The recent performance against a lowly West Indies may give them a false sense of complacence but the English cricketers have been told in clear terms that they should not take their place in the squad for granted.
David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, sought to push Michael Vaughan’s men out of their comfort zone after scoring loads of runs and taking bagful of wickets against the toothless bowling attack and brittle batting order of the West Indies.
Graveney cited the example of Ryan Sidebottom, who emerged out of the blue to claim eight wickets in the Leeds Test to earn a place for himself in the third Test as well. A week before the Leeds Test, hardly anybody knew him outside his club Nottingham.
We are all pleased for Ryan, who has acted as a reminder to the rest of the England players that there is plenty of talent in the domestic game. The Test squad is not a closed shop nor is the performance squad of 25 which we pick at the start of every season. The players are certainly not bomb proof. Perhaps one day we will be in the same position as Australia which has a large number of players competing for a few places.
Graveney’s comments came at a time when it was popular saying that it’s more difficult to get out, than get in, of the England squad.