Cricket Expert & Columnist
England v Sri Lanka: Tymal Mills must be vying for Test selection
I wouldn't be against saying 'have one game, go and play...'
Last Updated: 06/05/14 5:10pm
Fresh from assessing England's batting options, our selection panel - featuring Ashley Giles, Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton and Paul Allott - convened to name the bowling unit they think should take the field against Sri Lanka and India.
Here are their thoughts...
Nasser: England's bowling, historically, has been very good over the last few years - even in the Ashes. But I'd like to go with five bowlers now because there is no Graeme Swann. Ben Stokes joins Anderson and Broad as a definite selection if he is fit. Your number eight has to be a bowler who bats - you can't go back to the old days of having four No 11s coming in after your number seven.
Paul: I'd go with those three and I'd have to have a look at Chris Jordan as a third seamer. I'm not sure I would pick a spinner. I'd probably have to go for somebody who does something different with the ball - maybe a left-armer. I also want some pace in the attack. I was looking at Tymal Mills before he picked up that side strain. Steven Finn used to have pace but I believe he's not bowling as quick as he has done. We haven't got a top-class spinner to add variety so I think it has got to be from the pace department.
Athers: Stokes had an outstanding start in Australia with the bat and looks a very likely contender as a third or fourth seamer. I'd have to say that Monty Panesar is a certain pick as a spinner because I can't see any other spinner on the horizon and you know you've got an absolutely reliable spinner there in him.
Giles: It's unusual for the cupboard to be this bare. I think they've got three options. They can take the safer route and pick Panesar, the most experienced spin bowler in the country. I don't think he's been near his best for quite a while. The second option is the more risky and that's to go to the bowler you consider your next best attacking spinner - and that's probably still Simon Kerrigan. He had a nightmare on debut but might perform better with Peter Moores as coach because they know each other well. The third option is to play Moeen Ali as a spinner who also bats; if Stokes isn't fit, that might be the way to go with Moeen batting at six and bowling some overs.
Joe Root can bowl; he always lands the ball in pretty much the right place but I think he's much more effective in one-day cricket. He's not a big spinner of the ball but he can come on and do you a job. Moeen does spin it and has been working on bowling a doosra. I think England might go for Moeen Ali with a bit of Root as back-up.
Steven Finn has taken 26 Championship wickets for Middlesex already but is he ready to return?
Giles: I described him as 'un-selectable' during this winter's one-day series against Australia because he was struggling for confidence, form and it was the right decision. He has clearly started this season very, very well and he's clearly a big part of England's future going forward. He can be expensive but that doesn't matter to me - if you are playing four seamers; all that matters is that he gets wickets. But at the moment I would leave him where he is - I would let him stay with Middlesex so he can keep gaining that confidence but he will play Test cricket again.
Athers: I had the impression that Steven wasn't bowling that quickly when I saw him bowling for Middlesex at Lord's. I'm not worried about how expensive he might be providing that he's winging it down at around about 90mph. I also think it's very difficult for the selectors to say to him 'in you come' after a winter when he's been sat on his backside. You have to deserve your selection and work hard to get back into the England team. But he's got a lot of potential and a bright future.
Paul: Tymal Mills is a wildcard pick at the moment but he's got the attributes that we are looking for - he's quick and he's also got the added bonus of being a left-armer. He's got a big build so I think he's probably got heaps of stamina. There are one or two question marks about the niggling injuries he's got but he's very aggressive and makes batsmen uncomfortable. Mills has the potential to do the same thing for England as Mitchell Johnson has done for Australia.
Giles: Picking Mills would be a real leap of faith and I don't think the timing is right. He's an exciting prospect for the future. But when you are considering someone for the team you look at the overall package. What sort of character has the guy got? Is he ready? Has he got some experience? Is there evidence of how he performs under pressure? Mills is definitely the future - as is someone like Jamie Overton. Stuart Meaker probably falls in that bracket as well.
Nasser: England fans want to see something different after this winter - someone with a bit of pace who can rough up the opposition. Mills bowled pretty well and pretty quick against England last year in what was a pressure game for him. I wouldn't be against saying 'have one game, go and play'.
Giles: Jordan has had a fabulous winter and can bowl quickly - plus he can bat and field. For me he would get the nod as the third frontline seamer with Ben Stokes behind him. He's done brilliantly down at Sussex and Mark Robinson has obviously worked very well with him. You can't help but love Chris Jordan. He's very professional for his age. He's still relatively inexperienced in the first-class game but he offers you really good control too.
Nasser: It has got to be Jordan or Bresnan but I don't think you can get both in. Bresnan is a very fine cricketer but I feel that in a year's time he will be the same cricketer, whereas Chris Jordan will continue to develop. He's a better investment for the future. Liam Plunkett hasn't done enough yet to get in.
Giles: You can't forget Plunkett - just as you can't forget Bresnan or Chris Woakes. He probably comes into it a little bit more if someone like Stokes isn't fit. Woakes' stats with ball and bat are fantastic but we haven't seen him at his best for England, in one-day internationals or his one Test. I think he's a better red-ball bowler than a white-ball bowler. I think he's matured and put on a yard this year. So the cupboard isn't bare but I agree with Nass, Chris Jordan is my man.
Watch England's one-day international against Scotland from 10am this Friday on Sky Sports 2. See England take on World Twenty20 Champions Sri Lanka - live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm on May 20 - before the first of five live ODIs between the teams hits your screen at 12.30pm on Sky Sports 2 on May 22.