The final place in England’s World Cup squad may be determined by the gut feeling of captain Eoin Morgan, with David Willey, Joe Denly and Liam Dawson seemingly vying for one spot.
National selector Ed Smith will announce the 15 men at Lord’s on Tuesday morning, with 17 players included in Monday’s deliberations.
Barring any unexpected fitness issues, the majority of the conversations should revolve around a solitary shirt, with three options offering entirely different answers to the same question.
Willey has the distinction of being the only left-arm seamer in the frame but he has slipped down the pecking order since Jofra Archer’s emergence and may be considered a luxury given the pace bowling stocks at hand.
Denly is by far the most versatile player, a handy selling point in tournament cricket, though his failure to convince as a frontline spin option has brought Dawson back into contention at the 11th hour.
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The slow left-armer has not been with England since leaving the winter tour of Sri Lanka with a side strain but has strung together a consistent sequence of performances and is clearly a more reliable solution than Denly should Adil Rashid or Moeen Ali succumb to injury.
Smith, his deputy James Taylor and coach Trevor Bayliss might all have their own preferences but in the event of gridlock, the influential Morgan could be called upon to settle the issue.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Bayliss said: “If it got down to a bit of a stalemate in discussions, in the four years that I’ve been here the captain gets a big say.
“He’s got to be the one comfortable with going out on the field with the other 10 players. The captain has a very big say.
“Of the 17 we have, if we ended up with 15 of those guys in this squad, Morgs and I would be happy.
“Unfortunately one or two guys have to miss out. That’s just the way it is in professional sport. It’s going to be a difficult position and everyone will feel for whoever misses out.”
Both Denly and Willey would be particularly disappointed after being named in the provisional squad last month. Dawson may seem a relative latecomer in that regard but Bayliss revealed he has never been far from the debate.
“He’s been in conversations for the last six months or more, certainly,” said the Australian.
“He was in Sri Lanka with us and if it wasn’t for an injury he’d have probably finished that series and possibly gone to the West Indies as well. He will get a good hearing at the selection meeting.
“The decision we have got to make is that Denly covers a few positions. His batting is obviously his strength and obviously a bowls few leg-spinners as well.
“With Dawson, he’s not a bad batter either, but he’s been selected in previous squads, like in Sri Lanka, as a third spinner.
“You would have to say he’s the next best spinner. That’s the decision we have to mull over, discuss and see which way we go.”
In all likelihood, delivering the news – good or bad – will fall to Smith, but Bayliss will contact the unlucky pair to remind them a starring role could still await if injury replacements are needed in the coming weeks.
“That’ll be the message, that every one deserves to be in the team and we would have no problems at all with anyone in the dressing room being in the 15. They’re all aware of that so I’m sure they’ll take it well.”
Probable squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.News Now - Sport News