Tom Banton and Dawid Malan will be desperate to enhance their claims for a regular England place when Eoin Morgan’s side look to wrap up a T20 series victory over Pakistan at Old Trafford this evening.
With Jos Buttler and Jason Roy unavailable, the pair have emphasised England’s top-order depth across the first two games, Banton striking 71 off 42 balls in Friday night’s washout before Malan’s half-century saw England home in Sunday’s five-wicket win.
The end of England’s Test commitments mean Morgan will have something nearing a full-strength squad to choose from for the first time this summer when the series against Australia starts on Friday and the three matches should provide a clearer indication of where his side are at a year out from the T20 World Cup.
Banton and Malan were yesterday named in a 14-man squad for that series, but even though Roy remains absent with a side strain, only one is likely to keep their place, with Buttler back in the fold and Jonny Bairstow sure to feature somewhere in the top three.
“I’m excited about the performances of both [players],” said national selector Ed Smith. “Tom Banton’s got an incredibly high ceiling as a player, that was clear a couple of years ago, and I think we’re now starting to see on the international stage what he’s capable of.
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“What Dawid’s done outstandingly well is that very often, when he’s been given an opportunity, he’s made a real contribution.
“That’s exactly the right approach to the situation that he’s been in, because he has been behind some outstanding cricketers, the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy. Every time Dawid’s got a chance, he’s acquitted himself very well.”
It is a different story for England’s fringe bowlers, who have struggled to take powerplay wickets and barely managed to keep Pakistan below 200 on Sunday.
David Willey, Saqib Mahmood and Lewis Gregory could all be involved tonight, but have already been dropped for the Australia series, with Sam Curran, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood recalled following their Test exploits.