WITH England deciding to call up Jonny Bairstow for the Third Test at Edgbaston, they have brought in a potential match-winner.
It was Sydney when Jonny last played Test cricket, about 18 months ago, so it has been a while since he was last in the Test arena.
But, in that time, he has matured both as a person and as a cricketer. He is a lot more at ease with himself and his game.
If he does manage to continue what he has been doing for us here at Yorkshire in recent months, then he has the potential to win games for England.
He is certainly the outstanding player from the county game and couldn’t be in any better form going into a Test match.
He goes in very confident and as somebody who is at the top of his game. I really hope he can replicate his county form with England.
As for another of our Yorkshire boys, Gary Ballance, who he has replaced, I’m confident he will bounce back very quickly.
Not surprisingly, he was initially bitterly disappointed at being dropped last week when they announced the squad for Edgbaston.
He felt really hard done by as being the one who was kind of a scapegoat for the defeat at Lord’s.
But that is out of his system now and, already in the two games that he has played for us he has contributed well and I only expect him to go from strength to strength.
The more he plays, the more that rhythm will come back into his game and I’m sure that this is only a temporary absence from the England squad. He will be back soon.
As a person, Gary is very strong mentally and I think that is why he feels so disappointed at being left out.
He felt he was working his way through a difficult period and he fought so hard at Cardiff where he showed a lot of mental strength during that innings of 61 in England’s first innings.
He got hit a few times but just battled on and was involved in a very important partnership with Joe Root in that first innings. Without those runs, England probably wouldn’t have won.
So I think that innings alone proved his mental strength and his character. He’s back with us, with the bit between his teeth and hoping to score a lot of runs and get his place back.
With regard to another Yorkshire player in the squad, Adil Rashid, I’m struggling to see him being given a start at Edgbaston.
To be fair, Moeen Ali’s figures have been pretty good, he’s taken wickets – mostly through the Australians trying to attack him – but he’s picked up wickets as a result.
The reports are that England are wanting a bit more seam movement off the pitch this week and, given the weather leading up this Test, you would probably have to assume that there is going to be a little bit more moisture around and some seam movement so I can’t imagine that they will change the team.
But, at some point, if Moeen is not able to do the spinner’s role properly then they are going to have to have a look at ‘Rash’.
At some point, we need to find out about ‘Rash’ and whether he can perform at that level.
As with Jonny, he has really matured over the last two seasons as a cricketer and a person. I do think he is ready to be given that challenge.
If England are to get the initiative back in this series, they need to make sure they do the basics right. The key to any reaction to defeat is not to panic.
If you look after the basics, the rest takes care of itself really – whether it be batting or bowling.
They need to build an innings and build partnerships and, hopefully, get that good first innings score which can put pressure on the Australians.
Similarly, when they’re bowling they need to make sure that they stick to their plans and don’t offer up too many boundary-scoring balls and build pressure on the opposition that way.
The Edgbaston pitch can vary. They are capable of producing one with seam movement, something fairly flat or one that will take spin.
From what England have been talking about and with the weather we’ve had recently, I would expect that there will be some seam movement, particularly on the first day and a half of the match.
If so, I think Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh will bowl well for Australia on it, but the question is whether Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson can find the right length on that type of surface.
With Lord’s being flat – as in there was no sideways movement – then their pace was key and the one thing that unsettled England.
But if there is more sideways movement off the pitch at Edgbaston, then those two need to bowl a fuller length.
At their pace, if they get the right length then they are going to be a handful.
After all, a seaming ball at 90 mph is far more difficult to play than a seaming ball at 80mph.