Now’s the time to unleash Shahzad

Andy Lloyd
RYAN SIDEBOTTOM will be playing for his future in the second Test with Bangladesh at Old Trafford on Friday. A foot injury to Tim Bresnan has given the Nottinghamshire seamer what could be a final chance to show he still has the pace and guile to succeed in the Test arena. If he doesn’t, then that may be the last we see of Sidey in the five-day format.

But while I applaud the selectors’ decision to give Sidebottom another chance in a Test after an impressive World Twenty20 tournament, I personally would like to see young Yorkshire pace man Ajmal Shahzad given his chance.

I don’t believe that the decision whether to include Sidebottom or Shahzad will alter the result and prevent England wrapping up a 2-0 series win, but I just feel it’s the perfect time to give Shahzad a run-out to see what he can do on the Test stage with a tougher schedule ahead of us.

The selectors took their fair share of stick after the first Test victory at Lord’s with some critics suggesting the four-man bowling attack wasn’t enough.

For me, it’s difficult to criticise the selectors for what they’ve contributed to the English game over the past 12 months or so, and I feel the balance of the side was right for the occasion.

Old Trafford is a result wicket and I believe they will stick with the same formula with the only dilemma being whether to give Sidebottom the nod over Shahzad.

Reaching the magic 500 will have also boosted the confidence of England’s top order – in particular Jonathan Trott. I’ve had Trotty here at Warwickshire for a long time and I know that was a massive double century for him. It’s all but cemented his place for the summer and that will have done him the power of good.