Could Alex Hales be recalled after his drugs ban in April? Is there a chance of a surprise for Sam Hain? The Cricketer runs you through five candidates who could potentially replace the England opener
England have been rocked by the news that Jason Roy will miss their next two World Cup matches after suffering a hamstrong tear against West Indies in Southampton on Friday.
However, who could replace the opener if he needs longer to recover. The Cricketer suggest five viable options to replace him in the squad.
Just one ODI under his belt, but one option England will likely look at if Jason Roy’s injury is to keep him out of the tournament.
It was an injury of his own, sustained against Ireland, which prevented him from adding to his solitary ODI cap, but a score of 25 was not overly convincing.
Nor was his One-Day Cup form this season, managing just one fifty and recording an average of just under 35. Not exactly the form of a player who was battering the door down for contention.
There is nevertheless a player within the 31-year-old Middlesex captain, with a big Test match century down under the most prominent highlight of his England career, while an T20I average of exactly 50 demonstrates he can adapt his skills to white-ball cricket.
He admitted recently that his Middlesex side are faltering currently, and he seems the only player that seems capable of putting up a fight after his century against Worcestershire, but even he seems to be feeling the effects of that.
However, entering a confident England setup is a different kettle of fish and therefore he may get the benefit of the doubt if Roy is ruled out for the tournament.
One of the heartbroken two who missed out on the final 15-man squad after being maned in the provisional squad, Denly was initially considered as another batting allrounder who could provide another spin option to Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali.
Given his ‘so close yet so far’ situation in the buildup to the World Cup, he is another likely replacement and Eoin Morgan certainly believed in his skills upon his recall to the side against Ireland this year.
It was a first start in ODIs for 10 years, when he used to open the batting, but he won’t need to be told that the game has changed to such a vast extent in that period.
There have been limited opportunities upon his return also, with just one outing each at no.5 and no.7. However, there was a reason he received a call up to the England side.
A stellar 2018 in the county circuit saw him average 70 as he went on to make two centuries and fifties, and the selectors have demonstrated a willingness to recognise domestic achievements with England selections.
All in all, given he has already been selected for some sort of World Cup squad, a massive favourite to come in.
Denly was omitted from the final 15-man squad last month
The bad boy of English cricket this summer, Hales’ inclusion in the squad after a 21-day ban for use of recreational drugs is highly unlikely, but the talent and the record are there for all to see.
Eoin Morgan failed to rule it out but admits there could be a stigma there if he is recalled, but whether his 2419 runs at an average of just under 38 and six ODI centuries can be ignored by the selectors is a completely different issue.
Jason Roy’s explosiveness will undoubtedly prove to be a miss for England despite Jonny Bairstow’s power, and with the best will in the world James Vince will not be able to prove that. South Africa aside England’s opening partnership has threatened to take the game away from the opposition because of the hitting force of both openers.
Hales would maintain that consistency but what form Hales would come with into the tournament means there could be further reservations.
He has not played since May 15 and his focus is still very much on the Caribbean Premier League and the Barbados Tridents.
An unlikely option because of past experiences, but none of the other candidates can claim to match his ODI statistics.
A man with no experience at all but someone who has shown proclivity for run scoring at county level, Hain is perhaps the dark horse in the race to replace Jason Roy if needed.
When he broke onto the scene for Warwickshire in 2014 he became the youngest player to ever make a County Championship century for the Edgbaston side, a record previously held by Ian Bell.
Managing director Ashley Giles is a known admirer of Hain who has compared him to Ian Bell, who of course opened for England at the previous World Cup.
Giles also commented that he may have a wider range of strokes than the former England man, and those are the qualities heavily synonymous with this current England ODI setup.
He once again translated that talent into huge runs this season, including 161 not out against Worcestershire and other unbeaten half-centuries against Somerset and Lancashire.
An excellent List A average of just under 60 also runs in his favour, but it will take a brave man to pick him given his inexperience at the highest level. Still, he has to be given his chance at some stage.
His selection would also provide a fascinating sub-plot with England still to play Australia.
Alex Hales was banned in April for recreational drugs use
Another outsider who is more in the Root and Vince mould than the Roy and Bairstow style of play, the Surrey man would add a third wicketkeeping option to the side.
Made a match-winning unbeaten 61 for his country against Ireland in Malahide in May but did not survive being culled once the regulars had returned.
With his best batting position still not determined in the Test arena where he has a little more experience, his inclusion could be both an advantage and disadvantage for England, as they are aware of his flexibility but whether he can perform at the top of the order is another matter.
He was also top of the averages table for his county in this year’s One-Day Cup with 46.85, but you can’t help but feel that he would be more of a replacement for the anchoring role that Joe Root currently plays.
He is a strong candidate to become a regular for England in some format in the near future, but it feels as if circumstances don’t quite fit his reintroduction here.
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