4/27/2016 0 Comments
England's seam attack, more so than most, has been relatively consistent throughout the last couple or so years. Changes only usually come through poor performance or as so often in Steven Finn's unlucky case – and more recently with Mark Wood injury wreaks havoc on England's first change bowler. Many have flirted with the role over the last year or so – Wood himself looking the most likely to tie the position down; while names such as Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes, and Finn have all struggled to really make the place their own when wearing the prestigious Three Lions. Let's take a look at a few of the names we can expect to be thrown about when the English test summer comes around.
The county game is rife with talent at the moment, up and coming bowlers are in good supply – and the more familiar names seem to be more consistent than ever. Many bowlers will be looking at this season as a big opportunity to make a name for themselves and breakthrough into that Test XI. Chris Rushorth is undoubtedly one on England's radar. The Durham man has flourished since his county debut back in 2010, he’s rapidly approaching his 300th first-class wicket – he has been a linchpin of their bowling attack, not least during their title winning season of 2013. That season he took a healthy 54 wickets but was outshone by the now veteran Graham Onions. With his average currently standing at a touch above 23, which is no mean feat at all – Rushworth's downfall may be that he is more of a new ball bowler; Broad and Anderson are a settled partnership and barring injury I would bet against that partnership being unbroken for at least the next couple of years – Rushworth would have to do very well to break that partnership.
Another bowler with England ambitions will be Hampshire's Reece Topley, the left-armed seamer suffered a recent 8-week setback after sustaining a broken hand while batting in the opening round of Championship matches but despite that Topley's prospects are looking bright. Having spent this past winter in and around the England limited-overs squads he will be fresh in the thoughts of Trevor Bayliss and Alastair Cook. The former Essex man is a genuine swing bowler and has made a good start to his still blossoming career. With the move having been made from Division Two Essex to Hampshire – Topley will be looking to challenge himself further with the quality of batting so often a step up. An average of 25.78 is nothing to be sniffed at and with the Hampshire-man now looking to add a little more pace to his bowling, this could be his breakthrough year.
Mark Footitt has been touted as the next bowler to break onto the Test scene, having been named in the squad for the recent tour of South Africa. He did, however, fail to make a playing eleven on that tour, but like Topley, he offers up a left arm seam option, which is a nice change of style from that of Broad and Anderson. Footitt definitely possesses the pace to make himself a threat at Test level, and 2014 proved a breakthrough year for him. Despite being part of a relatively disappointing Derbyshire team, Footitt took 84 first class wickets at an average of just above 19. And now with his recent move from Division Two up to Division One – again like Topley – Footitt now has the stage on which to showcase his talents and really pin down a spot in that Test team. I wouldn't bet against the Surrey paceman being far away from the XI come the Sri Lanka series.
If we can be sure of one thing, it is that Trevor Bayliss and his team of selectors are not short of options when it comes to that first change role. There are sure to be some selection headaches come the end of May and that first Test of the cricketing summer versus Sri Lanka. Be sure that there will be some chopping and changing throughout the year, and for some new names to be thrust into the fold throughout this County season – players such as young Jack Brooks, the two Currans Sam and Tom as well as Jamie and Craig Overton will be chomping at the bit to put in some good County performances, to back their growing reputations up and put their name forward as the man to take England's bowling attack forward. Hopefully, these new names can challenge the usual suspects and force their way into what looks like a position that is up for grabs. By the end of the summer, who knows who be lining up for England?
Written by Charlie Jennings (@AVCJX)
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