England considering two opening batsmen following Alastair Cook's retirement

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There's little doubt England face a huge challenge trying to replaces former Test captain, Alastair Cook, who will retire at the end of the current series against India.

The 33-year-old has been a mainstay with the national squad for a long time, breaking various records in the process and will bow out a favourite amongst the squad and the fans.

With his imminent departure from international contention, thoughts are already turning to the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka and who can be the long-term successor for such an iconic and important figure in the England dressing room.

According to The Telegraph, the two cricketers in the hot seat for contention are the Surrey captain Rory Burns and Kent's Joe Denly.

Burns has a first-class average of 43.92, with 14 centuries in 103 matches. He has blossomed since being appointed captain of Surrey - who are top of the County Championship - this season, averaging 64.07 in Division One.

At 28 years of age, Burns is at his prime in his career, an ideal time to combine experience and skill while also having longevity in the national team on his mind.

The more surprising pick of the two would be Denly, who many people believed his international career to be in the past.

The right-hander has featured for England in shorter formats before - his last T20 appearance coming in 2010 - but England have seen a vast improvement in his form and technique over the last couple of years to suggest he could make the step up to the Test side.

Denly's last appearance for England came in 2010

Denly averages 45.88 for Kent this first-class season, and averaged 57.54 in 2017. Although these runs were mainly made in Division Two of the County Championship, England believe that the figure understates his true worth because Canterbury, his home ground, is a notoriously tough place to bat. 

Nonetheless, Denly remains a top candidate because of his versatility he offers to bat further down the order if necessary, as well as his ability to bowl a bit of leg-spin.

In Sri Lanka, where spin always plays a big role, England believe that Denly could be a useful support to their frontline spinners.

The race to replace Cook is well and truly on...

England cricket
Alastair Cook

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