With the sudden retirement of Graeme Swann and the controversial axing of Kevin Pietersen, England’s One-Day team is going to look very different for the tour to the West Indies and for the World Twenty20 Competition.
James Whitaker’s first squad selection has included the likes of Moeen Ali, Stephen Parry and Harry Gurney, all of which are set to make their debuts in the Caribbean at the end of the month. It’s clear that England are trying to indicate that they are moving into a new era with these selections.
Moeen Ali has been on England’s radar for a number of seasons. The 26-year-old Worcestershire batsman, who bowls very handy off spin, has heavily impressed during The Pears’ one-day campaigns, and last season he was his sides 3rd highest run-scorer and the 2nd highest wicket-taker in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition.
Ali will be the second member of his family to represent England (at senior level, he was an England U19 captain) after his cousin Kabir Ali, and has been with the England Lions/England Performance Programme all winter in Australia and Sri Lanka.
Stephen Parry’s inclusion was a lot more unexpected to say the least. Parry is an integral part of Lancashire’s one-day unit and has claimed 63 T20 wickets at an economy of 6.86 but I, like many others, thought he was the second best spinner at the Red Rose county behind Simon Kerrigan. However, it seems that Kerrigan’s woeful test debut has put the left-arm spinner a long way down the pecking order.
Perhaps the 28-year-old is the answer to England spin woes as of late? In the last seven months, six (eight if Root and Pietersen count) spinners have bowled for England in any format of the game; Swann, Kerrigan, Panesar, Tredwell, Briggs, Borthwick.
The other selection is Nottinghamshire’s left-arm quick Harry Gurney, who has only been included in the squad to tour to the West Indies later this month. The fact that he was flown to Australia at the start of the Ashes, alongside fellow left arm seamer Tymal Mills, to bowl at the England test batsmen shows that Gurney is very much in the thoughts of the England selectors.
Gurney, one of Nottinghamshire’s many stolen players from Leicestershire (I’m not bitter, I swear), took 18 wickets in the 2013 Yorkshire Bank 40 competition and helped the Outlaws to their first trophy in more than two decades. His most dangerous trait is his left-handedness, some of the best one-day bowlers in the world right now are left-handed seamers (Boult, Wagner, Junaid Khan, Johnson, Faulkner) and it is proving to be a nuisance for batsmen to face.