England captain Alastair Cook is hoping to find his long-term opening partner in the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Since Andrew Strauss’ retirement in 2012, Cook has seen Nick Compton, Joe Root, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson, Jonathan Trott and Adam Lyth try and fail to make the position their own.
Moeen Ali and Alex Hales were both on the plane to Dubai on Wednesday, and one will get the chance to prove their top-order credentials in the three Test series.
Moeen is the current favourite, with England pondering a promotion all the way from the number eight slot he occupied during the Ashes.
There are concerns the Worcestershire all-rounder would be less suited to conditions on the subsequent tour of South Africa, but Cook is hoping that weight of runs will settle the issue once and for all.
“All the players we’ve tried have done pretty well, done okay with similar records in different conditions without anyone really grabbing the opportunity,” said Cook.
“Whether it has been Carbs or Sam Robson or Adam, they haven’t quite grabbed that opportunity to make the place their own. Now there might be an opportunity for someone else.
“If the guy who does it in UAE does well, he might keep the job. If you’re given that first chance and you grab it and score the runs, it’s very hard to leave a guy out.”