'Youngsters need to be thrown in at the deep end' - Ryan Sidebottom welcomes England's white-ball reboot for West Indies
Within hours of England’s exit from the World Cup having won just three of nine games, new-look squads for next month’s white-ball tour of the West Indies were named with an emphasis on rest, rotation and renewal. The limited-overs trip to the Caribbean, coming straight off the back of a gruelling six-week trawl of India, had already been highlighted as a time to look at fresh faces but the ODI party contains only six survivors from the unimpressive title defence.
Captain Jos Buttler remains in charge and is joined by Gus Atkinson, Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone.
The Yorkshire duo of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root plus Durham’s Mark Wood have been rested ahead of January’s Test series in India and Test captain Ben Stokes is heading straight for an operation on his long-term knee injury.
But the omissions of Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes from the 50-over squad may prove to be more final.
Moeen and Woakes, together with Adil Rashid, are retained for the T20 leg, suggesting they still have a chance of next summer’s short-form World Cup, but Malan has been cut from both formats. Uncapped seamers Josh Tongue and John Turner are included in both squads.
For Sidebottom, a County Championship winner with Yorkshire and World T20 champion with England in 2010, it is an exciting turn of events.
“I like the squad for the West Indies tour,” he told OnlineCricketBetting. “It has a nice balance with some youngsters and senior players.
"Youngsters need to be thrown in at the deep end so we can see how they perform under pressure.
"International cricket isn't just about going out there. This team plays with freedom and they want to entertain, but the guys need to be consistent under pressure or when Sky are criticising their technique.
"That's when they need to show what they're made of. Only time will tell, but I'm looking forward to watching this team.''
Sidebottom has already criticised the way England’s preparations for the World Cup were hampered by the scheduling of The Hundred in August and not enough ODI games between then and the tournament.
Now for the next cycle he wants to see more 50-over cricket played by England’s younger generation.
“The Ireland series had almost an entirely new team in it,” he said of the pre-World Cup warm-up series.
"I don't always agree with calling on the B-team as they're the future of cricket. I think it's down to identifying another group of players.
"We probably have 20 who are brilliant cricketers, and it's about finding the next group to get them playing 50-over cricket on the international scene and see how they perform under pressure.
“We have Matthew Potts, Josh Tongue has been selected, and Raheem Ahmed is a fantastic cricketer. We're well-stocked for bowers, but I'd like to see the batters going out and regularly scoring big runs.''
One man Sidebottom would have liked to have seen get the call was Warwickshire batter Sam Hain.
“I may be very old, but I'm not that old,” laughed Sidebottom. “I played against Sam Hain at the end of my career and he was talked about as a very talented player.
"He's got even better over the years. Hain has been in form for some time.
"It's a shame for him.”