Having to replace England’s best-ever run-scorer is an immense task in its self, add in a particular technique and you’ve got all eyes on you from London to Los Angeles.
It must be hard being an England Test opener.
Enter Rory Burns.
The 29-year old entered the test arena, a year ago to become the first County Championship-winning captain to play for his country since Mike Gatting and Graham Gooch.
With more than 9000 runs under his belt in First Class cricket, it was certain he was an excellent successor for Sir Alistair Cook particularly with a brilliant first Ashes to boot; 390 runs at an average of 39 against one of the paciest attacks, especially with such a quirky idiosyncrasy.
Now come along a year, a home summer with the reverse swing of Covid-19 lurking around, Burns is under pressure with low scores against Ireland and now Pakistan.
We all remember Stuart Broad living rent-free in David Warner’s head during the Ashes, and it’s Shaheen Shah Afridi this time to Burns.
Three out of four times, Burns has fallen to the left-arm quick. The opener finished the series with scores of four, 10, zero and six against Pakistan.
The Surrey captain’s peculiarity is that his head position starts from mid-on to keep in line with the trajectory of the ball.
He has a dominant left eye, so while the rest of his body is pointing down the ground, the left-hander’s head starts from mid-on and follows into position while the bowler runs in.
His closed-off stance is causing him to move his leg across the off stump and leaving him subject to regular leg-before decisions.
It is easy to say, but another LBW contender in Pakistan captain Azhar Ali; who scored a hundred in the third test match between England and Pakistan may be a blessing in disguise for Burns, who faces similar problems with his leg movement.
But the way he adjusted during the series will hopefully show the 29-year old it can be rectified.
Even the Epsom-born’s hundred versus Australia produced 25 percent of false shots, which was the ninth-highest by any batsmen.
We all see what Sky Sports and the ‘third man’ scrutinise about and you can see the left-handed batsmen in the firing line.
It isn’t easy to rectify mistakes mid-series but he has tried to find a solution but going from being prone to LBW’s to being caught behind is from one end of the Sahara to the other.
Shiv Chanderpaul (left), George Bailey (Middle), Fawad Alam (Right)
Is it time for Burns to change towards a stance like Pakistan’s Fawad Alam?
Maybe not that extreme but there’s evidence of it working in Alam’s, former West Indian star Shiv Chanderpaul’s or ex-Aussie Test batsman George Bailey’s case.
In Chanderpaul’s case, he wanted to see the ball with both eyes, while Bailey in 2016 took drastic measures and changed to his new adopted approach where he faces a delivery showing his bum towards the bowler because he was getting squared up against the swinging ball.
Somewhere in between eh Rory?