Fortune favours the brave for England

Adil Rashid. Picture by Tony Johnson
Adil Rashid. Picture by Tony Johnson
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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ENGLAND’S new-found positive approach will be put to the ultimate test as they face an Australian team brimming with typical confidence.

After the 5-0 thumping last time out down under, England have plenty to prove and were unable to beat New Zealand in the most recent Test series.

But it was the one-day matches against the Kiwis which reignited England with a refreshing brand of cricket that was based on an attacking mentality.

Test cricket is a different animal and it’s hard to play that same style and intensity throughout five days.

But most experts think that England’s only real hope of regaining the urn is to come out fighting.

A key selection decision ahead of the first Test will give an indication on how England will approach it.

Spinner Adil Rashid is a possible wild card for England.

It could be seen as a more risky choice but he could also be a match-winner.

The more conservative selection would be to stick with Moeen Ali, who is perhaps the better batsman, but unlikely to take as many wickets.

England Test captain Alastair Cook’s reputation suggests he is less likely to throw caution to the wind.

But the team’s recent one-day improvement came from this attacking strategy, with Eoin Morgan at the helm.

It remains to be seen how the limited overs style of play can be transferred into Test cricket – especially with at least half of the team not involved with the Test side.

All-rounder Ben Stokes could be another important figure with both bat and ball as he tries to emulate the influence of Andrew Flintoff in the famous 2005 series.

But most England supporters would accept defeat if they see their team going for it and playing in a positive fashion.

Former Ashes-winning captain, Michael Vaughan, believes Rashid could be a vital weapon for England.

Vaughan said: ‘He (Rashid) needs managing, captaining and bowling at the right time.

‘I would say first innings on good pitches you’d have to manage him very well.

‘A top order player with anything worth their weight in gold would have a little bit of a look at him and probably attack him.

‘That’s when the captain has to come in and say “right, it’s not quite working, let’s save him for that tail”.

‘The second innings, when it’s a bit crustier, he comes into his own.

‘With the way that he bowls and the way England have really struggled to get rid of tails, it’s something different that England might surprise Australia with.

‘I wouldn’t expect him to whip through the top order in the first innings, but with careful management and careful field settings he certainly can play a big part.

‘I’d just throw him straight in as a young chap who’s confident.

‘He’s on the crest of that one-day wave, I’d just give a game and just play him.’