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View Poll Results: Who should open for England in the Ashes?
Mark Stoneman 1 6.25%
Alex Hales 1 6.25%
Daryl Mitchell 1 6.25%
Nick Browne 2 12.50%
Haseeb Hameed 2 12.50%
Jason Roy 3 18.75%
Ben Duckett 3 18.75%
Max Holden 0 0%
Sam Robson 0 0%
James Vince 0 0%
Adam Lyth 0 0%
Other (please specify) 3 18.75%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11th February 2019, 11:04   #1
Psyduck
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Who should open for England in the Ashes?

Please note that I have made 3 assumptions here:

1. Keaton Jennings will be dropped.
2. Rory Burns will be retained.
3. Alastair Cook will not come out of retirement.

Also, I'm interested in who you would pick and not who you think will be picked.
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Old 11th February 2019, 11:21   #2
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Given that any candidates not involved in the IPL or England ODI team (i.e. most of them) will have 9 or 10 Championship matches to press their case between now and the first Test next summer (against Ireland) it seems a bit pointless attempting to pick the best one right now.

Hameed would be the obvious choice for me if he regains anything like the form that got him picked for the India tour 2 years ago, when he looked like the obvious long term replacement for Alistair Cook until he fractured his hand. I expect Stoneman to make a strong case with Surrey, and obviously he's Burns' regular opening partner at county level.
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Old 11th February 2019, 11:42   #3
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Totally reliant on Championship form, but I'm going to guess that Duckett gets a few at Notts and on the back of an ok Lions Tour, might be a good partner for Burns.
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Old 11th February 2019, 14:30   #4
geoff_boycotts_grandmother
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I've gone for Hales.

Think he looked the most like a test player of all the options tried.

In the last 7 years England have had 19 different players opening the batting.

Only 3 of those players have reached 50 more than 3 times whilst opening the batting. Unsurprisingly (as he played 86 tests in that period) Cook is one of them. The other two are Hales and Stoneman who both managed five 50s in 11 tests.

Jennings (17 tests), Compton (10 tests), Strauss (8 tests), Root (6 tests) all reached 50 three times.

If we compare Stoneman and Hales then Stoneman never looked like scoring a test hundred to me. He always seemed either too frenetic or too subdued with no gear in between blocking and trying to score off each ball. Despite those five 50s he never got beyond 60.

Hales on the other hand seemed to have a better balance between attack and defence. Whilst he has a reputation as a dasher from his limited overs success, he was able to bat for time.

If we look at who was able to bat 3+ hours

Cook - loads
Hales 4
Root 3
Compton 3
Strauss 3
Hameed 2
Stoneman 2
Robson 2
Carberry 1
Burns 1
Jennings 1
Lyth 1
Trott 1

Hales would need to open the batting for Notts (he's moved down the order since) and England's World Cup preparations will make this difficult but short of a Hameed revival, Hales looks the best bet so long as he's in reasonable nick. He's shown glimpses in tests, we know he can play the same bowlers in limited overs and as a little bonus on paper it should be a decent opening pair with Burns (left-right, defending-attacking, small-tall).
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Old 11th February 2019, 15:43   #5
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Totally reliant on Championship form, but I'm going to guess that Duckett gets a few at Notts and on the back of an ok Lions Tour, might be a good partner for Burns.
Given how rapidly he scores his runs it's not hard to see the current selectors fancying him ahead of others if he's scoring well in county cricket.
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Old 11th February 2019, 18:48   #6
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I have a hunch the top 3 will be Burns, Denly and Roy, perhaps not in that order, for the Ireland game. Injury permitting with Wood, the rest of the team will be Root, Buttler, Stokes, Bairstow, Ali, Wood, Broad, Jimmy.
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Old 11th February 2019, 19:11   #7
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I think there needs to be a "You kidding? This far out and with all of them worse than the last one, I don't have a scooby" option.
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Old 11th February 2019, 22:36   #8
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I have a hunch the top 3 will be Burns, Denly and Roy, perhaps not in that order, for the Ireland game. Injury permitting with Wood, the rest of the team will be Root, Buttler, Stokes, Bairstow, Ali, Wood, Broad, Jimmy.
Youíve pencilled in Denly and Wood on the strength of one innings apiece?
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Old 11th February 2019, 22:58   #9
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Youíve pencilled in Denly and Wood on the strength of one innings apiece?
Regardless of it being Denly, I'd have thought whoever the batsman they tried in the Windies was, they'd get more than two matches, especially with the state of the pitch in Antigua. I suspect Wood being fit is no more than 50/50 but anyone bowling 94mph will be at the head of the queue.
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Old 11th February 2019, 23:08   #10
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Originally Posted by Psyduck View Post
Please note that I have made 3 assumptions here:

1. Keaton Jennings will be dropped.
2. Rory Burns will be retained.
3. Alastair Cook will not come out of retirement.

Also, I'm interested in who you would pick and not who you think will be picked.
Just to clarify, are you asking us to vote for just one opener to partner Burns?
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Old 11th February 2019, 23:18   #11
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You’ve pencilled in Denly and Wood on the strength of one innings apiece?
Even in this fallow time for English opening batsmen, it's some stretch to suggest Wood as an option.
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Old 11th February 2019, 23:57   #12
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I’d pick Roy or Hales. Hales stopped playing FC cricket last year which counts against him.

