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Giles aims to strike balance
Ashley Giles is adamant there is a sound reason for picking an experimental line-up in the NatWest Series.
England's limited-overs coach insists he and his fellow selectors are not "robbing the public" by resting five first-choice regulars and asking a clutch of emerging players to compete in their place against Australia.
A long-term plan, first of all for the Ashes this winter and then the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand a year later, is dictating England's current policy.
Between an unprecedented sequence of back-to-back Ashes, rest has been prescribed for frontline bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and also Test and one-day international captain Alastair Cook and batsman Ian Bell.
Instead, with an eye on covering all bases for that World Cup campaign, England are fielding an experimental squad of young hopefuls alongside a nucleus of established names.
The initial evidence, an 88-run defeat at Emirates Old Trafford, suggests they may struggle to contain Australia as they seek to battle back from 1-0 down with three to play.
But Giles said: "All we ask for is a bit of understanding about what we're trying to do.
"It is not just about winning the next game. There is a balance to be struck, of course, between the present and the future.
"We don't take losing games lightly.
"It is not about giving games away and it is not about robbing the public of the right to watch our best players.
"It was discussed whether we pick two squads for different parts of the series, but I think that would be taking the mick a little bit.
"It is good to keep a bunch of guys together and work hard for the five games - and that is our aim at the moment."
Giles would love to have all his first-choice players available throughout, but as a selector is one of the architects of his own situation.
"While it's always frustrating to any coach that you can't have your best side in the middle, the reasoning is absolutely spot on," he said.
"We've got to look after our best players while looking at the next generation coming through.
"Of course, Cook and Bell are missing out.
"But we've got (Kevin) Pietersen back in the side, who's fantastic to watch for the public and a great bloke to have in the side for me as coach."
Giles and his management colleagues will be well aware that if England win a fourth successive Ashes series this winter for the first time since 1890, grumbles over their success or otherwise in the NatWest Series will be long forgotten.
"Obviously for the bowlers, it's mainly the physical wear of playing an Ashes series - and that's relevant to the batsmen as well," Giles said.
"But there's also the mental wear and tiredness.
"Bell's had an amazing series - he's been out in the middle for most of it.
"Cook also, as captain you can't underestimate the amount of wear it can put on you leading the side in an Ashes series - and we felt it right that those two guys had a break in this series and come back fresh for the second Ashes."
Others, by contrast, therefore have the chance over the next week to push their claims either for a place in the Ashes - or the World Cup beyond.
Fast bowler Boyd Rankin, well-known to Giles who signed him from Derbyshire for Warwickshire not so long ago, falls into both categories - having impressed in his two ODIs for England since switching allegiance from his native Ireland.
When asked about Rankin's Ashes credentials, Giles appeared cautiously optimistic.
"I think we have got to be careful," he said.
"He's played two games for us but, game on game, he has improved.
"(He is) big, tall. I think he can bowl even more quickly than he has done so far.
"He's bound to be a bit nervous and feeling his way in.
"But he performed well in the last game.
"He's another example that, if you came out of the series having added to your fast bowling stocks (it) would be a huge benefit."