If Adam Lyth hadn’t already done enough to win his spot at the top of the England batting order for the West Indies Tour, he rammed home his claims in Dubai this week.
You’d think scores of 113 and 46no in Yorkshire’s season-opening win against the MCC, who included England skipper Alastair Cook, would be enough for Lyth to get his big chance.
But this is the ECB we are dealing with here, you never know what they are going to do.
Under-fire and out-of-sorts Cook hit a total of eight runs in his two knocks for the MCC, while the former Scarborough man continued to make run-scoring look easy.
I shouldn’t have been, but I was very surprised to see Lyth’s name in the squad last week.
It appeared his face didn’t fit with the ECB bigwigs, but they have finally given him his deserved chance.
It appears he is vying with troubled Warwickshire man Jonathan Trott to open up with Cook for the First Test in Antigua on April 13.
For me, Trott is lucky to be given the chance to prove his mental strength at the highest level of cricket.
He showed that when the chips were down that he didn’t have the necessary resolve to play Test Match cricket, and with the buoyant Australians due on these shores for the Ashes later this year, his selection could prove a big mistake.
I was very surprised to see James Taylor miss out on a place in the squad, while the injury to Moeen Ali is undoubtedly a blow.
Cook, Lyth, Bell, Ballance, Root, Stokes, Buttler, Rashid, Broad, Jordan, AndersonDaniel Gregory’s England XI
I still wouldn’t have included Jonathan Trott and he can count himself lucky to be on the plane to the Caribbean.
From the squad that has been selected, the players who I would leave out would be Trott, James Tredwell, Liam Plunkett and Jonathan Bairstow.
The time has come for Lyth’s Yorkshire teammate Adil Rashid to cement his place in the England side.
He has shown promise for many years, he is a much better option than Tredwell, although the latter is the safer choice (the ECB often play it safe with selection), so don’t be surprised to see Rashid carrying the water.
I have to confess that I know very little of Durham pace-man Mark Wood, and I’d back Jordan to net the third and last slot in the bowling line-up alongside Stuart Broad and James Anderson over Plunkett.
Steven Finn should be in there and can count himself unlucky alongside Taylor to miss out. Both would be in my XI instead of Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan.
Do you agree with Daniel’s team? Tweet @mrdanielgregory with your XI.