Cricket Expert & Columnist
India v England: Sam Billings should replace injured Haseeb Hameed, says Michael Atherton
Last Updated: 30/11/16 10:10am
Sam Billings should be called into the England squad to replace the injured Haseeb Hameed, says Michael Atherton.
That leaves England short of an opener for the remaining two matches of the Test series but Atherton argued against drafting in a direct replacement.
"The obvious options are the two young left-handers Nick Gubbins and Keaton Jennings, both of whom are with the Lions in the UAE and had excellent seasons in Division One cricket, scoring over 1,500 runs," he told Sky Sports.
"But myself, I would not bring either of those two. I wouldn't want another left-hander and another novice of Indian conditions.
"I'd go for a right-hander and I'd go for Sam Billings who is regarded by Graham Thorpe as a very fine player of spin, quick-footed."
Should England choose that option they would still be an opening batsman down and Atherton believes they have two options to fill the void left by Hameed as they endeavour to win the last two Tests and salvage a draw from the series.
"I know Billings is a middle-order player, so it is not a like-for-like replacement so then you have to think who to have at the top of the order," he added.
"There are two options really: Ben Duckett, who did open in Bangladesh - but if they think he is too scarred and can't do it then fair enough and you try and persuade Joe Root to go up there for a couple of games.
"I'd prefer to give Duckett a go at the top of the order given that he was originally selected ahead of Gubbins or Jennings and then you've got a right-hander in Billings. I think England look stronger with right-handers in the middle-order with Jayant Yadav and Ashwin on the prowl."
Watch highlights of day four of the third Test between India and England on Sky Sports 2 from 2pm with The Verdict to follow at 3pm on the same channel.