James Vince the standout county batsman this season but don't drop Alastair Cook, says David Lloyd
'No need for England to panic ahead of fourth Test against India'
Last Updated: 25/08/18 6:18am
England should consider recalling James Vince for the fourth Test against India but resist making wholesale changes, says David Lloyd.
Vince, 27, was dropped after the winter tour of New Zealand with an average of 24.90 in his 13 Test appearances.
But the Hampshire batsman has performed strongly in county cricket this season, scoring 847 runs at an average of 56.46, including an unbeaten double hundred against Somerset.
Lloyd put Vince's name forward for discussion after England lost the third Test to India by 203 runs, their top-order again struggling with Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings now averaging 16 and 18.80 respectively in the series.
"I'm not binning Cook," said Lloyd. "I would expect him to come good and use all his experience.
"Ed Smith might be thinking that their bowlers are potent against left-handed batsmen. He's thinking 'do I stick or do I twist with Keaton Jennings?'
"Let's have a look at the options. Rory Burns - a left-handed opening batsman down at Surrey - has been consistent for three years. He's an ugly looking player but effective when he's in form.
"Darryl Mitchell of Worcester is 34 years of age and he's averaging 46 in county cricket. Alex Davies, the young Lancastrian opener, is averaging 38.
"The standout player, if we're looking at stats in county cricket, by a mile is James Vince who can open. Do you go back to him?"
Collectively across 20 innings in the series, England's top four batsmen in the order average 19.90 - the worst figure at home since the 1902 series against Australia and the fourth lowest of all time.
But Lloyd told Sky Sports Cricket that there are extenuating circumstances and that now is not the time to panic.
"The top-order figures don't make pretty reading," admitted Lloyd. "In the conditions that we've had it has been difficult against quality bowling with the new ball on these pitches.
"We've said it many, many times. Kohli has been different but England haven't caught Kohli. You've got to catch these world-class players.
"I don't think England will change very much. It will be a risk to pick Jonny Bairstow for the next Test. He's got a fractured finger; he'll be protecting it all along. It may be better waiting until the Oval.
"So there will be a natural replacement there and Jos Buttler, we assume, will keep wicket."
England lead the series 2-1 despite the defeat at Trent Bridge and with games still to come at the Ageas Bowl, from August 30th, and the Oval, Lloyd says fans and players alike must see the bigger picture.
"I'd step back and just calm down. You've got eight or nine days before the next Test to remind yourselves, if you're in that England team that you're winning this series 2-1.
"You've had two really good Test matches against India, a wonderful team. India have come back very strongly. They've been more suited to the conditions at Trent Bridge; their bowlers were quicker, have got more out of the surface."
Watch the fourth Test between England and India live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday 30th August.
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