Boyd Rankin deserves NatWest Series chance, says Sir Ian Botham
Seamer Boyd Rankin deserves a chance to impress in the NatWest Series, says Sir Ian Botham.
Last Updated: 06/09/13 4:11pm
Captain Alastair Cook, batsman Ian Bell and bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann have all been rested in the wake of this summer's 3-0 Test victory over Australia.
They will play no part in the five-match 50-over series, which began with a false start on Friday as the opening game at Headingley was washed out by rain.
Instead the selectors have chosen to put their faith in seamers Chris Jordan and Jamie Overton - both included in an England senior squad for the first time - as well as Michael Carberry, Gary Ballance and Boyd Rankin, who made their England ODI debuts in Tuesday's six-wicket win over Ireland.
Looking ahead to the second ODI at Old Trafford, coverage of which begins at 9.30am on Sunday on Sky Sports 1, Botham told Sky Cricket that England are right to ring the changes.
"I think it's a great opportunity for a lot of players in these one-dayers and I agree with England resting some of their key players because they've had a lot of cricket," he said.
"The other thing is that we don't want to fall into the same hole that Australia have put themselves in by having nine or so players going out of a team in a two-three year period.
"I think England are actually looking and thinking 'do our senior players need to play this format of the game - let's give these guys a chance'.
"Australia might have the edge in this series but England might just scrape it because they are at home. It will be much tighter than the Test series."
England's new boys enjoyed contrasting fortunes in Dublin earlier in the week with Ballance making a duck and Carberry just 10 after dropping two catches in the field.
However, Londonderry-born Rankin returned figures of 4-46 - including the key wicket of Ireland skipper Will Porterfield (112) - to press his claims for a NatWest Series place.
"He's a big unit and he's strong," Botham said of Rankin, who played his last ODI for Ireland in February 2012. "With the right help and guidance, which he'll get, I think he's got real potential.
"He's no spring chicken - he's been around a little while - so he's learnt his trade and come up through the ranks.
"I think the lad deserves a chance; you don't get many 'giants' who come in and try to bowl quick. I think it's great to see him in there. Give him a go!"
Fellow pundit Michael Holding added: "He'll be looking to see if he can do as well against a team like Australia as he did against Ireland. He should be able to build on that.
"He doesn't seem to be a bad bowler - he seems to have pretty good control, which is what you need in this form of the game.
"You can afford to spray the ball around a little bit more in Test match cricket because you'll get a chance of coming back at a particular batsman; you are not going to lose a Test in an over."