Key must try to lock out Thorpe and Trescothick

Myles Hodgson
Monday 16 December 2013 04:40
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Robert Key will become England's latest opening batsman today, knowing he has the daunting task of trying to oust more established names from the Test line-up before this winter's Ashes.

The Kent batsman has earned his call-up after an outstanding summer at county level, averaging 44 from his 12 first-class matches, and a thumb injury to Marcus Trescothick which has ruled him out for most of the season.

With Trescothick unlikely to feature in the remaining three Tests against India, beginning with the second Test which starts today at at Trent Bridge, Key has until the end of the season to impress the selectors.

Trescothick should have recovered to take his place in the tour party, but the long-term future of Graham Thorpe, who has announced his decision to take a complete break from cricket, is less predictable.

"It's a lucky opportunity for me," Key said. "Marcus and Graham Thorpe are among the best players around at the moment and for him [Trescothick] not to play because of his injury is unfortunate.

"I'm going to be going out there doing my best and trying to keep guys like him and Graham Thorpe out of the side, trying to give the selectors a dilemma when these guys are fit for selection."

England are also set to give a debut to Stephen Harmison. The Durham fast bowler, selected for four England squads without making the starting line-up two years ago against Zimbabwe and the West Indies, is hoping to replace Simon Jones after the Glamorgan fast bowler sustained a side strain.

Jones is expected to be out for two weeks but hopes to return for Glamorgan in their Championship match against Durham on 16 August, giving him an outside chance of a recall for the third Test at Headingley six days later.

"It feels good to be back, but it will be better if I actually get a game," said Harmison. "Conditions in the past meant I didn't get a chance."

"At start of the season I was being bandied about as being the one bowler from the Academy that could go on and play Test cricket this summer.

"But Simon got there first. I spent some time with him in Australia and what he did was a breath of fresh air for English cricket."

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