Jack Leach was somewhat harshly omitted from the England Test XI that took to the pitch in the Caribbean. This was despite the Somerset spinner playing a pivotal role in England’s success in Sri Lanka just a few months prior.
Leach has performed exceptionally well in First Class cricket as well as appearing in a smattering of List A games but he has never taken to the pitch in a T20 match.
I really think that Leach could thrive in the shortest format and that such exposure could make him a better player in all formats. I can understand not wanting to compromise him but whether it be in the Big Bash, BPL, PSL or wherever, Leach could be well worth a punt.
Given the fashion for spinners opening the bowling in T20 franchise cricket, it’s in that role that I think Leach would be suited. Ed Smith recalled Jos Buttler to the Test side based on his IPL exploits. Could he make another left-field selection and pick Leach for T20Is based on County Championship form?
11 ODI wickets at 39.27 (5.69 rpo)
3 T20I wickets at 18.33 (6.87 rpo)
8 wickets in this season’s Big Bash, his first, at 23.50 (7.23 rpo)
How about an England recall for Nottinghamshire and Melbourne Renegades left-arm pace bowler, Harry Gurney?
Gurney is 32 and his domestic stats are okay if not outstanding. He’s performed reliably for Melbourne Renegades this term and could be an option for the brains trust of Ed Smith and Eoin Morgan in white-ball cricket. David Willey is not always a threat and his batting often not required. Sam Curran doesn’t need overloading at this stage of his career so getting a year or two out of Gurney could be a viable option for England. The experience that he’s gained from playing in the Big Bash could serve him well for a return to the international fold.
Age may count against Gurney but it certainly wouldn’t be the most ridiculous selection. In Twenty20 Internationals, to pair the left-arm variety of Gurney alongside Tom Curran, who starred in the Big Bash, could provide respite for senior England players and result in a glut of wickets for England.
A name that I was not expecting to see when scouring scorecards across the globe this morning was… Sean Terry but guess who’s rocked up for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash?
I previously posted about Terry’s ‘retirement’…
but it turns out that he’s been representing Melville in Grade Cricket down under. He’s been doing mightily well too, stepping up in some big games and thus earned an outing for the franchise from the West. Terry made only four in the Perth side’s final match of the campaign…
so what the future holds remains to be seen.
Ireland travel to England later this year for their first overseas Test. Could Terry gatecrash England’s Ashes prep as he has the Big Bash?
There have been many great batsman who didn’t crack Test cricket first time… or even second time!
Could any of the players pictured above force their way back into England reckoning?
Gary Ballance 1498 Test runs @ 37.45
Possessing by far the best Test record of any of the batsmen listed, it seems unlikely that Ballance will get another chance. Being Joe Root’s ex-flatmate helped him before but won’t again. He’ll have to score an insatiable amount of runs to make a case and combine that with having eradicated perceived technical deficiencies.
Ben Duckett 110 @ 15.71
In contrast to last winter, it’s been a hugely encouraging time for Ben Duckett recently. He was recalled to the England Lions squad and returned to the scene of the crime in India. He’ll be looking for a fruitful campaign with his new employers Nottinghamshire to get back into the full England side.
Keaton Jennings 750 @ 25.86
The most recently jettisoned on this list, it seems highly improbable that Jennings will line up against Australia this summer. Come England’s next tour to Asia however and even if it be as back-up/sub-fielder then he could come into contention.
Dawid Malan 724 @ 27.84
Malan wasn’t happy to be axed and he has been hard done by after a record-breaking start to his T20I career. He couldn’t really argue with his Test termination however. He’s not set the world on fire since, neither in county cricket or in various T20 competitions so has a lot to do to earn a recall.
Mark Stoneman 526 @ 27.68
A potential recall for Stoneman isn’t actually that outlandish. If he prospers alongside Rory Burns at Surrey in the early days of the county campaign then he could yet force his way back in. He could do with improving his fielding though.
James Vince 548 @ 24.90
Vince has performed superbly in the latest edition of the Big Bash and maybe white-ball cricket is a more likely route back in for him. Such is the competition for places though, that it won’t be easy.
Of course all the players detailed above may now be labelled damaged goods so we may see some Test debuts before we witness recalls for any of the above.
So a rarity occurred today. I actually had the opportunity to watch some cricket, the subject that I blog about!
Perth Scorchers hosted Sydney Thunder and to the third delivery of the match, debutante wicketkeeper Matthew Gilkes dropped the mother of all sitters, despite three attempts, off the edge of Shaun Marsh’s first ball. He later displayed some village style glove work when letting four byes go through his legs.
How did he respond though?
By making a measured and assured 51 from 38 deliveries, sensibly playing second fiddle to the amazing Callum Ferguson (113 not out). To the first delivery he faced, he gloriously drove through the covers for four and continued to stay on top of the ball and not go too hard.
Gilkes displayed great character and temperament after such an inglorious entry to his Big Bash and professional career.
Instant redemption. The beauty of cricket!
England’s most frustrating batsman of modern times, Hampshire’s James Vince, walloped 75 from just 46 deliveries for Sydney Sixers against Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash in Sydney today…
But what are England to do with him? Is he really going to find a place in England’s destructive white-ball teams? With so few places for specialist batsmen up for grabs, is he likely to get another chance at Test level?
In a world of T20 franchise cricket, does it really matter? Is international cricket still the pinnacle?
Regardless, today’s innings was a demonstration of how much value Vince can add to a team, of his skill and stroke-playing prowess. Maybe we’re yet to see the best of him in an England shirt. Maybe the soon to turn twenty-eight-year-old could yet gatecrash England’s World Cup and Ashes summer!
*Disclaimer: A completely unoriginal headline that I and many others have used before. Sorry!
No no, I’m not expecting and England recall for a one Mr Pietersen but whilst the batsman that Australia have selected for their Test team were floundering in a tour match against Sri Lanka, the one that they didn’t pick, Kurtis Patterson, amassed 259 runs (157 not out & 102 not out) without being dismissed!
Unlike KP2, the hugely exciting Jhye Richardson has been called up to Australia’s Test team. This move comes following injury to Josh Hazlewood. Richardson caught my eye in the Big Bash a couple of seasons ago and has been mightily impressive in international white-ball cricket recently.
Despite Richardson’s promise, with a World Cup and Ashes tour ahead, Australia will have serious concerns regarding the fragility of their bowling line-up… let alone their batting!