From a county's point of view, signing a current England international is always something of a risk. The issue is one of availability, and in signing James Taylor, Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell has acknowledged he is putting a certain amount of faith in the form and fitness of the Test side's current batting line-up.
"I think James will play for England, it's simply a case of when, but with the Test team being fairly settled, we're hoping to get some good cricket out of him for at least a couple of years," said Newell, when the 21-year-old made his first appearance at Trent Bridge since moving from Leicestershire.
The odds favour Nottinghamshire getting good value. Talented though Taylor is, it is going to take a considerable weight of runs for him to stand a chance of displacing Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen or Eoin Morgan in England's middle order. Not easy to produce at a ground with a reputation for being kinder to bowlers, but that's the general idea, according to Taylor.
"I thought long and hard about the kind of wicket I wanted to be playing on," said Taylor, who confirmed he also talked to Warwickshire and Lancashire. "If I can score runs on a wicket people perceive to be bowler-friendly, it looks even better. My main ambition is to play for England and scoring big runs in those circumstances is only going to look good. But the Trent Bridge wicket is good enough, and I'm sure that in the four-day games the pace and bounce will help my game."
Taylor's reappointment as England Lions captain for the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh is another positive after a summer during which his somewhat patchy championship form – 889 runs at 38.65 in 13 matches – was offset by his performances in one-day cricket.
"If you look at my stats I score more heavily when I'm captaining a side, so I'm really looking forward to having the added responsibility because I'm sure it helps my game," Taylor said.
The Lions squad includes a number of players, like Taylor, who have already played for England. "It's a young squad, but most of us have played a lot of cricket. The fact there's also a game against the full England side [in Abu Dhabi in February] is a great opportunity. If we beat them, that would be great."
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