Alastair Cook’s retirement means that rather than the seemingly endless hunt to find an opening partner for the record-breaking batman, England now need to replace the man himself.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the contenders.
The Surrey man may well have been going to Sri Lanka in the autumn anyway, but his chances of opening the batting now look considerably higher. Burns, 28, has led from the front for champions-elect Surrey this season and is the only man in Championship cricket to go past 1,000 runs. He has done that at an average of 65.81. If this is not his time, then it may never be.
Already in the England ranks, could Jonny Bairstow move up the order? Though his preferred slot is to bat in the middle order and keep wicket, England’s recent decision to give the gloves to Jos Buttler while Bairstow recovered from a damaged finger shows the selectors are willing to go against the grain. Bairstow has excelled as an opener for Yorkshire and England’s one-day team, so why not?
On England’s tour of India two years ago, the question as to who would replace Cook had a simple answer – Lancashire’s Haseeb Hameed. An 82 on debut in Rajkot and a 59 in Mohali led to big acclaim and a tea appointment with Sachin Tendulkar, but injury and a loss of form has blighted him since. At 21 he has time, but it would be a surprise if the call came immediately.
Stoneman has partnered Cook in Tests but his failure to score higher than 60 has seen him sent back to the county game with Surrey. A strong end to the season could get him back in the picture as he at least knows the current set-up.