Keaton Jennings will be nervous about Sri Lanka place, says Bayliss
• England will consider resting a senior seamer for Sri Lanka tour
Trevor Bayliss has declined to offer Keaton Jennings any assurances over his place on England’s winter tour to Sri Lanka following a lean second stab at Test cricket.
Ed Smith, the national selector, hinted over the weekend that, despite an average of 19.2 this summer, Jennings is likely to be on the plane in November amid a wariness over blooding two fresh openers following Alastair Cook’s retirement.
Jennings, who made a century on debut in Mumbai in December 2016, has been trying to relaunch his Test career in a season dominated by the Dukes ball and it is true that until Cook and KL Rahul cut loose at the Oval, the top orders have had it tough. But Bayliss, the England head coach, feels the 26-year-old’s continuation still hangs in the balance, saying: “I’m sure he will be a bit nervous about which way it will go. He scored runs in India on spinning wickets and I’m sure that will be in his favour.
“But he is a big boy, he knows runs on the board count as well. All of those points will have to be discussed and I can’t say at this stage or another whether he will go or not.”
Smith and the panel will convene at the end of the penultimate round of County Championship matches next week, with Bayliss joining via telephone after returning home to Australia. As well as the debate over Jennings, he acknowledged the claims of Rory Burns, James Vince, Joe Denly and Ollie Pope will also be discussed.
In terms of bowling, Bayliss admitted the idea of resting a senior seamer – most likely Stuart Broad – is “on the agenda”, with the Australian leaning towards offering an opportunity to a younger man in light of the 20-year-old Sam Curran’s breakthrough summer.
Smith is keen to tailor squads to conditions and though spin will probably dominate in Sri Lanka, such that Jack Leach will likely play alongside Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, Ollie Stone of Warwickshire and Somerset’s Jamie Overton are two genuine fast bowlers who could transcend what are expected to be unhelpful pitches.
Both the 24-year-olds have a track record of injury but have been among the wickets this summer. They could also push for a place on the one-day tour that comes first in October – the squad for which is expected next Monday – not least since Liam Plunkett has been permitted to miss part of the three-week limited overs leg for his wedding.