Between Bopara and Buttler for final England spot against Pakistan
England have not been shy in the past to thrust one of their young Lions in at the deep end for a big one-day series or tournament and Jos Buttler now seems the only candidate to step into the team for the first one-day game with Pakistan.
Craig Kieswetter is perhaps the best example of a player to shine representing the Lions and then be moved into the England team, when opening the batting in the 2010 T20 World Cup triumph.
A similar opportunity seemed on the cards for the one-day series with Pakistan as a spot in the middle-order was up for grabs with Ian Bell dropped and Kevin Pietersen being promoted to open the batting.
However, none of the Lions grasped their opportunity in the warm-up match ahead of the series with England, as they were bowled out for a mere 96, with all-rounder Chris Woakes the only real player to emerge with any credit as he was left unbeaten on 32.
Ravi Bopara was picked in the full England team and did his chances of selection no harm with a comfortable 36 when batting at number four.
But, this does leave the question mark that having Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Bopara in the top four that England may struggle for quick runs, with the trio possibly all liable to score at less than a run a ball.
Although there is the option of dropping Bopara down the order at the expense of Eoin Morgan if necessary.
With Pakistan’s spinners likely to attempt to tie England up in the middle overs, the big decision is whether to opt for Bopara’s added experience or throw in Buttler for his one-day debut to try to take the game to the hosts.
Buttler scored two centuries on the recent Lions tour and now what seems somewhat fortunate, missed the warm-up with England because of a hand injury.
The 21-year-old is perhaps the more liable to feature with England having one eye on the future and is 8/1 in the cricket odds to make an instant impact by being England’s top runscorer in the first one-day meeting.
England’s odds are 5/4 to beat Pakistan, but the series hosts have to be the heavy favourites to triumph at 8/13.