|Root...the next Michael Vaughan?|
There has been lots of talk this week of Jonny Bairstow, and he deserves his chance in the England side due to his hard hitting approach. Another young lad from Yorkshire is also no doubt, going to play for his country and that is Joe Root. The fresh faced Root, from the same club as Michael Vaughan, Sheffield Collegiate CC, is already impressing the cricketing cognoscenti with his shots, his ability to dig in when the going gets tough, (always something that appeals to the Yorkshire public), and his powers of concentration.
Talking of Michael Vaughan, James Vince down at Hampshire is reminiscent style wise of the former England skipper, and has been likened by no less a judge than Duncan Fletcher. The twenty one year old is a product of their blooming academy at the Rose Bowl, and the stylish Vince is well thought of in Southampton. One player Hampshire have lost though, and Gloucestershire have gained is Benny Howell, and this lad is impressing all and sundry on the difficult wickets we have seen so far this season. Howell who has played in the Champions T20 Trophy will be hoping to further his career down in Bristol.
At the Oval, Tom Maynard and Rory Hamilton Brown are holding together the Brown Hatters middle order, especially with the poor form of that other youngster, Mark Ramprakash! The Surrey skipper, with the poshest name in cricket since Derbyshire's Ashley Harvey-Walker, has been a revelation since being poached from Sussex, whilst Maynard, our tip to be one of the leading run scorers this season, is an absolute class act and should go on and play internationally. Jason Roy, just twenty one, is another potential King of Kennington.
At Middlesex, Joe "Jesus" Denly has resurrected his career since moving from Canterbury, and if he keeps scoring hundreds like he did a couple of weeks ago, I'm sure the second coming for him as an international can't be too far away, as he proves the doubting Thomases wrong. Eoin Morgan needs a big season if he is to do the same, and whilst going to the IPL has enhanced his bank balance in the short term, playing a total of zero games out there whilst others have made hay back in the UK for their counties, may have been a poor career move. Time will only tell.
|Hales...can he set the alarm bells ringing with weight of runs?|
In the West Midlands, it will be interesting to see if Varun Chopra replicates last season's good form after moving from Essex to Warwickshire a couple of year's back, whilst Moeen Ali looks a decent player at Worcester, and he can bowl a few off breaks. Further East, Alex Hales will make the selectors open their eyes if he scores well at Trent Bridge, and in Robin Hood's county it will be interesting to see if James Taylor can score the runs needed internationally after the rich Notts have robbed the poor of Leicestershire. Whilst on the subject, if Josh Cobb continues his fine form for the Nottinghamshire Academy down at Grace Road, he could well come into the reckoning as well!
At Somerset Jos Buttler and Alex Barrow are a credit to the youth system down at Taunton, whilst Nick Compton looks on course to be the first man to 1,000 runs before the end of May since Graeme Hick in 1988. Although the Compdog has been around for years, he is still only 28, and should the likes of Bell have as poor a summer as he did a winter, surely Compton deserves his chance through sheer weight of runs? Kieswetter and Hildreth are two others in that part of the world, who must also be worthy of discussion.
Over in Essex and it will be interesting to see how Tom Westley and Billy Godleman fare this year. Godleman was a child protege, and although has had a couple of disappointing seasons, an early season hundred could be an indication that the twenty three year old North Londoner is back to his best, whilst others worth a mention are Durham's Mark Stoneman and Glamorgan's Ben Wright.
With the people I have mentioned above, plus the seamers and keepers we wrote about last week, English cricket has a depth we haven't seen for a number of years, if not ever. Competition for places can only be a good thing, and will push those at the top even harder to retain their place. If we want to produce a dynasty like the West Indians of twenty years ago, or the Australians of the nineties and early millenium, and be number one for years, then you need strength in depth, and these boys are the key to us being number one in the world for a long time to come. England it seems, has great riches.