England v West Indies: Joe Denly must be moved aside – Michael Vaughan

England v West Indies: Joe Denly must be moved aside - Michael Vaughan 1

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England should move batsman Joe Denly “to one side”, says former captain Michael Vaughan.

Denly’s dismissal for 29 on the fourth day of the first Test against West Indies means he has gone eight innings without reaching 40.

One of Denly or Zak Crawley, who made 76, is set to make way when captain Joe Root returns for the second Test.

“England have a decision to make on Denly. Crawley surely has to stay in the side,” Vaughan told BBC Sport.

Denly, 33, averages 29.53 in 15 Tests since making his debut in 2019.

He has a highest score of 94 – against Australia last summer – and has developed a habit of throwing away good starts.

Saturday’s 70-ball innings, which ended in a tame chip to short mid-wicket off off-spinner Roston Chase, was the sixth time in eight innings that he had passed 25 without scoring more than 40.

“Joe Denly played the way he has played in all of his 15 Tests,” said Vaughan. “It’s been the same story. He did the hard yards then made a mistake.”

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Denly’s Kent team-mate Crawley is 22, and his elegant 76 in Southampton was his second half-century in five Tests.

“It’s not even a conversation,” said Vaughan, who captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests.

“You could argue that Denly was very lucky to have played 15 Test matches. There are a lot of players who have played only eight Tests and got hundreds.

“He has missed his chance and they have to stick with Crawley. I’m sorry for Denly – he’s just not good enough.”

Crawley would not be drawn on speculation over who would be in the team when Root returns from paternity leave at Old Trafford.

“That’s not my place to say,” Crawley said. “My job is to score runs, and that is what I will try to continue to do as long as I get a chance.

“It is for the powers that be to decide. Joe has done extremely well over the past year and it’s a tough scenario.”

When Crawley was sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 98 with Ben Stokes, it looked as if England were moving into a position of strength.

But both fell in successive overs, beginning a slide of five wickets for 30 runs.

England closed on 284-8, leading by 170, leaving West Indies as favourites for victory on what could be a thrilling final day.

“There was a point out there when we felt on top,” said Crawley. “It’s a real shame to lose wickets quickly.

“Everyone in the dressing room is looking forward to trying to contribute to winning the game tomorrow.”

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