Ian Chappell has suggested England to include Dawid Malan and James Vince in their Ashes squad that will tour Australia later this year, citing their experience in the last tour as one of the reasons for their selection. Chappell also criticised Australia for not developing their bench strength.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell wants England to include the batting duo of Dawid Malan and James Vince in the Ashes series to played later this year. Both the batsmen received a surprise call-up in England's reformed ODI squad against Pakistan after a Covid outbreak in the senior camp forced the ECB to name a completely new squad. While Malan struck an unbeaten fifty in the first ODI, Vince struck a fifty in the 2nd and a maiden international century in the third.
Malan and Vince have played 15 and 13 Tests respectively and were regular Test players for England until 2018. Both the players were part of England's squad that toured Australia in 2017-18 for the Ashes where Malan was the highest run-scorer for England with 383 runs from five matches. Chappell believes the pair could replace England Test openers Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley, who have struggled with their techniques both home and away.
"On that score, though, the forced selection of a whole new squad for the Pakistan series may turn out to be a blessing. I'm not convinced that Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, with their dubious techniques and quirky habits, will have much success against a thoroughbred Australian pace attack," Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
"Consequently, the reminders served by Dawid Malan and James Vince against a quality Pakistan pace attack should be sufficient for them to be included in an extended Ashes squad. On the last tour of Australia, Malan and Vince performed well at the Gabba and the WACA, showing they were comfortable coping with the extra bounce," Chapell added.
Vince had scored a couple of fifties in Australia four years ago, where in the very first innings he scored 83 in Brisbane before he was run out by Nathan Lyon. The second one came in Perth where he was dismissed by an unplayable ball from Mitchell Starc which was dubbed as the 'ball of the century. Chappell felt that if Vince would have converted either of those innings into a century, he would have cemented his place as an established member of the England Test squad.
"Some might dispute that assessment of Vince, but his sublime half-century at the WACA was terminated by an unplayable shooter, and he was well on his way to a century in Brisbane until he was run out by a direct hit. If either of those innings had turned into something substantial, he might by now have well been an established member of the Test side," Chappell admitted.
"There's no doubt he has the talent to be a very good Test batter. The only query is whether the mental side of his game can match it. Those reservations aside, there should be a place for both players in an extended Covid-era touring party," he added.
Matt Parkinson was another find in the ODI series against Pakistan where the Lancashire leg-spinner managed to grab five wickets at an economy rate of 5.83. Notably, he was all over the internet after bowling one of the balls of the year that bamboozled Imam-ul-Haq. According to Chappell, the young leggie, who is yet to make his Test debut, could very well be a great asset for England in the Ashes.
"The other bonus England may gain from having to unveil a second team was legspinner, Matt Parkinson. He is a big improver and his style of bowling can be useful in Australia. His ability to flight the ball and his typical "confident Northerner" temperament could make him a valuable Ashes asset," Chappell said.
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, many teams like India and England have discovered their bench strength in both the batting and bowling departments, with the second choice team going on to beat strong opposition. But Chappell feels Australia are still lacking with the trend and are yet to discover their backup options, citing the example of the West Indies tour where the team, outside of Mitchell Marsh, failed to show any resistance.
"The one major team whose recent performances haven't implied substantial depth are Australia. Batting is the main area of concern and the batters haven't flourished in the Caribbean, with only Mitchell Marsh making his mark. But Marsh is unlikely to replace Cameron Green as the Test allrounder batting at six," Chappell pointed out.
"Once again the Australian batting was shown to be fragile when David Warner and Steve Smith are missing. A glance at the Sheffield Shield batting performances for the last couple of seasons doesn't inspire much confidence that the new wave of stars is on the horizon," he added.