Andrew Strauss feels Michael Carberry worthy of first Ashes Test start
Andrew Strauss feels Michael Carberry deserves the chance to open alongside Alastair Cook in the first Ashes Test.
Last Updated: 07/11/13 12:28pm
Strauss and Cook enjoyed some fruitful partnerships at the top of the England order until his retirement in 2012 but as yet no consistent replacement for the Middlesex stalwart has been found.
Hampshire opener Carberry has been in the Test wilderness since 2010, when he toured Bangladesh, but his form towards the end of the domestic season was enough to earn him a place in the Ashes squad.
He has proved selectors right in two innings so far, scoring 78 against the Western Australia Chairman's XI last week and contributing 153 in an unbroken 318-run stand in the rain-affected clash with Australia A in Hobart.
"Having Michael come in and get some runs is quite significant for the team. I think you can start pencilling his name into the starting team-sheet," Strauss said.
"Things are starting to get clearer for England which is important prior to that first Test.
"He's a very experienced cricketer who has been around for a long time, he's got a good back-foot game. It's a bit of a step into the unknown and opening the batting in Australia is pretty tough.
"Alastair and I always said we should get paid more than everyone else, but he's a strong player who can play shots all around the wicket, plays spin well and he's been waiting a long time for this chance.
"He's been stuck for a while behind Alastair and myself, which was bad timing in a way, and he's had some health issues. Nick Compton got an opportunity and he's still been waiting."
Picking Carberry would mean Joe Root moving down to a position in the middle order but Strauss feels that could prove to be another positive, both for the team and player.
"Joe Root is a young guy, he's still part of the side and he's had a phenomenal start to his career. He'll be very motivated to show his qualities and they are obvious to me," he said.
"Either opening or batting at No 5, Joe is an outstanding cricketer. It's his first tour of Australia, a learning experience and in some ways it's easier for him to be doing that down the order."
Strauss is also convinced Cook will have a far better series in Australia than he did at home, when he appeared to struggle outside his off-stump and failed to make any big scores after a number of starts.
"Alastair's had a lot on his shoulders. He had a back injury in the run-up to that game, didn't have the best series with the bat in the last Ashes series, so this was a good reminder of the world class batsman he is," Strauss added.
"It will make him feel better about himself, no doubt."