England could shuffle their team in all sorts of different ways to cover for the absence of Jason Roy. The only thing we can be certain of is that no matter who opens, it will mean Moeen Ali being asked to do something different.
This is, in fact, not strictly correct, because being asked to do something different kind of implies there was a default option in the first place. So far, in five matches this tournament, Moeen Ali has opened the bowling and not bowled at all, and he’s batted at four, six and three.
The oddity here is that Eoin Morgan has consciously deployed him as an opening bowler, rather than giving everyone else their jobs first and then seeing what bits and bobs still need tidying up afterwards. That’s how England have generally used Moeen Ali down the years – as an experienced and knowledgeable odd job man who they’ve kept on retainer.
Somewhat surprisingly, Moeen has never actually opened the batting for England in T20s. This therefore seems like a very straightforward way of replacing Roy and also ticking yet another box. They probably won’t do that though. It’s a bit obvious. More likely someone else will be promoted up the order and then another person will come into the middle order and Moeen will slide into whatever gap opens up, like in one of those sliding tile puzzles.
This is of course all second nature to Moeen these days. Speaking earlier this week, he casually threw in a plural.
“The confidence is high and I just feel like a big part of the team. I’ve got important roles and I’m really happy with my game.”