England's absent match-winners

Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 by Celia in Labels: , , , ,

England proved at the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 that they are happy to make late changes to selection plans for this format, if not others. Impressed by the power hitting of Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter in a warm-up match between England and their shadow team, the pair were installed as opening partners on the eve of an event they played a big part in England winning.

It is for this reason that plenty of county players would have been hopeful when the squad for Sri Lanka was announced last month. But in fact the squad contained no surprises, with the memory of the struggles experienced by domestic T20 specialists in the inaugural event in 2007 perhaps still fresh. Nonetheless, some men will be justifiably disappointed at being left out.

Kevin Pietersen is the most notable absentee, but there are others who have T20 records that demand respect. Only four men have scored more T20 runs than Owais Shah, with a fare bulk of this 3,952-run haul coming in the IPL. Such experience in conditions that will be similar in Sri Lanka should be hard to ignore and would have an impact on the T20 World cup betting, but the selectors see T20 as a young man's game and were never likely to go back to an unathletic player, dropped three years ago, who turns 34 next month.

This mindset is highlighted by the presence of Danny Briggs in the squad. The 21-year-old slow left-armer is uncapped at T20 level, but did make a favourable impression in his sole One Day International appearance, against Pakistan in February and undoubtedly has a bright international future ahead of him.

However, he has been no more than a solid performer in Hampshire's successful T20 team this year and is perhaps fortunate to get the nod ahead of the more experienced Gareth Batty and James Tredwell, who also have superior batting in their favour. Fellow stalwarts Chris Nash and Dimitri Mascarenhas have again impressed this year, but the selectors are largely loyal to the players who have served Stuart Broad pretty well in recent months.