England door opens for Malan after Roy injury
Side strain rules batsman out of Pakistan T20 series Thorpe stands in as head coach in place of Silverwood
Dawid Malan is set to return to open the batting for England in the Twenty20 series against Pakistan, after Jason Roy was ruled out of the series with a side strain.
Malan has an outstanding record for England in T20 cricket, averaging 52 in 10 games, but has struggled to break into the first-choice top three of Jos Buttler, Roy and Jonny Bairstow. But with Buttler rested following his Test exertions and Roy now unavailable, Malan is likely to open. Tom Banton should also slot into the top three.
England have opted against calling up a replacement for Roy, happy with the options they already have in the rest of their 13-man squad.
Roy had a scan on Wednesday and England are optimistic that he will be fit for the three-game T20 and one-day international series against Australia that follows.
“We have all bases covered,” said captain Eoin Morgan. “Dawid, in particular most recently, has put together an early establishment of a career. Every time he is available, he has put himself forward as the next man in, simply by weight of runs and the rate at which he has scored them.”
The three-game T20 series is England’s first in the format since it was confirmed that this year’s T20
World Cup would be postponed, and the 2021 edition will be played in India. Morgan said that the series was vital as England assemble their T20 squad, with Test players such as Buttler and Jofra Archer likely to return against Australia.
“I think this is another opportunity for guys who would potentially sit outside that 15 to try and present their best case moving forward for winter tours and the World Cup next year,” Morgan said. “Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.”
Morgan urged those selected to play with aggression. “The messaging from myself and the coach throughout the majority of the series we play is to feel as comfortable in an England shirt as you do in a county shirt. To actually feel free enough to play the expansive game you would at your county, within international cricket.
“Our job is to get the best out of the guys who are in that squad. In order to achieve that, guys need to feel comfortable and free enough to take risks that international T20 cricket demands.”
For the first time, Graham Thorpe will assume the role of England head coach, standing in for Chris Silverwood. He will be assisted by Paul Collingwood, Marcus Trescothick, Jon Lewis, Azhar Mahmood and James Foster.
In the frame: Tom Curran takes a selfie with the England squad at Old Trafford yesterday