England's tour to Bangladesh has been overshadowed by safety issues - but Ralph Ellis says when the action starts it could leave Alex Hales, who stayed home, feeling even less secure...
"England are 1.4640/85 to start the tour with a win on Friday and the performance of the 21-year-old who will take the place of Hales by opening the innings will be fairly central to whether they justify those odds."
We've heard it said countless times. When the big stars are missing through injuries, suspensions, whatever, the coach will tell you "it's an opportunity for the ones who are playing".
Which sounds great, except that 99 times out of 100 all that happens is that the moment the top men are fit again, available again, or even just back from the pub, they walk straight back into the team because - well, that's just what happens at every level of sport from the village green to the Test arena.
I imagine it's what Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales were banking on when they chose not to join England's cricket tour to Bangladesh because of their concerns about security and safety. But in this case Hales, in particular, might discover the one occasion in the 100 can still happen to him.
All the early reports from Bangladesh are focusing on the security. My Daily Mail colleague Paul Newman has described making a 15-minute bus journey from hotel to training at the Mirpur ground past snipers on rooftops as well as hundreds of armed police and the local Rapid Action Battalion. The Army will be out in force again tomorrow when England play their only warm-up match before the first of three One Day internationals begins on Friday.
But by then you rather hope we'll be focusing on what will be the biggest cricketing issue of this tour - whether Ben Duckett can carry the sensational form he's shown for Northamptonshire this season onto the international stage.
England are 1.4640/85 to start the tour with a win on Friday and the performance of the 21-year-old who will take the place of Hales by opening the innings will be fairly central to whether they justify those odds.
With Joe Root rested from the tour, as well as Morgan and Hales choosing not to be there, England will need to make a solid start at the top of the order to give the rest of the batsmen some room to work. There's also the incentive for Duckett that if he makes a success of the three-match ODI series, he could well be the next to get a go in what has seemed an eternal search for a new Test partner for Alastair Cook.
Duckett's stats from a memorable season, which saw him given the unprecedented honour of being crowned both the PCA Player of the Year as well as the Young Player, have been sensational. It started with an unbeaten 282 against Sussex when only rain robbed him of the extra 18 he would have loved, continued with 1,338 Championship runs in all, but also saw him star in white-ball cricket - especially on finals day in the Twenty20 Blast.
It makes this tour a huge opportunity for Duckett, especially with the prospect of next summer's ICC Championship Trophy being played in England. The hosts are currently 5.04/1 for that behind favourites Australia 4.3100/30.
There's little doubt that England's management aren't happy with Morgan and Hales for staying home. Assistant coach Paul Farbrace refused to fudge the issue, admitting: "I was massively disappointed when the two chose not to come."
That means that they'd also be glad to find a reason not to let them back in the team, and Duckett has the chance to give it to them.