Sky Sports pundit David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd thinks that Chris Silverwood should have made swathing changes to England’s top-order for this winter’s Ashes by leaving out both incumbent openers, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed.
Writing for the Daily Mail, the beloved broadcaster argued that Burns’ technique was too unconventional for England to continue picking him, while Hameed’s strike-rate concerned him as well.
“Why would I leave out Burns and Hameed?” he wrote. “Because you need conventional players. Burns’s technique is anything but, and Hameed has a first-class average of 32 and a strike-rate of 38 — he allows the game to meander. You can’t afford to be 210 for four when the second new ball arrives: that means 250 for six, and 290 all out. Hameed’s good tour of India was ages ago.”
Hameed was recalled to the England side for the second Test against India after impressing for Nottinghamshire in the early rounds of the County Championship, while Burns has been first-choice opener since the retirement of Alastair Cook in 2018, aside from being dropped for the final two Tests of England’s 2021 series in India. This summer, Hameed averaged 28 with two half-centuries, while Burns averaged 38.27, making three fifties and a century, against New Zealand.
In their place, Lloyd named Zak Crawley, who has had a poor year in Test cricket but has been recalled for this series, and Kent opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, long touted as a promising player, but who endured a torrid year in the County Championship, averaging 26.18 in 10 games.
Lloyd and fellow Sky pundits Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher put forward their views on a number of questions surrounding the England side. On the top three, both felt England were correct to stick with their current openers, with Hussain naming Warwickshire’s Rob Yates and Sussex’s Tom Haines as potential back-ups.
On the subject of the spinners, Lloyd and Hussain both felt England needed a wrist-spin option, each namechecking Matt Parkinson.
On England’s overall chances, there was cautious bullishness. Hussain said: “If Root can get a shedload of runs, England will have a chance”.
The Ashes is set to begin on December 8 at The Gabba. England named their squad for the five-Test series on Sunday, October 10.