x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Jonathan Trott can provide flexibility at top for England as opener

The No 3 batsman should be considered as opener so the tourists can pick an all-rounder for the India Tests, writes Chitrabhanu R Kadalayil.

Jonathan Trott, left, and Alastair Cook opening for England can free up up space low down the order.
Jonathan Trott, left, and Alastair Cook opening for England can free up up space low down the order.

Not many make a successful transition from being a middle-order batsman to opening a Test innings.

Virender Sehwag, Shane Watson and to a lesser extent Mohammad Hafeez are three contemporary players to have done so.

It is not everyone's cup of tea, though, as India's greatest No 3 batsman Rahul Dravid will tell you.

Yet, it makes perfect sense for Jonathan Trott – who bats so much like Dravid did for 16 years – to take up the opening slot vacated by Andrew Strauss when England face India in the Ahmedabad Test on November 15.

It is not what Trott wants, which he made clear last month when he said: "If asked to open I'd have to – or I'd like to – do what the team wants me to. No 3 is my preference but we'll just have to wait and see."

England will wait and see as Nick Compton and Joe Root, one of whom is likely to walk out with the captain Alastair Cook, try to get as much out of the final day of their ongoing warm-up match (they may need to bowl Mumbai A out before that).

Compton has so far only managed nought (against India A) and one (in England's first innings of the ongoing match) while Root has done slightly better with 28 in his previous knock.

But even if one or both of them get some time in the middle today, Trott should be considered as opener given that England can then pick an all-rounder (and crucially a fifth bowler) for the Tests. Samit Patel and Tim Bresnan have both impressed.

It is a gamble but Trott must do it for England.

ckadalayil@thenational.ae

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