England should consider selecting a batting-heavy line-up ahead of the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.
If England need to regularly score over 300 to be in with a chance of winning the tournament – or at the very least, making it past the early stages – then they will need to employ a strong top order.
That line-up will also need to improve on its tackling of spin, and the 15-man squad selected by head coach Peter Moores may include a few surprises.
Alex Hales – Hales was rightly selected as opener for the summer ODIs, and looks set to retain that place in 2015. Although he has not hit a century for the national side in that time, he has certainly done enough to pay selectors back for the faith shown in him.
Alastair Cook - Under-fire though he may be, Moores is unlikely to head Down Under without his captain. If Cook’s confidence is restored in time, he can also be a match winner. There is always a chance that England may decide to rest their most important Test players, in which Jason Roy could earn a surprise call.
James Taylor – It will be difficult for the ECB to ignore the nationwide clamour for Taylor’s call-up for much longer. His experience with the bat demonstrates that he should be able to step it up to the highest level once again. The Notts man could also provide back-up to Jos Buttler behind the stumps.
Eoin Morgan – in Cook’s absence, Morgan has been touted as a possible captain, especially having led from the front against India, hitting several sixes in a short spell in the final ODI.
Joe Root – The 23-year-old proved his credentials in the shorter format with a century in the triumphant fifth ODI against India.
Jos Buttler - The Lancashire wicket-keeper can now offer a better batting option than his predecessor Matt Prior, and is more importantly a safe pair of hands.
Ravi Bopara – Bopara’s place in England’s plans has been unclear for the last year or so.
Moeen Ali – Ali could find himself fairly low down the order to accommodate the more experienced batsmen in the side. Nonetheless, he has quickly made himself indispensable for the national side.
Chris Woakes – The Warwickshire all-rounder has placed himself in an excellent position just in time for the World Cup, and should be rewarded with a starting berth.
James Vince – Perhaps one of the surprise additions to the squad, Vince has long been making a name for himself at Hampshire, leading them to Finals Day in the T20 Blast.
James Tredwell – The Kent spinner has re-entered the fold of late, though it remains unclear whether England will opt for two spinners. It may be the case that Tredwell does not make the first XI, but will be a useful back-up to Moeen.
Ben Stokes - Stokes was rewarded with a central contract earlier this week, suggesting he is firmly in Moores’ thinking ahead of next year. He has also enjoyed a fine end to the domestic season with Durham, which included a century last week.
Stuart Broad – Broad is confident of being fit in time for the World Cup, having just undergone surgery on the tendonitis in his right knee.
James Anderson – The Broad-Anderson combination could make up for England’s emphasis on batting, and the two lynch pins will be vital for their bowling attack.