As the song goes, three is the magic number, but for England and their men’s cricket team, is it? Here I argue not, but there’s more to the discussion than that. Since Jonathan Trott retired from England duty, The Three Lions and the top – order has changed more than the Great British weather.
Jonny Bairstow, Tom Westley, Moeen Ali, Joe Root and James Bracey (who has been seen as a specialist in the role) have been promoted to that position in the batting line-up and demoted from that batting line up.
This is starting to sound a little bit like England football team’s left-wing problem in the Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes era. The latest incumbent of the position is Ollie Pope, the wicket-keeper batsmen who, lazily admittedly on my part, is someone who I am convinced is the air to the Ian Bell throne.
The Warwickshire legend was a player who did bat at all positions due to his class, but it does help to have a player who is naturally suited to the role. Pujara, Dravid or even Hussain have been good players in the position.
In the case of Rahul Dravid, he was known and known as the wall. Why? Well, quite simply at times he was the one man barrier that protected the rest of India’s stellar batting line up to getting exposed to the new ball.
Trott, to a point (even though his scoring speed was criticised) was England’s answer to the Indian legend. So, after stating the players who have filled the role (with varied success in the little time given for most of them), who do I think should be the number three for England?
In short, Ollie Pope. That’s an easy answer as he is the man in possession of the shirt, but in possession he scored a big hundred, so he has bought some time for himself. Australia’s pace attack, South Africa’s, India’s and Pakistan’s too will be stiff challenges for the Surrey, especially if Zak Crawley continues to be given chances, even though he should be replaced by Dom Sibley.
That’s my two cents, but do you agree?
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