Cook: Top order spots for Ashes series ‘up for grabs’

Alastair Cook top order spots up for grabs for the Ashes series against Australia England cricket

Alastair Cook: “Nobody is a shoo-in in that top three”

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Ex-England captain Alastair Cook has admitted that top order spots will be “up for grabs” for the upcoming Ashes series against Australia.

After hosting the World Cup, which they will be looking to win for the first time, England will take on Australia and look to regain the Ashes on home soil.

While England have not lost the Ashes at home since 2001, their top order issues will have to be solved ahead of the five-Test series, which begins on August 1 at Edgbaston.

As of now, Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings have both been inconsistent as England’s openers and there have been mounting calls for Jason Roy to be given a chance.

Roy is a regular face in England’s limited overs squads, but he has yet to make his Test debut.

In last year’s County Championship, Roy only played two games for Surrey, but he scored 196 runs, which included a century and a fifty, at an average of 65.33.

When asked if Roy can get the job done at the top of the order for England in the longest format, Cook told Sky Sports: “It is and exciting time for anyone out there. The top order has not been settled for some time now. There are places up for grabs. Any player, with such a big summer ahead, with the World Cup first before the Ashes – the greatest Test series you can play – if you have a good year you can make a real name for yourself.

“I haven’t seen much of Jason playing four-day cricket. We have all seen what he can do in white-ball cricket.

“In one way it is a very similar game – we have seen what he can do in the international arena. He hasn’t batted a huge amount at the top of the order for Surrey, and that is obviously a concern. He is so talented, a number of those players are. Given a run and some experience there is no reason he cannot do it.”

Cook added that James Vince could be another candidate since he is now opening the batting for Hampshire.

Vince has represented England in 13 Tests to date and accumulated 548 runs, which includes three half-centuries, at an average of 24.90.

“Another name for me, who will be really interesting to see, is James Vince,” Cook said. “He is now opening for Hampshire, so it is a really good opportunity for him. He is a brilliant batter, one I love watching. He got an 80 in Brisbane in a real high-pressure situation, he can do it as well.

“Keats [Jennings] is a great batter who has experienced everything already in Test cricket in such a short space of time – 100 on debut, 100 in Sri Lanka but has had some tough moments in English conditions. He will be desperate to to score runs for Lancashire and get some form down and make the call for selectors very hard. Nobody is a shoo-in in that top three.”

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