David Currie, TWC‘s latest recruit, argues the case for an Irish opener
If Michael Vaughan can put Swann forward as Kevin Pietersen’s replacement at the top of the order then England’s most dynamic and destructive batsman should be in the discussion as well.
With KP off home, England will field their fourth different line-up in five games on Friday. This is a team that is lacking consistency and stability. Whoever England choose to open in his absence they must stick with for the remainder of the tournament.
There are big questions hanging over the two favourites. Matt Prior has failed numerous times and a Bell/Strauss combo doesn’t provide enough firepower during the opening powerplay overs.
Harsh on the tournament’s leading run-scorer Strauss – who’s got his 280 runs at a strike rate of 104.47. But Bell is more useful to the middle-order anyway, especially one without Colly and KP.
He scored a superb 69 that almost saw England home against India and followed that up with 81 against the Irish. For all England’s problems at this World Cup, the middle order is the area they should be least concerned with. Especially now Collingwood and his dire form have been put out of its misery. Trott has three fifties from his four innings and Ravi slotted in brilliantly at No.5 on Sunday. Leave the middle order alone.
If Morgan opens – it’s like for like. The make-up of the side is changed with minimal fuss. And with his innovative shots, use Morgan where he’s most dangerous, when all of his wristy flicks, reverse sweeps and Dilscoops can take advantage of the field being up.
The argument against would be he’s never opened before. How will he cope against the new ball? But this is India. Movement with the new ball is minimal. And 10 of the 23 matches played have seen at least one spinner open the bowling anyway.
Morgan had a top score of 30 in six innings batting down the order in Australia. He often came in with England in trouble. Why hide your best batsmen till the game is already beyond you?
Sure England lose their revered finisher but they lost him the minute Morgan’s injury was first announced – they have already come to terms with this. Pietersen moved up the order, England adopted a lead-from-the-front approach.
Why change it? It’s working…ish.
David Currie has recently been appointed as publishing assistant at The Wisden Cricketer