Ahead of the Ashes series against Australia, England head coach Trevor Bayliss has admitted that there has been an inconsistency in the national side's top-order for the last six or seven years, adding that one doesn't need to be Einstein to work that out.
Notably, former England skipper Alastair Cook is the only player who has managed to amass more than 1,000 runs at the top of the order for the side since March 2014. The national selectors have tried at least 17 players to open the batting for England during this period and only 23 of the 123 first-wicket partnership have crossed the 50-run mark.
With just a few days left to the commencement of the five-match Ashes series, Bayliss admitted that the misfiring top-order could be one of England's biggest concerns in the upcoming Tests. He, however, pointed out that the issue has been there since last six to seven years and that it didn't stop them from winning the Ashes.
"You don't have to be Einstein to work that out. They have been for the last six or seven years, but it didn't stop us [from winning the Ashes] four years ago," the International Cricket Council (ICC) official website quoted Bayliss as saying.
Young players namely Rory Burns, Jason Roy and Joe Denly have all been named in the 14-member England Test squad and they will be the hosts' top-order choices in the opening match against Australia. The trio has appeared in just 11 Test matches between them and their lack of experience was clearly visible during England's one-off match against Ireland.
Joe Denly was dismissed for 23 and 10 in the two innings he played, while Rory Burns scored six runs as an opener. Roy, on the other hand, departed for 5 in his maiden Test innings before he made amendments to make a crucial 72 in the second innings.
Reflecting on the same, Bayliss said that Roy might take some time to get accustomed to red-ball cricket.
"Like any debutant, he looked nervous, but to score 70-odd in your first Test was a good effort. There was a bit more in those wickets than I'm sure he's been used to in white-ball cricket over the last few years, but runs are runs. He wouldn't be the first player to look scratchy and eke out runs. In fact, that's a good sign, I think," he said.
"We want him to go out and play his natural game, but in red-ball cricket, you have to be a little more selective," Bayliss signed off.
England and Australia are slated to play the opening Test of the five-match series at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on August 1.