Returning Trott could open with Cook against Windies

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Basseterre (St. Kitts), April 5 (IANS) England are hoping their long search for an opening batsman to replace former captain Andrew Strauss will end with the possible return of Jonathan Trott to their Test team for the series against the West Indies.

Trott is back in the England set-up for the first time since he left the 2013-14 Ashes tour after the first Test in Brisbane with what was later diagnosed as situational anxiety.

England have struggled to find a new opening partner for captain Alastair Cook since Strauss retired in 2012, with the likes of Nick Compton, Michael Carberry and Australian-born Sam Robson all tried and discarded.

Cook’s next partner appears to be one of Trott or Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth, who was the leading run-scorer in the top division of English county cricket last season.

“We’re lucky in one sense that we’re choosing between two very good players,” Cook was quoted as saying by on Sunday.

“Ever since Straussy announced his retirement we haven’t quite found consistency in that position so whoever gets that chance gets the opportunity to try and nail that down.

“But we haven’t discussed that yet.”

With the first Test against the Windies set to start on April 13 in Antigua, the decision will be made after England’s two two-day tour matches in St Kitts this week.

While Cook couldn’t provide guarantees that Trott would be able to handle the pressure of international cricket should he earn a recall, he praised his teammate for his ability to fight his way back into the squad.

“Trott has almost demanded selection and it’s great for me to see him back in an England shirt. He’s a great guy and if he gets his chance he’ll be desperate to do well. It would be his 50th game as well which is a great achievement if he gets there,” Cook said.

“You don’t know 100 per cent if he’ll be fine until he’s put out in the environment but Trotty’s done everything we’ve asked of him.

“He feels confident in himself and he’s just looking forward to taking that next step. What we do know is he’s a quality player. You don’t have his stats and that weight of runs behind you without being a quality player.

“When I saw him in Brisbane I would have been surprised if he’d come back but it’s a huge credit to the work he’s done off the field and the effort he’s put in.

“That obviously shows his desire to come back to play for England.”

The identity of Cook’s new opening partner is one of several intriguing selection dilemmas for England heading into the three-Test series against the Caribbean side.

With Moeen Ali ruled out due to a side injury, Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes are in the frame to replace him as the allrounder in the English side, reports

Trott returned to cricket with his county side Warwickshire last year, scoring three centuries in eight first-class matches, and posted scores of 79 not out, 211 not out, 0 and 53 on the England Lions tour of South Africa in January.

But with Gary Ballance having secured England’s No.3 position with three centuries last English summer, and Ian Bell and Joe Root solid at numbers four and five, Trott’s best chance of a return to the Test XI appears to be via the vacant opening position.

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