Having been thrown into the fire against a South African seam attack consisting of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel, when he was just 22-years-old, James Taylor is starting to come of age and is ready for a recall to the England Test team.
The now 24-year-old has played a lot of domestic cricket since his brief spell on the international stage during the summer of 2012 and his record for Nottinghamshire in both the County Championship and one-day formats is one of the best in the country.
After being named in the England ODI squad that will tour Sri Lanka next month, Taylor has once again been handed the platform to showcase his ability and stake a claim for inclusion in the Test side that will play in the Caribbean after next year’s World Cup.
Taylor was handed the unenviable task of debuting against South Africa – who returned to the summit of the ICC Test rankings after a 2-0 away series win over England two years ago.
The diminutive batsman scored just 48 runs in the two Test matches he played, and hasn’t represented England in the purest form of the game since.
However, he did still show signs of promise in his two appearances. He scored 34 in his first innings of Test cricket, and shared a fifth wicket partnership of 147 with Kevin Pietersen at Headingley.
Back to basics
After being dropped for subsequent England series ever since, Taylor has been procuring runs with ease in county cricket.
The right-hander’s record speaks for itself – he has nearly 8,000 first class runs at an average of 46.70 and averages just over 53 in List A cricket.
And his prolific run scoring has rightfully earned him a recall to the England squad for the seven-match ODI series in Sri Lanka this November.
With the World Cup just on the horizon, Taylor’s return to the national set-up is very timely. There is a lot of limited-overs cricket to be played in the coming months, and regular runs could pave the way to a Test recall as well.
Taylor can maintain a spot in the batting order by consistently scoring, although he has only made two prior ODI appearances, both of which came against Ireland.
Nevertheless, the former Leicestershire batsman has more than enough ability to tie down a starting spot in the England team. By reminding the selectors first-hand of what he can do to world class bowling, James Taylor can relaunch a successful England career at both ODI and Test level.