Hampshire Cricket History

From County to Country
July 18, 2017, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

James is right to point out that Cook now plays more Championship cricket, but it’s 12 years since his Test debut (2005/6) so I don’t think it makes much difference in terms of establishing him as a Test cricketer – he’s already done that.

My point was that when players are identified at a young age and move on the fast track into the England side they often (but not always) become top-class, regular Test players. By contrast, players like Liam Dawson (county debut 2007, Test debut 2016) or James Vince (county debut 2009, Test debut 2016) find the transition harder.

For example:

James Anderson: Lancashire debut 2002 playing 11 games, then four in 2003 and again in 2004 and 16 in 2005. England debut 2003/4. From 2006-2016, only once has he played five or more county games in a season and that was just six in 2007. Between 2006-2015 (ten seasons) he played in just 25 county matches

Stuart Broad: Leicestershire debut 2005 and played 25 county matches in the first three seasons before he made his England debut in 2007/8. Since then he has played 21 county matches in the nine seasons, with four last year the most.

Alastair Cook played three county games in 2003, followed by 12 and 16 in the next two years before his England debut. He has played more county cricket than the bowlers, but only once from 2006-2016 has he played in half the Essex matches (eight in 2009). In the three years after his Test debut, he played in nine county matches, and in four seasons from 2012 he played in just ten games.

Joe Root made his Championship debut in 2011 with 15 games, played one fewer in 2012 and then just eight matches in the next four seasons (none in 2015).

It suggests that after a couple of years of demonstrating Test quality, the best players can move up, but getting ‘stuck’ in the Championship doesn’t always help (are Bairstow and Ali exceptions?)

Years ago that wasn’t necessarily the case because I think, the Championship was more effective in honing some players. From my early days, I’d suggest Ken Barrington, Fred Titmus, John Edrich, Ray Illingworth, Dennis Amiss and Jim Parks. You might have other examples, perhaps from more recently?


4 Comments so far
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Gower, Gatting, Gooch

Comment by Paul

In the era of Trevor Bailey on TMS his suggested rule for England potential was a county average of 40+, an average of 30+ a county career. Exceptions of course, Mike Brearley being one, but the Championship was doing its job of sending out signals about what was class and what was form re making it as a test player. As Dave suggests it is probably harder for some to develop now and also for the selectors to know when they have.

It points to keeping the same team, after allowing for injuries, for the next Test….who is playing now, in form and confident and would have more chance next time….including Liam Dawson who comes across as being resilient enough to get at least somewhat better if he was given the remainder of the series.

Comment by stephenfh

I wonder whether Hameed will become a fast track England player? I hope so.

Comment by pompeypop

I too was going to mention Gatting as a more recent example of a player who honed his skills in Championship cricket. As I recall he had a number of chances at Test level before he came good but the selectors were almost obliged to keep giving him opportunities due to the sheer volume of runs he scored in the Championship.

Having said that Ramprakash also scored stacks of Championship runs but despite many opportunities never made it at Test level.

So I guess it is more to do with the character of the player himself. If he has the mental strength along with the determination to succeed and willingness to work to improve his game then I believe a player can make the transition from established Championship player to Test player. And if that is true then Liam still has a chance.

Comment by James

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