- New England selector Ed Smith faces a tough task selecting form batsmen
- England desperately need a stable top order but candidates are not forthcoming
- James Vince, Keaton Jennings and Mark Stoneman are all struggling for form
If the new national selector, Ed Smith, was in any doubt about the size of the task he begins next month, the start of this summer’s County Championship will have provided alarming clarity.
At a time when England desperately need a stable top order, the domestic season has begun with an almost complete lack of runs from the candidates.
At The Oval, Hampshire’s James Vince, under pressure to retain his Test place at No 3 after averaging 30 in Australia and New Zealand over the winter, was trapped second ball of the day by Surrey’s Rikki Clarke for six runs.
England desperately need a stable top order but potential candidates are struggling for form
Keaton Jennings is among a number of batsmen who have had a below-par season so far
Surrey’s Mark Stoneman, who also faces a battle to retain his Test spot, had already been dismissed for four on Friday.
Lancashire’s Haseeb Hameed, a potential partner for Alastair Cook, has begun the new season with scores of three, 19 and eight.
Lancashire’s Keaton Jennings is yet to pass 27, Northamptonshire’s Ben Duckett has suffered three failures out of three and Middlesex’s highly-rated opener Nick Gubbins is injured.
It has been a country-wide malaise and one thing is certain: Smith will have his work cut out.