In the aftermath of a COVID-19 outbreak in the original ODI squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan, England have been forced to name an entirely new 18-man squad.
Despite the naming of 18 additional players, there are still some surprising absentees. Here’s a look at some of those missing players who might consider themselves unlucky, and while some are absent for obvious, non-cricketing reasons, others could justifiably question their non-selection.
The biggest name missing from England’s replacement squad is Alex Hales, who is still being left in the dark by the ECB after serving a drugs ban on the eve of the 2019 World Cup. Since his suspension, Hales has been in blistering white-ball form, and was top scorer in the 2020/21 Big Bash with 543 runs at 38.79. Hales also had an excellent record in the 70 ODIs he played before his ban, averaging 37.79 at a strike rate of 95.72. With so many players absent, he must now be wondering if he’ll ever play international cricket again.
Another batsman who could count himself unlucky to miss out on the 18-man replacement squad is Warwickshire’s Sam Hain. Brought up in Australia to British parents, Hain has a formidable List-A record – his average of 59.78 is the highest of all time among batsmen who have batted in at least 50 innings. While Hain’s recent form is patchy – he’s only managed one score above 30 in his last four matches – his ability to rotate the strike means he could have fulfilled a similar role to the one Joe Root plays in England’s first-choice ODI team. That said, the experienced Dawid Malan looks ready-made to play the Root role against Pakistan at Lord’s.
Crane made his international debut four years ago as a 20-year-old and while he struggled to make an instant impact his domestic white-ball record remains impressive. His T20 numbers are exceptional – he averages 20.81 with an economy rate under 7.5. The problem for Crane is that Parkinson looks to be the selector’s favoured option as a leg-spinning back-up to Adil Rashid in the white-ball set up.
Yorkshire off-spinner Dom Bess might have hoped for a first ODI call-up given the circumstances. With two five-fors in 14 Test matches, Bess is becoming more experienced on the international stage, and despite occasional problems with consistency, his determination and perseverance have earned him many admirers. While Bess lacks extensive white-ball experience, he is a man in form. A star performer for Yorkshire in this year’s Blast, Bess is also fresh from taking career-best first-class figures of 7-43 against Northamptonshire earlier this week.
On the faster end of the bowling scale, Durham’s 22-year-old quick Matt Potts – while not yet a household name – is another who would have been interesting to see in England colours. In his relatively short List-A career, Potts has an excellent record, taking 13 wickets in 9 matches at 24.53. His T20 average strike rate of 14.80 also illustrates his wicket-taking ability in white-ball cricket, an attribute which saw him named Durham’s T20 Player of the Season for 2020.
Alex Davies’ List-A average of 32.07 is not as eye-catching as Hain’s. However, he has put in big white-ball performances in the past, most notably when he scored 147 against Durham in the 2018 One Day Cup. Davies’ recent performances have been a little inconsistent, but he did strike 83 not out against Derbyshire in the T20 Blast recently as a timely reminder of what he can do. A fluent wicketkeeper-batsman, he may feel unlucky not to nab a spot as the squad’s reserve gloveman.