Cricket

Michael Carberry should be England's Ashes opener

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Nick Compton is under increasing pressure for his place at the top of England's test match batting order. 

On the face of it, this seems unreasonable given his back to back centuries in New Zealand just a couple of tests ago. However with the return of Kevin Pietersen on the horizon and the form of middle order batsmen Joe Root, Compton’s place has come under question.

The natural suggestion being raised is that Joe Root, an opener at county level, should be moved up the order to replace Compton, freeing the middle order place for Kevin Pietersen. This would surely jeopardise the impressive form of Root though, which seems to make little sense. Also this would leave Jonny Bairstow in the middle order for The Ashes and he looks fragile at best.

The solution that is not being mentioned is the re-introduction into the England set-up of Hampshire’s Michael Carberry. He is a different kind of player from England's current top order lineup, as he likes to score quickly and play crisp, powerful strokes. In truth he was unlucky to be jumped by Compton in the first place, as Carberry had always been the next cab off the rank when Andrew Strauss retired. Compton timed his form well and got the place after an excellent season for Somerset. 

Carberry however is a far more consistent player at county level and deserves to represent England in all forms of the game. He has one test cap to his name, making a respectable 30 and 34 against Bangladesh. Health problems hampered his progress in 2010 but he is now fully fit and continues to fire for Hampshire. The left handed opener has a county best of 300 not out, and anyone who can produce scores like that deserves the chance to shine at International level.

England certainly need to find a way of increasing their run rate. Scoring runs quickly is the key to giving yourself time to bowl the opposition out and while the bowlers can bail England out in English conditions, elsewhere in the world they need to give themselves more time.

In these two series against New Zealand they have gone at a pedestrian run rate and in the away series failed to give themselves chance to dismiss the opposition. Pietersen will help with that and Carberry would provide an extra dynamic to the team.

While Nick Compton may count himself unlucky, his test place will surely be taken away from him before the Ashes. Pietersen will slot back in at four, Root will move to open and Bairstow will stay at six. 

That is not the way I would approach the Ashes, as Carberry would get my nod. Chances are that will not happen as England are a very safe side who take few risks. If they want to get back to being the worlds number one test side however, they are going to have to start taking such risks.

 

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