as Vaughan's heir.

Subsequently, the one-day team were thumped in New Zealand and the Test side have won three of their last four matches.

Vaughan is now in excellent touch while Collingwood appears to be playing with a round bat. Peter Moores, the England coach, was right when he said, "things move very quickly in sport."

England's one-day squad, which will be announced this morning, remain in transition with the selectors still trying to find out whether some of the players they have tried in the past year are of international quality. The trial will continue in the coming Twenty20 and one-day matches against New Zealand, but the selectors are nearing decision time.

Major tournaments – the Champions Trophy in September and the Twenty20 World Cup in a year's time – are approaching and England need a settled side containing players who know their role.

The two positions of concern to the selectors are that of the wicketkeeper and spinner. Phil Mustard, the Durham keeper, featured in each of England's winter one-day matches without ever convincing people that his batting was up to the grade.

His glovework was excellent and the ability to stand up to bowlers like Ryan Sidebottom, Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright to keep batsmen in their crease is invaluable.

But, ultimately, Mustard will be judged on his destructive batting at the top of the order. In 10 innings he has passed 50 just once – 83 against New Zealand in Napier. He is an extremely popular member of the side but that and his batting may not be enough to keep him his place.

Tim Ambrose is England's current keeper but if the selectors are looking for a replacement for Mustard they need look no further than Matt Prior, the Sussex gloveman.

Prior is yet to shine for England in one-day cricket – 469 runs at an average of 21.3 in 22 games – but he was unfortunate to be dropped for England's Test tour of New Zealand. Yet rather than go away and feel sorry for himself he has knuckled down and continued dealing in the commodity that causes recalls, namely runs. In this summer's County Championship and Friends Provident Trophy he averages 68 and 53 respectively.

Finding a spinner capable of taking wickets in the middle of an innings is, however, another matter. Graeme Swann is the incumbent but, after a good series in Sri Lanka, he disappointed in New Zealand.

Swann has started the season well for Nottinghamshire and he will probably be given another chance to show he is up to it. Monty Panesar is an option but he needs to add greater variety to his bowling if he is to succeed in one-day cricket.

An hour with Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, would be advisable before he returns home in a month's time. Vettori is a magnificent one-day bowler. The problem for England's selectors is that there are not many alternatives. County cricket is littered with spinning all-rounders who have failed cut it – think Ian Blackwell, Gareth Batty, Chris Schofield, Jamie Dalrymple, Alex Loudon, Jeremy Snape and Paul Grayson.

Kent's James Tredwell, who toured New Zealand with England, could feature, as could Samit Patel, Nottinghamshire's exciting young left-arm spinner. Patel has an excellent record in limited over cricket and has scored six first-class hundreds.

The six matches – a Twenty20 international and five one-dayers – give Owais Shah, Bopara and Wright another chance to impress too.

England are not expected to make any changes to their Test squad for the third Test against New Zealand, but one-day runs will not do their reputations any harm. There is also the small matter of Allen Stanford's multi-million dollar match in Antigua in November. There is much to be gained and lost in the coming weeks.

Angus Fraser's one-day squad

P D Collingwood (c) Dur

J M Anderson Lancs

I R Bell Warwicks

R S Bopara Essex

S C J Broad Notts

A N Cook Essex

A D Mascarenhas Hants

K P Pietersen Hants

M J Prior (wkt) Sussex

O Shah Middx

G P Swann Notts

R J Sidebottom Notts

C T Tremlett Hants

L J Wright Sussex

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
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

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral