3 reasons why England batting Harry Brook at No. 3 for the rest of the Ashes series is the wrong move

England v Australia - LV= Insurance Ashes 2nd Test Match: Day Two
Will Harry Brook be shored up the batting order at Headingley?

With everything to play for, England will seek to bounce back in the third Ashes Test against Australia at the Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds on Thursday, July 6.

Things haven't been appalling from the hosts' point of view as they've continued to play an attacking brand of cricket. That said, one of the most prestigious trophies in the format is on the line having conceded a 2-0 lead in the five-match series to Australia with defeats at Edgbaston and Lord's.

A few changes have been rung in and one of them is prodigious batter Harry Brook shored up to No. 3. A dislocated shoulder has ruled Ollie Pope out of the remainder of the Ashes, opening up a spot in the top order.

Although Dan Lawrence is the reserve batter in the side, reports emerged of the possibility of Brook being asked to take the spot vacated by Pope instead. It was confirmed on the eve of the Test thereafter that Brook will bat at No. 3 with Lawrence not selected altogether.

While he has lit up Test cricket in a very short career already, it may not be the wisest move to have Brook assume that role at No. 3.

Let's take a look at three reasons why:

#1 Too early in Brook's career for such a jump

Against a quality Australian attack, England would be better off not tampering with Brook's current batting position (File image).
Against a quality Australian attack, England would be better off not tampering with Brook's current batting position (File image).

England will do well to learn from what they tried with Pope when he made his Test debut in 2018. Despite having predominantly batted at No. 6 for Surrey, he was thrown into the deep end and asked to bat at No. 4, eventually resulting in a backfire.

Of course, the flip side to this is that Pope's tryst with the No. 3 spot began directly at the highest level in itself. Having said that, Brook has been doing well in his current spot of No. 5, and having played just nine Tests to date, it seems too nascent a stage in his career to make the jump to number 3.

For that matter, even Joe Root was tried out at that spot in his first overseas Ashes tour in 2013-14, only for the move to come apart.

With Brook also showing a slight vulnerability against movement owing to not taking a huge forward stride, pushing him up the order at this stage doesn't seem wise for both himself and the team.

#2 Maximize Joe Root's form at No. 3 instead

If there ever was a time to maximize Joe Root's purple patch in Test cricket by batting him at No. 3, it is now. Although it is a position he has occupied in times gone by, he has never batted as well as he has in the last 24-30 months or so.

Ideally, this is the time then to cash in and make full use of his confidence and relaxed mindset which is clearly reflected in the number of runs he has piled up on a consistent basis.

What's also important to note is that he seems a completely different player without the burden of captaincy on his shoulders.

Root setting the game up rather than potentially bailing England out of strife should they lose a couple of early wickets would provide them a better chance of bouncing back in the Ashes series.

With this in mind, any possible plan to bat Brook at No. 3 ought to have been shelved for the moment even as England have chosen not to go down that route.

#3 Massive risk with the Ashes on the line

A draw at Headingley is all Australia need to retain the Ashes and leave English shores with the urn for the second time in as many trips. Clearly, it tells you what's on the line as far as England are concerned and they simply cannot afford any more slip-ups.

It's a clear indication that they have little to no room for experimentation as well at this point and simply have to play their best combination with their batting order absolutely in place.

To that end, shoring Brook up to No. 3 could prove to be a massive risk. It might just come off but it is a big gamble.

The hosts would have been better off either playing Root at that number or going for a straight swap between Pope and Dan Lawrence.

Should England take a chance with Harry Brook at number 3 for the Headingley Ashes Test? Have your say in the comments section below!

Also read: 5 current Indian players who would be first-choice picks in a T10 team

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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