Will Phil Salt Replace injured Dawid Malan for the India semi-final? England is in a pickle ahead of Thursday’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India in Adelaide. Dawid Malan is expected to be unavailable for the semi-finals after being forced off the field with an injury in England’s win over Sri Lanka to secure Group 1 qualification.
In recent years, the left-handed number three has been a mainstay of England’s T20I side, scoring 1748 runs at an average of 38.84 in an anchor role near the top of the order. Malan’s consistency and volume of runs have kept him near the top of the MRF ICC Batting Rankings for several years, and he has topped the list for extended periods of time. He is England’s best-ranked T20 batter, currently ranked sixth in the world.
Malan’s likely absence from the XI to face India creates a selection quandary for Jos Buttler’s side.
Phil Salt as a batting replacement
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The only batting cover in England’s squad in Australia is big-hitting opener Phil Salt. Salt is the obvious choice if a batting-heavy selection approach is preferred, but there are three possible ways he could fit into the XI.
Phil Salt at One Down
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drop, Phil Salt could come straight into the side in Malan’s position. The benefit of this strategy is that it avoids England from having to reshuffle their batting order at a critical stage of the tournament. However, Phil Salt rarely plays at number three for his county or franchise teams, has never been selected there for England, and his selection would leave the team with an all-right-hander top three.
Phill Salt sets as the Opener
Phil Salt prefers to bat first, where he aims for quick starts with high strike rates. He has a strike rate of 164.33 for England and has hit more than 150.53 in his county and franchise T20 career.
Opening with Phil Salt would almost certainly push Alex Hales down to the third place. Hales would be an intimidating player at three, but he appears to have found form at the top of the order and almost exclusively plays as an opener in T20s, so moving him now would be a risk.