England call for Taylor

  • Last Updated: July 29 2012, 16:00 BST

James Taylor is desperate to seize his opportunity after being called into England's squad for the second Investec Test against South Africa.

James Taylor: Called up for England

The Nottinghamshire batsman was called up for the Headingley clash after Ravi Bopara withdrew for unspecified personal reasons.

That is the only change to the 13-man squad from the humbling innings defeat in last week's first Test, though pace bowlers Steven Finn and Graham Onions remain in the party should England opt to freshen up the much-vaunted attack which managed only two wickets at the Oval.

Bopara struggled in that game, with scores of nought and 22 and two sloppy dismissals, and Taylor is desperate for his chance.

"I hoped that I would be next in line but I never took anything for granted, although I have scored consistent runs in all forms of the game to earn this chance," he said.

"Playing at Headingley would be a very proud moment for me but nothing has happened yet, I'm just one step closer and waiting for the nod and the opportunity to help England to get back into the series.

"Facing South Africa's bowling attack is always going to be a tough challenge but it's something that I would relish because getting an England Test call has been my aim from the word go."

The number six position has proved unproductive for England in recent times, with Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Bopara all struggling.

Taylor has long been on the national selectors' radar, captaining the second-string Lions side on several occasions and playing a solitary one-day international against Ireland last year.

He made only one run on that occasion but scored 118 for the Lions against the West Indians earlier this summer and his Test call-up comes on the back of an LV= County Championship century against Sussex, his first since moving to Nottinghamshire this season.

His selection was announced this morning while the 22-year-old was waiting to resume on 106 not out in Notts' LV= County Championship clash with Sussex.

It was his first Championship century since his move from Leicestershire in December and he celebrated by advancing to 163no before his side declared on 520 for four.

He continued: "Test cricket is the pinnacle but there was a noticeable step up to division one of the Championship and wickets haven't been easy to bat on this season.

"I've always backed myself to play at the highest level and even though I'm young I've played a lot of cricket and I've got a lot of runs behind me.

"The next goal is to get a place in the 11 and if I get that opportunity I have to take it with both hands. If I get in the team then I have to work hard to get runs and then work harder again to do that consistently.

"I've always tried to keep my feet on the ground and strive to become a better player and that will always be my mantra."

National selector Geoff Miller said: "We have made one change to the squad, with James Taylor replacing Ravi Bopara who is unavailable for selection due to personal reasons.

"James has been part of the England Performance Programme for a number of years and has performed consistently for England Lions and now has an opportunity to step up and experience the Test environment."

Taylor's very occasional leg-spin is unlikely to take up the slack left by the loss of Bopara's medium pace but England have options in their squad should they choose to make changes.

Onions and Finn took six wickets apiece in the match as Durham beat Middlesex by 15 runs in a low-scoring Championship clash at Chester-le-Street and both are available should it be decided that either Stuart Broad or Tim Bresnan - on his home ground - should sit out, with James Anderson's place surely not in any doubt.

Generally, though, continuity is England's way and Miller hinted that changes would be kept to a minimum.

He said: "We were outplayed during the first Investec Test last week but it is important that this squad regroups and focuses on preparing for the second Test.

"This is a talented squad with plenty of international experience and they will be determined to improve on the performance during the first Test.

"We have played a lot of good cricket over the last few years and it's important we remember that, learn from the mistakes that we made and retain the belief that we can level this series at Headingley."

England squad for second Test against South Africa at Headingley: AJ Strauss (Middlesex, captain), JM Anderson (Lancashire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), TT Bresnan (Yorkshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), AN Cook (Essex) ST Finn (Middlesex), G Onions (Durham), KP Pietersen (Surrey), MJ Prior (Sussex, wicketkeeper), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), JWA Taylor (Nottinghamshire), IJL Trott (Warwickshire).