Cricket

England's tour selection is uninspiring as Hales takes up cursed position

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English cricket has always had a continuity problem.

Just in the last 12 months alone, Alistair Cook has had an incredible amount of batting partners - Jonathon Trott, Adam Lyth, Moeen Ali - and the next head on the chopping block is that of Alex Hales.

The Kevin Pietersen saga has only just been laid to rest, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are still fighting over the wicket keeper's gloves, and now Ian Bell has been dropped.

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Bell's current form tells a sad tale, and the man is a shadow of the player he was in the 2013 Ashes. His absence is no surprise, but instead of calling some young players into the team England have decided that Gary Ballance and Nick Compton are the way forward.

Before the end of the UAE series, Ballance had the third highest batting average for England in that 12 month period, despite being dropped for poor form at the end of the 2014 Ashes. Meanwhile, Compton has never looked like a batsman capable of performing at international level.

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Yet both players were chosen ahead of Ashes opener Adam Lyth, who will feel hard done by after struggling through a difficult series. Instead, England have decided a straight swap at number three is the best course, as opposed to giving Hales an easier introduction lower down the order.

The England team has changed their opening batsman after every series since Trott was dropped following his ridiculous experiment in the West Indies.

Now Hales is the next applicant to take the poisoned chalice and it would not be surprising to see the Nottinghamshire batsman similarly cast off should he struggle against one of the best bowling attacks in cricketing history.

As we cast our eyes ahead to the South Africa series, we face some interesting questions: will Hales be allowed to show the attacking flair he is known for, or will it be considered too Pietersen-like in this new look England squad?

Will we finally have a suitable third choice bowler, after injuries to Steven Finn and Mark Wood?

And will we ever get a reliable number three following Trott's departure in 2011?

We will have to wait and see, but England have to solve these continuity issues if they are to be the number one test side in the world again.

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Topics:
Nick Compton
South Africa cricket
Cricket
England cricket
Ian Bell

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