Twenty20 experience crucial - Miller
Geoff Miller spoke to ECBtv after naming the squad
Geoff Miller claims Ravi Bopara and Michael Yardy’s increased exposure to 20-over cricket will stand England in good stead in the World Twenty20.
Bopara and Yardy were two of the most notable inclusions in England’s final 15-man squad for the tournament in the Caribbean, which was announced today.
Bopara returns to the international fold after being overlooked for one-day duty in South Africa before Christmas, while fellow all-rounder Yardy has not played for his country since 2007.
While Yardy led English domestic Twenty20 champions Sussex in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 last year, Bopara is currently enjoying a second spell in the Indian Premier League with Kings XI Punjab after helping Auckland reach the final of the New Zealand Twenty20 competition during a winter overseas.
Such experience is vital, according to national selector Miller, who told ECBtv: “Ravi went out to New Zealand and is now in the IPL, (where) he started with a flourish.
“Ravi was left out last year. He understood the reason why, was accepting of the reason why. He went away and developed his game, worked on his disciplines.
“The experience of this Twenty against the top players... he will come back far more experienced and passing that knowledge on to our squad.”
That Yardy featured in a squad also containing uncapped Hampshire batsman Michael Lumb and Somerset wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter owed much to improvements Miller and his fellow selectors have noted in his game.
Yardy has not figured in the England reckoning since winning six one-day and three Twenty20 caps in 2006 and 2007, but his leadership of Sussex, allied to his left-arm credentials, helped earn him a recall that surprised some observers.
“He’s developed his game from when he first played,” added Miller. “He’s captain of Sussex, played in the (Champions League), understands the game inside out, understands his game.
“There’s the left-arm spin aspect - the top three one-day bowlers in the world (Daniel Vettori, Shakib Al Hasan and Ray Price) are all left-arm spinners - that is a vital aspect.
“He can alter his game accordingly, playing down the order if necessary, and merited his inclusion on his performances for Sussex.”
Miller harbours high hopes for England in the Caribbean - the competition gets under way on April 30 - but only if they perform to their potential.
Asked if England can succeed, he said: “Definitely. We’ve got players that are inventive, creative, aggressive, positive - if that’s not Twenty20 from a batting point of view, then I’m not sure what is.
“We’ve got strength in depth with the bat, we’ve got variations with the ball and we are now a more than useful fielding side as well, so it all looks good.
“We’ve got players who can take a game by the scruff of the neck. It’s about making sure that somebody puts in a match-winning performance, with bat or ball. We’ve got players from one to 11 who are capable of doing that.”