Competition for places makes Giles smile
Ashley Giles is happy to have hard selection decisions to make on the limited-overs tour of New Zealand.
The performances of the likes of Jos Buttler and James Tredwell in the 3-2 one-day series loss to India have posed questions for Giles with some senior players about to return from being rested.
Among them are Jonny Bairstow, a rival to Buttler for the wicketkeeping gloves who missed this month’s rubber on compassionate grounds, and Graeme Swann, England’s first-choice spinner who has recently been given stiff competition by Tredwell.
Buttler kept adeptly in the last two one-day internationals, having taken the gloves from the out-of-form Craig Kieswetter, and off-spinner Tredwell was the series’ leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps.
“It’s those sort of headaches, they’re good headaches,” ODI and T20 head coach Giles said in Dharamsala before the tourists left India today, some bound for New Zealand and others for England.
“Jos Buttler’s kept really well these two games. I mean that in he’s pretty much gone unnoticed and that’s a good sign for a wicketkeeper. And he’s got a lot of ability with the bat and so has Bairstow.
“Competition’s great. Look at Tredwell. He’s had a fantastic series here and Graeme Swann’s going to be back in New Zealand. There’s some tough decisions to make, but the most important thing is it’s a squad effort that we go out and try and win in New Zealand.”
Besides Bairstow and Swann, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Jonathan Trott are available to Giles for three ODIs while Twenty20 skipper Broad is set to return from injury in three T20 internationals before.
“It’ll be nice for me because I’ve got some senior players coming back, some going,” added Giles, who is without the rested Kevin Pietersen and Tim Bresnan.
“There’s the T20 first and just to get a taster of all the different individuals. And certainly with some of the big bowlers coming back, it should be interesting times in New Zealand.”
Giles will not underestimate the Black Caps, who last week beat hosts South Africa 2-1 in ODIs, as he looks ahead to June’s Champions Trophy in England.
“We’ve got to be gearing up towards the Champions Trophy,” he said.
“Of course in the short term we’ve still got series in New Zealand and against New Zealand at home. And they look a good side. They’ve just gone to South Africa and beaten them.
“We’re going to have to be on our A-game again to take them on in New Zealand. Certainly when we go there we’ll be looking at our different strategies, different sides, different balance of sides so there’s still a lot to think about and a lot to do.”