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Nasser Hussain: England’s biggest issue is Rory Burns v Zak Crawley

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Speaking on Sky Sports Cricket’s The Cricket Show, pundit Nasser Hussain discussed the major selection dilemmas facing England ahead of their three-match Test series against West Indies.

For Hussain, the biggest conundrum, as is often the case with England, is who should open the batting. However in this instance England have too many options, rather than too few, with Rory Burns, who missed the final three Tests of a 3-1 series win in South Africa with an ankle injury, hoping to return and Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley having impressed in his absence.

Sibley, England’s leading run-scorer in that South Africa series, is almost certain to keep his place, while Burns was one of England’s best batsmen throughout 2019, scoring a maiden Test hundred on Ashes debut and a second in New Zealand. Crawley has just one half-century from six Test innings so far, but has impressed onlookers with his attitude and his constant improvement at the top level; in five consecutive innings from his first, he improved on his Test best score.

“England’s biggest issue is the Rory Burns issue,” said Hussain. “He deserves to be in that side, but Crawley and Sibley did very well in the games that he was injured and looked the part and led them to victories, and they don’t like to change a winning side.”

England may well have their hand forced, with captain Joe Root likely to vacate his position at No.4 for the first Test of the summer to be present at the birth of his second child. In that case, the trio could occupy the top three spots in England’s batting order, with regular first-drop Joe Denly shifting down a place. “Maybe with Root, maybe he might not be there for the Test match because of the birth of his child, maybe that’s the way of getting all three of them in,” said Hussain. “It might just get them out of a hole. That’s the big decision they have.”

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