Michael Vaughan has said that he doesn’t know what more leg-spinner Matt Parkinson has to do in order to force his way into the Test side and that England must pick uncapped Matty Potts in the starting line-up at Lords.
England recently announced their Test squad for the New Zealand series that starts in the first week of June, with three of the headlines being the exclusion of leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, the inclusion of the uncapped duo of Matty Potts and Harry Brook and Ollie Pope moving to No.3 in the order despite having never batted there in first-class cricket.
Writing in The Telegraph, Vaughan labelled the squad “disappointing” and that it is evidence that the new pairing of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes as head coach and captain will not be “as flamboyant as we think”.
Parkinson is uncapped at Test level and was a non-playing member of the squad that lost 1-0 to the West Indies during England’s tour of the Caribbean as he found himself behind Somerset’s Jack Leach in the pecking order.
Parkinson has taken 125 first-class wickets at an average of 23.37 and at the time of writing is the joint highest wicket-taker in Division One this year. Leach, however, has also performed well in the start of the season, taking 11 wickets for Somerset at an average of 19.54.
“I don’t see what more Matt Parkinson has to do to be picked,” wrote Vaughan. “Jack Leach is a great character who gives everything with bat and ball but we know his ceiling is only so high.
“One of the biggest screw-ups in the Caribbean was not giving Parkinson a game or two. It was always going to be slightly more difficult in English conditions because the spinner’s job in June is to hold an end so the captain can rotate the seamers. As we have seen in county cricket this summer, if the ball is not moving around then you need something a little bit different and I do not see any variation in this attack…I thought Rob Key and McCullum would have gone straight to the leg spinner for that reason.
“Perhaps they went with Leach because of his batting. That is old-school thinking. You want 8, 9, 10, 11 to contribute with the bat but if you have a leggie who could grab you a five-for in the second innings or clear out the tail in the first then it is worth more.”
Vaughan’s fears that England have selected too much of a one-dimensional attack is also why he believes uncapped Durham seamer Matty Potts must play in the first Test at Lord’s. Potts, who is capable of bowling around 85mph, is currently the leading wicket-taker in the County Championship with 35 wickets at an average of 18.57.
“They have to pick Matthew Potts in the first Test because he has that little bit of extra pace. Is Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Potts and Stokes an attack you will fear? New Zealand will be wary of Broad and Anderson of course but if they get through their first spells without losing too many they will fancy their chances. It is why England need a point of difference.”