England still have batting concerns ahead of the Ashes

The bowling attack looks in great shape, but there are concerns about England’s batting line up ahead of the visit of Australia this July.

Nick Compton for one has not convinced at the top of the order, and at 29 should be at the peak of his powers. Another poor display at Headingley has put his place in the side in real jeapordy.

A convincing 2-0 series win against New Zealand, despite the best efforts of the rain, has helped to paper over the cracks, but it will be a different story when the Aussies come to town.

Nick Compton does not look like a Test Match Batsman

Nick Compton does not look like a Test Match Batsman

He was always going to be in the shadow of his grandfather, the great Denis Compton, but Nick has just not cut it on the biggest stage. His County stats are impressive, averaging more than 43, but there is a huge step up from First Class to International, and it looks to be too much for him.

There is a sense of the Mark Ramprakash about him: The talent is there, but it can’t be transferred from county to country.

Former England Captain Michael Vaughan is one of those calling for Compton to be replaced, and said that, if he was Michael Clarke, he would be wanting the Somerset man to open: A clear sign he is the weak point of England’s batting.

The question is: Who could replace him at the top of the order?

Joe Root, having made such a blistering start to his England career, and having hit his maiden test hundred against the Black Caps at Headingley, is one option. He opens for Yorkshire and is in scintillating form at the moment, certainly better than Compton.

Vaughan, a fellow Yorkie, insists in his latest article that this is the best option for the Ashes series, and notes how Root is “the perfect foil” for Alastair Cook.

However, there is an argument for keeping him where he is. Moving him to open the batting could harm his form, and it would mean chopping and changing the order at a risky time.

The big worry however, is about Kevin Pietersen: Will he be fit in time?

Having not played since the tour to New Zealand in March, Cook recently said he is still doubtful.

The side look much weaker without talisman Pietersen

The side looks much weaker without the talismanic Pietersen

If he is available, he is a shoo-in to be selected, but if not, the side will be severely weaker. They look a much poorer side without his entertaining strokes and aggression.

Jonny Bairstow has performed in fits and starts since coming into the side, and Ian Bell seems to regularly play his way in before then throwing his wicket away.

The press labelled the Second Test against the Black Caps as a “play off” between Compton and Bairstow to keep their place ahead of the Ashes.

Bairstow performed the better of the two, with a first-innings half century alongside Yorkshire colleague Root, whilst Compton struggled again, making 1 and 7.

Bell is unlikely to be left out given his experience, but had another low score at Headingley. It seems he has for been on the wane for a while now.

I have a feeling however that Bairstow will be the one to make way for KP as it means less chopping and changing in the order trying to find a number 2, but both Bell and Compton need to improve quickly if they are to play their role in the biggest series of them all.

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