May 23 2011 By Jon Batham
NEIL Dexter came good this week on a pledge not to overlook young batting talent at Lord’s ahead of the game with Essex tomorrow.
Eyebrows were raised when Dan Housego was banished to the second XI last week just days after hitting a century against the Sri Lankan tourists at Uxbridge – this despite the likes of Scott Newman and Dawid Malan in particular struggling for runs in the Championship.
Housego responded with half centuries in both innings as Middlesex’s seconds drew with Hampshire at the Rosebowl, while the firsts collapsed to 150 all out en route to a nine-wicket defeat to Glamorgan.
Prior to the end of the game at Lord’s, skipper Dexter admitted it had been a tough decision to drop the young right-hander and also insisted the consistent run scoring of Sam Robson and Adam Rossington in the seconds had not gone unnoticed.
No surprise then that Housego returns with Andrew Strauss away on England duty, but Newman is axed in favour of young Aussie opener Robson, who must surely now be given a chance to establish himself at the top of the order.
Dexter said: “It was a very difficult decision to leave out Dan Housego. He is a young guy who has proved a lot to us.
“Before the Sri Lanka game he was struggling a bit for runs and then he got a hundred there and to leave him out after that is pretty hard, especially on a guy like him who does all you ask of him.
“We didn’t just leave him out because he was the young guy – we looked at it on previous form. We’ve had a chat with him and hopefully he understands where we were coming from on the decision.
“There are other youngsters like Robson and Rossington who are putting pressure on guys in the first team. We haven’t turned our back on them at all.”
Anthony Ireland is also in contention for a place against Essex, for whom Ravi Bopara will be keen to make his point to the England selectors having been overlooked for the First Test against Sri Lanka in favour of Middlesex’s Eoin Morgan.
The winter arrival from Gloucestershire is yet to make a Championship debut, but may do so at Chelmsford as the Seaxes look to keep to their policy of rotating their fast bowlers.