Denly may lose WC spot

Denly may lose WC spot

LONDON: Three full tosses, a loopy delivery on a length, a good one on about middle stump and a quicker variation that almost took an edge.

Six balls of leg spin sent down in the 29th over. The Bristol County Ground is no friend to slow bowlers, with its short straight hits and unresponsive surface. But at 165 for four, Imam-ul-Haq well set on 81 and Asif Ali fresh to the crease on three, there was a chance for Joe Denly to state his case, playing as he was instead of chief leg spinner Adil Rashid. That was his lot.

It certainly was not an over encouraging his skipper to give him one more. Eoin Morgan’s captaincy hinges on smarts and a gambler’s instinct and the idea of giving Denly another over seemed at odds with both. Denly’s six cost nine runs but, longer term, they may also have cost him a World Cup spot. That may sound a tad melodramatic, but let’s take a look at the events leading up to this match. A week ago, day before the first England-Pakistan ODI at the Oval, Trevor Bayliss came out and said another spinning allrounder, Liam Dawson, was being considered as an outside addition to the World Cup squad, having not been named in either the preliminary 15 for the tournament or the wider 17 for these ODIs. No real problem there – Denly had the chance to prove himself at the Oval.

But not only did rain rob him off that opportunity, but he was sat on the sidelines for the second fixture at Southampton as England got their series off to a winning start. Then, of course, there was Tuesday. If anything, it is not the bowling (or lack of) that points towards what might be Denly’s imminent exclusion from the World Cup squad, but his batting. Again – lack of.

England batted 44.5 overs and down to number six. Within that, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes went in ahead of Morgan which is not usually how the batting lines up. The appetite was there to give Moeen and Stokes sometime in the middle for the first time this series.

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