England v Pakistan - Men's
Bayliss' call to arms for England
National coach issues a plea to county batsman ahead of beginning of northern summer
5 April 2018, 02:30 PM AEST
Trevor Bayliss has issued a plea to batsmen in England's County Championship to stand up and demand selection ahead of the country's home summer Test campaign.
After a lengthy but ultimately fruitless journey to Australia and New Zealand – during which they failed to win a Test (five losses, two draws) – England coach Bayliss has refused to guarantee many places in a top order that struggled to make decisive runs.
Only one player – captain Joe Root – averaged above 40 in the two series defeats (4-0 in Australia, 1-0 in New Zealand), with wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow the next best performer with 469 runs at 36.07.
Dawid Malan also looks likely to have cemented his position in the side for the opening match of a two-Test series against Pakistan next month, returning from England's travels with four half-centuries and a ton to his name for a combined series average of 35.46.
Opener Alastair Cook will be one player eager for runs in the County Championship, after the left-hander's epic 244 not out in Melbourne masked an otherwise lean run: 155 runs at 12.91 in 12 innings.
But the pair under most pressure look to be top-order players Mark Stoneman and James Vince, who both averaged 30 through their time in Australia and New Zealand, with neither player managing a century. In fact, across the seven Tests, only Bairstow (twice), Malan and Cook managed three-figure scores.
The county competition begins next Friday (April 13) and Bayliss is desperate for standout performers with the bat.
"Those early matches back home, I think, will mean a lot," Bayliss said.
"There are chances available (for selection) – if you're scoring a lot of runs and taking a lot of wickets, you're going to be very close.
"(But) I don't think there's anyone at home putting their hand up at the moment and saying come and pick me.
"The same questions are still there but I'm not sure there are better players out of the team at the moment.
"So who do we replace them with?
"There are some young players on the cusp but I guess this is a call-out to the guys in county cricket – the first few matches of the season are very important."