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West Indies v England

Dan Lawrence could open the batting for England against West Indies

by Yaseen Rana 2 minute read

Interim director of England men’s cricket Andrew Strauss has suggested that Essex middle order batter Dan Lawrence could be used as an opener on England’s upcoming tour of the Caribbean.

A noteworthy aspect of the 16-man squad is how light it is for top order options. It includes just two openers – Zak Crawley and the uncapped Alex Lees – and nobody (aside from Crawley) who has batted at number three since the start of the 2021 English summer.

Strauss confirmed that Joe Root was “very keen” to bat at number three and take more responsibility despite his vastly inferior record at one drop compared to batting at four; at three he averages 38.66, while at four that number rises to 51.27.

But even with Root’s new-found appetite to bat at three, the squad is short on top order options in the event of illness or injury. While the unnamed list of standby players is likely to include at least one opener, those on that list will be unable to step in should one of Lees, Crawley or Root pick up a last minute injury or Covid-19 infection.

It is a preventable predicament that is reminiscent of England’s last tour to the Caribbean that saw Keaton Jennings picked, dropped and recalled all within three Tests, partly due to a shortage of top order alternatives.

Strauss has identified Lawrence as a potential emergency opener. Lawrence, 24, has played eight Tests during which he has batted in four different positions, ranging from three to seven. His average at three – 13.25 from four innings – is his lowest in any position.

Speaking to the assembled press at Lord’s, Strauss said: “There is no obvious reserve opener at the moment. But Dan Lawrence has opened for Essex before so, if worst came to worst, that would be an option.”

While it is true that Lawrence has opened the batting for Essex before, it is not something that he has done in some time. Lawrence has opened five times for Essex, all in 2015 when he was just 18.

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