Cricket
George Dobell in Adelaide 12d

Bayliss impressed by 'feisty' Crane

The Ashes 2017-18, ENG tour of AUS and NZ 2017-18, Cricket

England might have sent for a replacement fast bowler, but they will not be calling up another spinner.

Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, was so impressed by Mason Crane in last week's two-day warm-up game in Perth that he would have "no problems at all" selecting him during the Ashes series. And while Bayliss admitted that Crane, the 20-year-old legspinner, was "inexperienced", England are so impressed with his character and potential that they now view him as the natural understudy to Moeen Ali.

"I wouldn't have any problems at all playing Crane in the Test match," Bayliss said as England trained under lights in Adelaide. "He's young, but he's feisty and likes to get into the contest.


"He's inexperienced and still has a fair bit to learn. One of those reasons he's on this tour is that we think he'll be a very good bowler in years to come. He's got to start somewhere and if it's here during the Ashes then so be it."

Central to Crane's emergence is his character. While the England management have decided that Adil Rashid could be a little diffident - and a little expensive - they feel that Crane, as Bayliss put it, likes to "get in the battle".

While there might be some eyebrows raised at the idea of Crane as an especially economical bowler - he conceded five fours in seven deliveries at one stage during the tour game at Perth - the quicker pace at which he bowls and the potential for improvement he still offers have clearly moved him ahead of Rashid.

"We have spoken to Rashid," Bayliss said. "The captain was looking for someone in Test cricket that could get in the battle.

"Rashid is an attacking-style bowler, like Moeen. So the captain wanted someone who could maybe keep it tight at one end as well. In Test cricket, you have to try to keep a lid on it at time and not give one or two bad balls an over. Rashid has struggled with that a bit.

"He's not been forgotten about. He's certainly in the one-day team and we spoke to him when we conducted the player reviews a couple of weeks ago. He is in contention if he is bowling well and deserves a spot."

Rashid might also have stiffened the England tail. In the absence of Ben Stokes, England could well go into the Test series with Stuart Broad, Jake Ball - who Bayliss praised as "the one who kept it tight" in Perth - and James Anderson batting at Nos. 9-11. But while that isn't ideal, Bayliss feels it might be the shape of the side in the future and foresees a scenario where Stokes returns at No. 5 to allow room for another bowler.

"That's one of the things we have had to compromise on with Stokes not being here," Bayliss said. "It puts more emphasis on the batters doing their job.

"But it's a combination I've liked for a while. Obviously I'd have liked Stokes in there, but with Moeen Ali at No. 7 and Chris Woakes at No. 8, it gives the option of another pace bowler or a second spinner."

Meanwhile Bayliss dismissed any suggestion that England might be unhappy with the opposition or conditions they are likely to face ahead of the first Test in Brisbane. While Nathan Coulter-Nile played against them in Perth, it seems England are unlikely to face much pace bowling or many quick pitches - by Australian standards, at least - ahead of the Test series.

"We get our county second teams to play them when they come over," Bayliss said. "So we can't complain."

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