With Test Series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan coming up this summer, there is remains uncertainty as to who will open the batting for England alongside captain Alastair Cook.
The Essex star has been in fine form for his home county so far this season, having three centuries in four matches to guide them to the top of Division Two in the County Championship.
Yet, since the retirement of Andrew Strauss Cook has had several partners at the top order, with many unable to produce the goods, leaving the question: who should open for England this summer.
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England will need two strong series as they look to continue their fight back to the top of the Test rankings.
Despite a victorious visit to South Africa over the winter, England have lost to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their most recent clashes against the two subcontinent nations, with the latter defeat coming at home.
Moeen Ali opened with Cook in the three matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, but he could only manage a high score of 35.
Alex Hales took over the reins in South Africa, but again faltered, managing just one half-century as well as losing his wicket for less than 10 runs on three occasions.
Partner for club and country?
This has left selectors with a conundrum as to whether keep faith with the squad that won convincingly against the Proteas or pluck someone who has been shining in the County Championship this season.
Among those are Cook’s Essex team-mates Nick Browne and Tom Westley, who have both been vital in securing two wins in four matches.
Browne has hit two fifties so far this season, including a score of 55 to claim victory over Gloucestershire on the final day of the opening match of the campaign, as he continues his impressive form that saw him linked with being called up by England.
Westley has also given the selectors something to think about, with the 27-year-old hitting two centuries, including sharing a 222-run partnership with Cook, so a promotion from the England Lions squad could be on the cards.
Another in contention is Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth, who could be set for a return to the England side, following some good performances for the County Championship title holders.
He got his campaign off to a brilliant start with a century against Hampshire, but has struggled for runs since. Yet, playing alongside the likes of current England stars Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Adil Rashid will give him the familiarity in the squad to go on and impress.
There is also a chance for one-day specialist Jason Roy to get his chance in the Test side, following solid batting displays for Surrey, despite being used lower down the order.
Roy has been a consistent performer for England in the shorter formats, helping them to the World Twenty20 final, but has so far yet to gain an opportunity in the five-day side.
Two fifties in his past two matches for Surrey have shown his capability at playing in the longer form, and will have put him on the selectors’ radar.
Who do you think should open the batting with Cook? Have your say below…
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