July 22 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Ollie Rayner has added his voice to the chorus of calls for Middlesex team-mate Sam Robson to be handed his Test debut next week.
Robson is widely tipped to be named in the England squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, which gets under way on June 12 on his home ground at Lord’s.
The 24-year-old opener has amassed a glut of runs over the past year and has built on his successful England Lions tour of Sri Lanka with a bright start to Middlesex’s County Championship campaign.
And off-spinner Rayner, who featured alongside Robson for the Lions last winter, has no doubt that his county colleague merits the opportunity to play at the highest level.
“There are a few spots available in that England side and no-one’s really made that opening spot their own yet,” said Rayner. “He’s an absolute run machine.
“He had a great winter and it’s not just a case of people seeing what he’s done in county cricket – he’s gone away with the Lions and dominated as well.
“I know Sam won’t be looking to get too far ahead of himself but, if he keeps doing well for Middlesex, I think England would be daft not to pick him.
“I certainly think he deserves it and I think he’d do a great job if they call him up. If they don’t, then good for us because we’re going to have to fill the gap.”
Robson, who was brought up in Australia but has an English mother and qualified for his adopted country last year, averaged a healthy 50 going into Middlesex’s County Championship game at Durham this week.
There are firm indications that the county have already begun preparing for Robson’s elevation to Test level by drafting one-day specialist Paul Stirling into the side for their last two four-day matches.
Although Stirling did not get a chance to lay bat on ball in the game with Sussex at Merchant Taylors’ School, which was completely washed out, he scored a half-century after going in at no 7 against Durham.
The likelihood is that, should Robson be called up by England, Middlesex will promote Dawid Malan to open alongside Chris Rogers for their next four-day match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, starting on June 14.