England have omitted Joe Denly from the England squad for the second Test against West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford.
With Test skipper Joe Root returning to the group after the birth of his second child, one of Denly and Zak Crawley was all but guaranteed to be left out for the game in Manchester. Ed Smith and co. have done what many predicted and gone with the younger of the two Kent batsmen.
The 34-year-old Denly, who made 18 and 29 in the first Test at Southampton, averages less than 30 across his 15 Test appearances and has not once crossed three figures. Crawley, who batted at four in the last Test is set to jump up to three, having made an impressive 76 in the second innings at the Ageas Bowl.
The 22-year-old top-order batsman averages slightly more than Denly (31.25 vs. 29.53) in the Test arena and has scored three first-class hundreds.
Speaking to the press, Root said Denly had helped England “show our identity as a side” but his inability to convert starts counted against him.
“Joe over a period of time, he’s done a brilliant job for us,” said Root. “He’s helped show our identity as a side and how we want to play moving forward and he’s been a big part of that.
“He’s batted long periods of time and laid the platform for guys behind him in the order to go and make big scores.
“I think he’ll be just as frustrated as anyone that he’s not quite managed to quite convert those opportunities, but it’s certainly not a closed door for him.
“He’s been a big part of our squad for some time now. If he gets an opportunity to come back again then I’m sure he’ll be desperate to take it.”