England safeguard prize assets
England national selector Geoff Miller emphasised the need to manage their resources after picking a strong squad to face Bangladesh at Lord’s this week.
Miller acknowledged the importance of planning for the five-Test Ashes series set to start in Brisbane on November 25, as he explained the reasons behind Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad’s current absence.
Collingwood hurt his left shoulder while leading England to the ICC World Twenty20 title in the Caribbean over the past month, and therefore misses the two-Test series which starts on Thursday.
Pace bowler Broad has been prescribed “strengthening work” and is therefore being rested, with his future workload very much in mind.
In their place, the likes of Eoin Morgan - in line for a Test debut on his home ground - and his Middlesex colleague Steven Finn have a chance to impress.
Yorkshire’s pair of pace-bowling all-rounders Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad, another who would be making his debut, are among the 12-man squad which also includes Matt Prior as wicketkeeper ahead of World Twenty20 sensation Craig Kieswetter.
“It is very intense, international cricket, when you have to be prepared for injury or form issues,” Miller said.
“We have to go to Australia at the end of this year without fatigue, and everybody ready,” added Miller.
“We just have to look after these players, and these [Collingwood and Broad] are the first two we are looking after at the start of the summer.
“I’m sure we have the strength in depth. But it is up to us as the management to make sure we are ready when the time arrives.
“There is a lot of cricket coming up in all formats. We have to be very careful with that.”
The other side of the equation, of course, is that the gaps left by Collingwood and Broad must be filled - and England are making sure they are done so by players of potential.
Finn found himself playing in two Test victories in Bangladesh two months ago, and this time, it is likely to be Morgan who gets his chance in the middle order.
“We need to pick the squad (for the Ashes), and that is why I am always looking to strengthen our resources,” said the national selector.
“We have to find out about these players that we think are of international quality, and this is the start of finding out about one or two.”
Specifically on Morgan, he added: “We have obviously seen much of Eoin’s potential in one-day situations, and we hope he can transfer what he does there into five days.
“He has an opportunity to show us he can do that. We know his strength of character. He now has the chance in the Test format.”