Alastair Cook: England selectors have 'lots to discuss' before Sri Lanka series

The retirement of James Taylor, who had to bring an immediate end to his career at the age of 26 due to a previously undetected heart condition, has opened up a gap in the middle order, while Alex Hales and Nick Compton both disappointed at the top of the order during the tour of South Africa.

James Vince is likely to come in for Taylor, for the first Test that begins at Headingley on May 19, and strong early-season form from Sam Robson will put pressure on Hales and Compton.

Cook, who has signed a new two-year contract with Essex, told the Daily Mail: "'It's really unfortunate about James Taylor and that opens up a space in the middle order but after that the selectors have got really tough decisions to make.

"We won in South Africa which gives the guys in the side credit in the bank but we didn't score the top-order runs we'd have liked so there's lots to discuss.

'It's not as clear as I hoped it would be by this stage but that's probably because we could go two or three ways. It will be an interesting meeting next week. There might be some tough calls made on some players but they might give them another chance. I really don't know which way it's going to go.

"Trying to pick the right players for international cricket is one of the hardest things to do. No-one really knows if they have what it takes until they're given a chance to be brutally honest. It's going to be interesting."

Cook also is disappointed that he has had to change his helmet in line with new safety regulations as he feels it impedes his vision of the ball.

The left-hander though has hit a pair of centuries in the new approved model and heads into the series with Sri Lanka having scored three centuries and 523 runs in four first-class matches.

He added: "I understand the rules and regulations and why it's happening but I find that I don't see the ball as well in the new helmets as my old one.

"Are you better off with a helmet that is meant to be safer but you can't see the ball quite so well? To be honest I wasn't sure the regulations had come in ahead of that first game so I wore the old one and then I had to change it.

'It's like everything. I still notice it but you can't do anything about it so you just have to get on with it. The gap is smaller and the way I look at the ball I see more of the grille than I did with the older one. It's just personal preference."

  Alastair Cook is staying at Essex for another two years
Alastair Cook is staying at Essex for another two years