Trott to continue as England opener

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Published: Saturday 18th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Peter Moores is happy to give Jonathan Trott another chance to prove he is the answer to England’s opening problems.

Not since Andrew Strauss retired has Alastair Cook had a consistent partner at the head of the innings, with Joe Root, Nick Compton, Michael Carberry and Sam Robson all failing to nail the spot.

Trott made his name for England as a number three, but, after 18 months out battling a case of situational anxiety, has been promoted on his return.

His initial attempts in the drawn first Test in Antigua yielded just four runs in two innings, but, despite having in-form Adam Lyth waiting in the wings, Moores is not inclined to axe the 33-year-old so readily.

“I don’t think you’re looking to change your opening partnership straight away,” said Moores ahead of the squad’s flight to Grenada for Tuesday’s second Test.

“I think Trott has earned his right to get a go. He’s come back into our squad and we’ve watched him play and we can see he is really hungry and playing nicely.

“He’s been done by the swinging ball, so he’s working hard to get past that challenge, which will be there in Grenada and that is not going to change.

“But what we know about Trott is that once he gets in, he has that fierce determination and concentration to make people pay and that is one of his great strengths as a player.

“I think if you take it in the whole context, that first game back was always going to be quite a tough one. But he’s back in and he’s got a good chance to go and show what he’s got.

“This is a player we’ve all watched play some brilliant innings for England and I think now is his chance to come back and show he’s still got that.”

One change Moores would be inclined to make is the addition of all-rounder Moeen Ali.

He was not fit enough to start the tour after suffering an abdominal strain at the World Cup, but has been called up to the squad and will join them on Saturday.

Having played just one Championship match for Worcestershire, Moeen will be put through his paces to make sure he is ready for five days of international cricket.

But if that goes well, he can expect to come into the side, possibly in place of James Tredwell, who strained his arm diving for a catch late on the final day in Antigua.

“Certainly, Mo is one of the key players for us,” said Moores.

“He had a fantastic summer last year and a good winter.

“Mo is very much part of our plans. We have to check where he is at because he’s had this stomach strain but Mo feels very good about it.

“Tredwell’s got a niggle in his arm, diving for the catch that came off Gary (Ballance)’s boot. He stretched quite a lot for that.

“We’ll see how he scrubs up over the next couple of days and see if he’s available for the next Test.”

If they did not know it before the series opener, England are now certain that the West Indies will be no pushover in their own back yard.

That realisation is at odds with the words of incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves, who wrote off the islanders as “mediocre” before the tour began.

Jason Holder was anything but mediocre when compiling a match-saving maiden century at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, while the unresponsive nature of the pitch as England pushed for a last-day victory was a warning for the next two games.

Moores, having seen his side scrape together five wickets of the required eight on Friday, will now ponder how to bowl out a side twice should the next two tracks be equally stubborn.

“The first Test was all about whether you could get the ball to move laterally or not. It got harder and harder,” he said.

“They got the ball to swing more than we did up front. It’s an area we’ll look at to see if we can get some more out of the ball – the new ball’s very important to the shape of the game.

“You were really testing out your skills to get it off the straight. Our guys ran in and did their stuff but we couldn’t get it going sideways.

“If there was more in the surface, they’d have got more out of it.”

Published: Saturday 18th April 2015 by The News Editor

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