Cricket Expert & Columnist
Scotland v England: Harry Gurney is a very high-regarded performer
Left-armer's angle will pose different questions of opposition...
Last Updated: 02/05/14 4:04pm
Nottinghamshire left-armer Gurney was named in a 13-man squad - the first of Peter Moores' second reign as head coach - for next Friday's one-day international against Scotland.
The 27-year-old - who has taken 12 County Championship wickets at 31 runs apiece so this season - toured the West Indies earlier this year but is likely to start behind fellow seamers James Anderson and Chris Jordan in the pecking order.
However former England captain and fast bowler Willis says Gurney's prospects could be helped by the appointment of Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell as an England selector.
"Gurney offers something different," said Willis. "He hasn't had a revolutionary start to the season for Nottinghamshire but he is a very highly-regarded performer.
"That different angle that he provides is very important. We've seen players - Mitchell Johnson being a case in point - have success bowling over or around the wicket; that is something that Gurney can do as well.
"He may have to wait his chance behind some of the more experienced players but I do think that, particularly with Mick Newell now as a selector, that he's got a decent chance of getting in.
"That shouldn't have an impact but it certainly happened in the case of Ashley Giles - we saw most of Warwickshire's getting an opportunity for England.
"So although they may not be meaning to do it, the likes of Angus Fraser and Mick Newell - who see a lot of the Middlesex and Nottinghamshire players respectively - will have those players in the back of their mind."
Moores named his squad on the same day as it was announced that former England skipper Graham Gooch had been axed as batting coach.
No replacement has yet been named, although one-day batting coach Graham Thorpe and Mark Ramprakash have both been linked to the job - but Willis is of the opinion that it is not necessary to appoint a successor.
"I don't believe they do," he said. "I would have thought that having reappointed Peter Moores in the top job and then having hooked Paul Farbrace away from Sri Lanka, that should be enough expertise to carry England through to the next Ashes series.
"I remember there being 36 people in the team photo before the tour of Australia - 17 players and 19 back up staff. I think Peter Moores has got to trim that number down.
"These players have got to start thinking for themselves - that's what has been missing because when the pressure has been on and they've been put in tight situations, they've been so molly-coddled by these backroom staff that they haven't been thinking for themselves all of the time."
On Gooch, he added: "I feel a bit sorry for Graham - having played a lot of my career alongside him I know how dedicated a man he is, both when he was a player and obviously as a coach for England.
"But I think after the drubbing in the winter heads had to roll and Peter Moores wants to start afresh and turn over a new leaf and Gooch, like Ashley Giles, will be a victim of that one man - Mitchell Johnson, who has shaken England cricket to the core.
"We've seen Andy Flower go, Ashley Giles, now Graham Gooch so things are going to be very fresh and very different for England going into this summer."
Watch Scotland v England live from 10am on Sky Sports 2 on Friday May 9.