London, Oct 9 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan has chosen Lancashire trio of batter Liam Livingstone, leg-spinner Matt Parkinson and pacer Saqib Mahmood as his uncapped picks for Englands Ashes squad. With the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) giving conditional approval to the 2021/22 Ashes in Australia scheduled for the end of the year, it is expected that the squad announcement will come in the upcoming week.
“With Jos Buttler or Jonny Bairstow at six, Livingstone can come in with a swagger and intimidate at seven. He bowls a bit of spin that could be handy on days four or five. He is a brilliant fielder and he has that arrogance and confidence you need in Australia so I would have him in the squad. He averages just under 40 with the bat in first-class cricket, numbers that are not very different to the others, so why not look at him as an all-round cricketer,” wrote Vaughan in his column for The Telegraph on Saturday.
In 62 first-class matches, Livingstone has scored 3,069 with an average of 38.36 and highest score of 224. “Those picked ahead of him recently are not much better technically than Livingstone. In fact, he might even be better. He has the confidence and believes in himself which is what the highest level is all about. He would make a good back-up player and he has a higher ceiling of potential than many of the others being picked at the moment, so why not go with him? Also, surely you want a 12th man in the field who can create something,” added Vaughan.
About Parkinson, who has played five ODIs and four T20Is apart from taking 102 wickets in 32 FC matches, Vaughan said he is the next best spin option after left-arm spinner Jack Leach.
“From what they have done to Dominic Bess, I can’t think he will be in their thoughts going to Australia. Parkinson is the next best after Jack Leach. We always seem to pick a leg-spinner in Australia – Mason Crane and Scott Borthwick have played in the last two Sydney Tests. Australia is a good tour for his development because you would not look to play him at the start. He bowled pretty well in the Bob Willis Trophy match. He gives the ball a chance, plenty of flight and a good rip.”
“Look, we are not stocked full of high-class spinners so why not try and develop a player this winter like Parkinson. Sometimes on tours you have to be one step ahead. What is the point of Parkinson staying at home this winter? He would not learn anything. By taking him to Australia you hope he learns to understand Test cricket.”
Talking about Mahmood, who was recently given a pace bowling development contract by the ECB and was player of the series in England’s 3-0 ODI series win, Vaughan mentioned that veteran pacer Jimmy Anderson spoke glowingly of him.
“He is talked about as the most skilful of the younger bowlers coming through. England missed a chance to play him in the summer when they went with Craig Overton instead. I’ve heard from good sources that of all the quicks he is the one with the confidence and potential to have a career in all formats across all conditions. Jimmy Anderson speaks very highly of him.”
“Again, he is going as a fringe player who could get a game but you have to take the opportunity to take a bowler like him so he can learn, be around Australia with a view to the next Ashes tour,” signed off Vaughan.