Of all the people who have been tried, Hameed looked to have the most talent, but unless he gets some early season runs, he has no chance. May not even get into the Lancs Xl.

I thought Robson and Stoneman were okay. Robson seemed to have a decent technique. Only one good season since he was picked though. Wouldn’t surprise me if Stoneman scores a lot of early season runs and comes into contention.

Surprised Nick Gubbins isn’t on the list. Apparently he’s a very good player of quick short pitched bowling. That’ll be useful this summer.
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Old 12th February 2019, 00:00   #13
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Just to clarify, are you asking us to vote for just one opener to partner Burns?
Yes.
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Old 12th February 2019, 00:20   #14
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Yes.
Thanks.

Can't make a decision. I'd like to see how Hameed starts the season. Some people are saying he's on the way back. Ebony RB is doing a great job promoting her Surrey boys. She reckons Jason Roy is ready to be a test opener.
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Old 12th February 2019, 02:42   #15
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Is Hales playing red ball stuff these days?
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Old 12th February 2019, 11:31   #16
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I've gone for Hales.

Think he looked the most like a test player of all the options tried. ...
If that is true, we should be quite worried.

When given his chance, he looked completely unsuited to the role to me.
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Old 12th February 2019, 13:33   #17
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Surprised Nick Gubbins isnít on the list. Apparently heís a very good player of quick short pitched bowling. Thatíll be useful this summer.
I'd be as worried if not more about his ability to play and leave outside off stump, temperament and other things. (not saying he doesn't have those, but short stuff wouldn't be high, excuse the pun, on my list)

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Originally Posted by Redmachine View Post
Iíd pick Roy or Hales. Hales stopped playing FC cricket last year which counts against him.

Of all the people who have been tried, Hameed looked to have the most talent, but unless he gets some early season runs, he has no chance. May not even get into the Lancs Xl.

I thought Robson and Stoneman were okay. Robson seemed to have a decent technique. Only one good season since he was picked though. Wouldnít surprise me if Stoneman scores a lot of early season runs and comes into contention.
Robson (7 Tests) : 13 inns, 336 runs @ 30.55 (HS 127, 0-19 x6)
Stoneman (11 Tests) : 20 inns, 526 runs @ 27.68 (HS 60, 0-19 x10)



Stoneman made five fifties and never went on with a high score of 60 being pretty feeble considering, and was not terribly convincing in technique.

That said he and Robson on the basis of their career records couldn't do worse than those trying their worst literally at the moment. Both got out for under 20 half the time which isn't great nor terrible, their averages will reflect their ability reasonably but Stoneman did get a not out which boosts his average a fraction (from 26.30)

I would take county form with a minimum of relevance, after all it's some if not a lot of the basis for selection and not often producing the Test cricketers.... Problem for Hameed is he needs to show at least something in county cricket or he won't get selected. Maybe a change of county or even country (as in play grade cricket or whatever), temporary or otherwise, might help
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Old 12th February 2019, 13:53   #18
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If that is true, we should be quite worried.

When given his chance, he looked completely unsuited to the role to me.
I have never been a big fan of trying to bring in specialising ODI batsmen to the Test set up, can make a case for bowlers as they can bring a few tricks, but Hales and Roy are two I've never thought of when considering who to open in Tests.

Hales didn't do that badly in Tests, might have been better suited to bat #3 and perhaps suffered a bit trying to be something he isn't naturally which is why I don't look to ODI successes for Test batsmen.

England batsmen averaging low 30s down to low 20s and even below are ten a penny, easy to see why some look at Hameed and wish that injury never happened :

30.55 Robson
28.70 Compton
28.00 Denly
27.85 Malan
27.68 Stoneman
27.29 Hales
25.19 Jennings
25.00 Burns
24.91 Vince
24.13 Westley
18.00 Pope
15.71 Duckett

So very nearly exactly ten! Varying numbers of chances for that lot, 2-5 Tests for Denly, Duckett, Pope and Westley, as many as 15 (Malan), 16 (Compton), 17 (Jennings) with Hales and Stoneman notching up 11 apiece, Robson 7 and Burns on 6, Vince 13.

Persistence doesn't seem to pay much dividend, Malan got his 140 in a bumper Ashes series that accounted for over half his runs, averaged 20.06 the rest of the time. Compton had some bites at the cherry, and was outspoken about his treatment, after a grinding return at #3 he didn't score a fifty in his last 12 innings and averaged 13 in his last 10 innings to follow up the form of 54 runs in 6 innings saw him dropped in the first place.

We're seeing what Jennings can, or can't, do, 146no in Sri Lanka and 103 runs since @ 12.88 with a HS of 26 in spite of quite a bit of luck and five scores 13-26.

Stoneman might claim to be a bit unlucky, 11, 55, 35 and 60 in New Zealand but dropped after one Test against Pakistan in scoring 4 and 9 which brought back Jennings who scored 29 before averaging 18.11 against India!

Seems every turn is a wrong 'un
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Old 13th February 2019, 18:48   #19
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I might suggest Stoneman get another go, but that would depend a great deal on his form in the first half of the season. The same could likely apply to several on that list.
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Old 14th February 2019, 14:07   #20
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I might suggest Stoneman get another go, but that would depend a great deal on his form in the first half of the season. The same could likely apply to several on that list.
I think the same does apply to all on that list.
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