Gareth Batty waited eleven years for an England recall and duly recorded figures of 4-116 to aid England’s victory in the first Test in Chittagong.
He’s been dropped, sorry, I mean rotated. Whether or not he’ll have to wait another eleven years, by which time he’ll be fifty, for another England turnout will remain to be seen.
Batty will be replaced by Surrey teammate Zafar Ansari for tomorrow’s second Test in Dhaka. Ansari claimed 22 County Championship Division One victims at 31.41 apiece last term to earn a place in the squad ahead of Somerset’s Jack Leach. Leach had taken 65 wickets at 21.88 but Ansari can play the piano and has a degree which the England management believes will serve him well when he makes his Test bow tomorrow! Whether or not they consulted Leach regarding either his musical ability or his university qualifications is unclear. Of course unlike Leach, Ansari provides something with the bat too. He has three First Class centuries to his name and has often opened the batting for Surrey. He was of course due to tour with England last winter but broke his thumb whilst playing for Surrey on the day the squads were announced. The twenty-four-year-old claimed figures of 4-68 in one of England’s warm-up matches on this tour and as well as Batty performed in Chittagong it actually makes sense for the tourists to select Ansari, a slow-left-armer alongside leg-spinner Rashid and off-spinner Moeen. By replacing off-spinner Batty with Ansari, England’s bowling attack now possesses the full compliment of spin actions. Ansari will also gain valuable experience of playing in front of large crowds and in demanding conditions ahead of any potential further opportunities in India.
Ansari will be England Test cricketer number 673 when he takes to the field in the Bangladeshi capital. Silly Point wishes he and his England teammates the very best.