Cricket Expert & Columnist
The Ashes: Pick James Taylor if Kevin Pietersen isn't fit, says Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain says England should pick James Taylor if Kevin Pietersen isn't fit for the third Test.
Last Updated: 26/07/13 12:25pm
Pietersen's participation in next week's clash against Australia at Old Trafford is in doubt after he failed to take the field for the final day of England's 347-run win at Lord's due to a left calf strain.
While England continue to monitor the 33-year-old's fitness, Nottinghamshire's Taylor - who scored 48 runs in his three Test innings against South Africa last summer - has been granted permission to play for Sussex in the three-day game against Australia.
Former England captain Hussain, part of the Sky Cricket commentary team, says he believes that Taylor is the right man to come in if Pietersen fails to prove his fitness.
"Usually England say it could be one of four or five players but Graham Gooch did an interview with us during the last Test and [when asked about Pietersen] he only put forward Taylor's name [as a possible replacement]," said Hussain.
"So the way England are playing it - and the fact that he is going to play against the Australians - makes it look as though it will be Taylor.
"He played pretty well against South Africa but they completely discarded him after Headingley.
"I think he's a pretty good player, to be honest. If you look at his stats, he's playing division one cricket for a really good county in Nottinghamshire, he's done very well. If you don't pick someone like him then it reflects badly on county cricket.
"Taylor is the next cab off the rank and he should be given a go. The days of just playing someone in two or three Tests have gone. If he was good enough a few months ago, he's good enough now."
Australia - who now need to win all of the remaining three Tests to regain the Ashes - have rung the changes for the tour match at Hove, handing the captaincy to Ed Cowan, who was dropped for the Lord's Test.
As well as giving Michael Clarke the game off, the tourists have opted to rest vice-captain Brad Haddin, seamers Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, as well as openers Shane Watson and Chris Rogers.
Watson's place in the Test team has come under particular scrutiny as the right-hander has fallen lbw in three of his four innings and Hussain told Sky Sports News that the batsman is better off working on his technical issues in the nets than playing against Sussex.
"I think it's the right thing to do. Before the Test matches, Watson was smacking the counties around and looked in great form," said Hussain.
"If he was just getting out in a load of different ways then he should play and get the fluency of batting. But he looks fluent until he gets the delivery that nips back into him and he ends up playing all across his front pad.
"I think he does need to spend some time away from the middle. The middle is a hard place to work out a technical failing. He needs to sort it out but it won't be easy because England will attack him again in a week's time at Old Trafford.
"Australia have also done the right thing in resting their bowlers, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle in particular, but they need to try and sort out their batting line-up."
The changes mean that rookie off-spinner Ashton Turner could make his first-class debut for Australia at Hove, while seamers Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird and James Faulkner will vie to fill the Test spot vacated by James Pattinson, whose tour is over after he sustained a stress fracture of the back.
Meanwhile David Warner, who was sent to South Africa with Australia A to find some form after he was suspended for punching England's Joe Root in a bar last month, has pressed his claims for a full recall by striking a century against South Africa A.
"Australia are at sixes and sevens, aren't they?" said Sky Cricket pundit David Lloyd.
"They are looking to replace James Pattinson and that is tough because he's a very impressive young fella and I'd say he's their best bowler. So they need a pace bowler to come in. Will it be Mitchell Starc again or will they go for Jackson Bird?
"They said that David Warner would go across to South Africa to get some time in the middle, score runs and then come back.
"He's batted at No 4 and he's scored 193, so I'd expect him to come back into the side as well - for anyone they want!
"Everyone's ridiculing myself and Botham for saying England will beat Australia 10-0 over the two series - and Australia might well get a draw here at Old Trafford because this is a flat pitch - but I've seen nothing so far to make me change my mind."
Watch the third Ashes Test between England and Australia from 10am on Thursday, August 1 on Sky Sports Ashes HD.