When the England selectors meet to decide on their squad for the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s, there is at least one batting spot they need to fill.
Nick Compton’s sabbatical means England will have a new number three for the second half of the summer, although it’s not guaranteed to be a new face.
England coach Trevor Bayliss recently spoke of his wish to move Joe Root up a place in the batting order, but stressed it would only happen if the player himself was on board.
Beyond the Yorkshire run machine, Scott Borthwick is heavily mentioned as being the next in line for a call-up.
The Durham all-rounder, who played his one and only Test to date on the 2013/14 Ashes tour, bats at three for his county, is averaging 58.50 with the bat in four-day cricket this season and has the handy commodity of being a leg spinner too.
While the 26-year-old pushes hard for an international recall though, Bayliss hasn’t ruled out another ousted Test star making his way back into the fold.
Jos Buttler was dropped from behind the stumps in favour of Jonny Bairstow midway through last winter’s tour of Pakistan, but supposedly could return to face that same opposition this summer as a specialist bastsman, according to the Australian coach.
While releasing the Lancashire gloveman into his natural habitat of limited overs cricket has certainly restored some confidence – he averaged 90.00 in the ODI series against Sri Lanka and scored 73* in the T20i – recalling him to the Test team would be a mistake.
Buttler has not played a game of red-ball cricket of any kind since his last Test match for England back in October 2015.
Asking him to front up as a specialist batsman against Pakistan, whose bowling attack looks far more fearsome than Sri Lanka’s in just one short warm up match against Somerset, could see the 25-year-old lose his confidence as quickly as he’s regained it.
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