England Test captain Joe Root has said that a fragile top order is not a big concern for the team as they prepare to take on the Windies in a three-Test series.
While the new opening pair of Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns got a hundred and a fifty between them in the away series against Sri Lanka, they haven't consistently been able to give England strong starts. Now that Alastair Cook has retired, England are going to miss an experienced player at the top.
Captain Root, though, isn't bothered too much, relying instead on the experience of those that come after the top two: himself, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
Boasting of deep batting reserves, this England side have the potential to bat Sam Curran, the young all-rounder who made a mark in the home Tests against India, as low as No.9. The depth has rescued England on more than one occasion, against India and at times Sri Lanka, too.
"We are playing to our strengths. We have to manage expectations and understand that it might not be the top four who score the bulk of the runs," Root told BBC Sport.
"We have a very strong middle order and the wickets we have played on have generally been difficult at the start, putting pressure on the top order. As long as we are scoring enough runs to win games of cricket, that is the important thing."
"He has become one of the standout all-rounders in international cricket" – @windiescricket coach Pybus hails the growth of captain @Jaseholder98 as a player and leader.— ICC (@ICC) January 22, 2019
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England have had a good run in the second half of 2018. They beat India 4-1 at home and then went on to sweep Sri Lanka 3-0 away. A victory in the West Indies will mark the end of a successful Test season before they focus on the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 at home later this year.
"You can't ignore it, it's an exciting summer, with a huge amount of exciting cricket to come," Root acknowledged.
“The first time I saw him, I said, 'This is class!'”— ICC (@ICC) January 21, 2019
When a youngster catches the eye of the great Garry Sobers, you know he's something special! 👀
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"It is something that everyone is really looking forward to. But a strong message in the dressing room is that our full focus is on this tour, to make sure we are doing everything we can to win this series.
"The way we played in Sri Lanka, if we can transfer a lot of that into this series we'll be really pleased by the end of it."
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