Cricket: End of an Era for the England Opening Batsmen but Who's Next in Line?
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Andrew Strauss' reign as England's captain came to an end earlier this month when Strauss retired from all forms of cricket because he felt that he had nothing to give anymore.
This is going to leave a massive hole in the top of England's batting lineup. Alistair Cook, Strauss' opening partner since Michael Vaughan retired in 2005, is now the English captain, but who will be walking to the crease alongside him when England take India in November?
First in the line has to be one of Yorkshire's brightest young guns, Joe Root.
Root has been in fantastic form for Yorkshire this season and has been a regular in the England Lions squad for some time now. Root scored 222 against Hampshire this season and averages 40.02 in First Class cricket.
He won't be short of Yorkshire colleagues to welcome him into the England squad, should he be selected. Jonny Bairstow, who scored a fantastic century against South Africa in the last npower test of the summer, along with Tim Bresnan, are both regulars in the England test squad now. Root was picked as an opener alongside Eoin Morgan in the recent England Lions game against Australia A.
Morgan is another player who could step into the squad now that Strauss has retired. He could comfortably open the batting as I mentioned previously, having done so recently for the England Lions.
His inclusion could mean that Jonathon Trott could sneak into the opening role, having done so with the One Dayers in recent times; it is not something that he would be scared to do. This would mean that the young Irishman, Morgan, would slip back into the top six at possibly No. 4 with James Taylor and Bairstow following behind him.
If England didn't open with Trott, could England go with the prolific Nick Compton?
Compton has been in sublime form this season and would have been the fastest person to 1000 runs in an English season if the rain hadn't been an issue in the middle of the season. Since moving to Somerset in 2010, Compton's batting has been much talked about, and he has had an average of 61.63, since his move from Middlesex.
Another name that always appears with England these days is Samit Patel.
Again, he has been in the Lions squad with the One Day side and Twenty20 squad now for numerous years. His batting, along with his left arm spin, give him a massive advantage over some of the other batsmen, and he may be used as a second spinner while out in India.
Now back to the openers: We have the Twenty20 opening batsman Alex Hales next under the radar.
Hales has again been in great form for Nottinghamshire this season, and at the age of 23, he has many years ahead of him. He currently averages 36.51 runs per innings at present, but surely this will only go up and up as his career continues. His top score came against Northamptonshire in 2011 when he scored 184.
Lancashire have had a disastrous season in 2012, but one of the lights at the end of the tunnel for them was the form of Paul Horton. Horton was born in Sydney but moved to Liverpool as a child and has lived over here ever since. His highest score was 206, and he also averages 38.39 in First Class cricket.
Finally, there is Hampshire left-hander Michael Carberry, who already has an England cap from when he toured Bangladesh back in 2010. He scored 32 in both innings and has been in the selectors' eyes for some time. He averaged 43.96 for Hampshire, and his highest score was 300 which he scored against Yorkshire back in 2010.
Only time will tell who Andy Flower will pick to be Strauss' replacement, but it's easy to say that England have a lot of options ahead of their tour to India later on in the year.
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