England head coach Chris Silverwood on Tuesday hinted that the management will retain Joe Denly for the playing XI after regular captain Joe Root returns for the second Test slated to be played at the Old Trafford Ground on Manchester. This implies that Zak Crawley will have to make his way for Root's inclusion.
Root will be missing the opener against West Indies on Wednesday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton as he will be attending the birth of his second child. Ben Stokes will be leading the side in the opener, but Root will be back for the second and third Test.
In Root's absence, Crawley is expected to take the No.4 spot with Denly at No.3. The former made his debut in the format in the second Test against New Zealand in December and improved on his top score in each of his first five innings. But after four Tests, he averages 27.33 with only one half-century.
Denly, on the other hand, has been consistent with the amount of balls he faces in an innings. In 14 Tests he has played in his career, the 34-year-old averages only 30 with no century. And he hasn't crossed the half-century mark in his last nine Tests. But has crossed the 100-ball mark nine times in his career. His length innings at the difficult moments in an innings gives time for the middle-order to flourish under rather comfortable conditions.
Speaking on the Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show, Silverwood said, “Joe is in possession at the moment, and I do believe in giving people one too many chances rather than one not enough. He’ll be given an opportunity, he’ll be backed. Obviously we hope he goes out there and puts performances in, for him and for the team.”