Former England captain Nasser Hussain has backed Surrey’s Rory Burns to replace out of form Keaton Jennings in the England squad for the Sri Lanka tour.
Jennings has scored just 163 runs in five innings against India so far at an average of 18.11. He has only one half-century and one century to his name - which he got in the first two matches of his career. Hussain feels Jennings was left exposed against spin in the Oval Test and his catching also has been below-par in the series.
“He’s supposed to be a good player of spin, which is why England are keen to take him on tour, but to get out caught at leg slip, more or less off the face of the bat, was a dozy piece of cricket.
The bowler Ravindra Jadeja often gets players out that way with his left-arm spin, so it was careless of Jennings – almost as if he’d forgotten the man was there. Then, in the second innings, he shouldered arms to Shami and was bowled top of middle stump. Shami was going so wide of the stumps he was almost bowling no-balls on the return crease, so Jennings must have known the ball would be coming back into him.
Jennings has also dropped a few catches this summer, including an easy one at silly point that would have polished India off for 260. I prefer to give a guy one game too many rather than one too few, and it’s certainly true that life for left-handed openers has been tough in England over the past couple of years. But I wouldn’t take him to Sri Lanka, " Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
Hussain also said that Burns would be an ideal replacement given that he has been among the runs for the past few years.
“The sad truth is the cupboard is a bit bare. But it’s a results business, so I’d take Surrey’s Rory Burns, who has consistently been in the runs over the past few years. He’s also a left-hander, which should help deal with the threat of Sri Lanka’s slow left-armer Rangana Herath.
In fact, being a good player of spin will be the key factor out there. Forget trying to combat swing, which has been the problem this summer. Sri Lanka will be a trial of spin from the start, so you pick your best six or seven batsmen against the turning ball. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re an opener or not,"
Sri Lanka’s tour of Sri Lanka starts with the ODI series on October 10 and the three-match Test series begins on November 6.