England head coach Trevor Bayliss has urged his fellow selectors to maintain faith in James Vince despite the Hampshire skipper’s underwhelming run-scoring returns in Test cricket.
Vince has racked up 112 runs in six innings since making his Test debut against Sri Lanka at Headingley in May, although his knock of 42 in a losing cause against Pakistan on Sunday represented his highest score.
Bayliss believes dispensing with Vince so soon into his international career would be a waste of talent, and points to the progression of opener Alex Hales since a difficult maiden tour of South Africa during the winter as evidence for retention.
“Most of the innings he [Vince] has played I think he’s looked very good while he’s been there,” said Bayliss. “Obviously in the end it’s about the number of runs. Personally, I think it would be an injustice if he doesn’t make it.
“He’s a good player, he’s got a good temperament and he offers a fair bit around the team as well, being the captain of Hampshire. But in the end, it will be number of runs that will determine his longevity in the team.
“I’m sure he’s starting to feel the pressure and I’m sure he’d like to be scoring more runs. Ask anyone who has been in that situation, it’s difficult to go out and play your natural game.
“There was a bit of talk we could have got rid of Hales after South Africa but if you stick with a guy, if you think they’re good enough and they believe they are, a lot of times they will come good.
“We’ll just have to wait and see but I’d like to think that he will play more cricket for England.”
Skipper Alastair Cook was scathing of England’s batting during the course of their 75-run defeat to Pakistan at Lord’s in the first Investec Test, branding it “naïve”, while England’s slip fielding – Vince was culpable of dropping catches – angered Bayliss.
“It wasn’t just him. In fact, in his first Test up in Leeds I thought he] was one of our better movers, from side to side, in the slips,” added Bayliss. “I haven’t spoken to him about this side of things but maybe it’s a case of the pressure of not scoring runs is starting to play on his mind, I’m not sure.
“From a slip catching point of view, I think we have all got work to do. I don’t think we move all that great from side to side. We have to move so we take our head to the ball and not just throw out an arm.”
Seamer James Anderson, England’s leading Test wicket-taker of all time, is set to be recalled for the second Test against Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford, which starts on Friday, after recovering from a stress fracture to the right shoulder.
Bayliss, meanwhile, has refused to rule out the use of two spinners in Manchester. He said: “I’ve always had the thought of playing two spinners at some stage here, whether it will be the next match I’m not sure.”