Yes and i'm sure there's many examples of players not kicking on and improving to that level.Much has been said about our openers - some of which I agree with and some of which appears to be knee jerk.
- both of them scored 1000 runs last season. The traditional benchmark for job done.
- both have decent career averages - just shy of 38 for Lees and just shy of 40 for Lyth
The biggest problem is that they have not performed TOGETHER, for quite some time. They do not deliver opening partnerships of substance. Of course this season this isnt surprising because neither of them can buy a run, but as people have pointed out, this is not a new problem - even ifindividually they score runs and are successful.
I am not sure what we can do about this - this isn't an issue of form - for the reasons mentioned above. It may be mental, but very difficult to coach that I would have thought. This leads me to the conclusion that maybe they just arent sufficiently suited to opening together - they dont gel any more for whatever reason. Conclusion - one of them should move down the order (probably Lees)
There seems to be a view that we need to "bring in" another opener, and that this should have happened close season. Had we done that - and explicitly told either Lees or Lyth that they were being dropped down the order (even though they had had solid seasons) I suspect we might have lost one or other of them to a fairly large queue of clubs that would welcome them with open arms. Unless we go for an overseas player (either as an international or kolpak signing), the reality is that very few openers can compete - when on form - with Lees and Lyth.
Mark Stoneman - the player we should apparently have signed, is almost exactly six years older than Alex Lees. Six years ago, Stoneman averaged 21 after 144 first class innings. Lees averages just under 38 after 133 innings.
Changes are most certainly needed, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Lees if anything appears to be going backwards. I certainly don't believe he is free from being dropped just because he scored 1000 runs last season. The same reason was used repeatedly for Gale when he was failing last year.