The One Day International series between England and Australia is rapidly approaching and England are set to experiment with a number of new seam bowling options after selecting a new look squad for the five match series.
Fast bowlers Chris Jordan, Boyd Rankin and Jamie Overton will be looking to make their mark on the international stage and have joined the more experienced Steven Finn in the 14 man squad for the series that starts at Headingley on the 6th September.
The 14 man squad is notably once again without a left-armer despite a number of promising left-arm seam bowlers pushing their case for an international call-up in domestic cricket.
England could benefit greatly from the inclusion of a left-arm fast bowler in their side, particularly in limited overs cricket; A left-arm bowler would bring great variation to the England attack and potentially pose more problems to opposition batsmen, as the majority of right arm batsman are less used to playing that sort of bowling.
Left-armers are extremely adept at swinging the ball back into the right handed batsman which is very difficult to play, and if the plan to swing the ball in fails, they also have their natural angle which pushes the ball across the batsman creating more problems. These variations can be tough to play in the shorter formats as it makes it difficult to slog to the leg side and score quickly.
Ryan Sidebottom was the last left-arm fast bowler to turn out for England representing them in 22 Tests, 25 ODI’s and 18 T20 Internationals in what was a successful period for English one day cricket. Sidebottom last appeared for England in September 2010 in a T20 International against Pakistan at Cardiff. Earlier that year he has played an instrumental role in England’s World T20 victory in the Caribbean by taking 10 wickets throughout the tournament.
There are a number of young left-arm fast bowlers currently plying their trade on the English county circuit. Here are a few that will no doubt have their eye on an England call up before too long:
David Willey (Northamptonshire) – 23 year old all-rounder David Willey has enjoyed a fantastic season in 2013 and has put in a series of fantastic performances across all formats. This season he has taken over 40 wickets in the LV County Championship helping Northamptonshire mount a serious challenge for promotion, as well as making a monumental impact in the domestic Twenty20 tournament.
Willey was integral in spearheading Northamptonshire to their first one day trophy since 1992 with victory in this seasons Friend Life T20 Cup. He finished as the tournament’s joint second highest wicket taker with 21 wickets, and played a starring role in the final claiming 4 for 9 from his four over spell which included a magnificent hat-trick to win the trophy.
He is also an accomplished batsman and has opened the batting in one day competitions this season to great effect. His 60 off 27 balls in the T20 final along with his swashbuckling 167 (off 101 balls) against Warwickshire in the YB40 have seen him tipped by many to earn an England call up, with many believing he should have been named in the squad to face Australia. The former England Under-19’s international has however been included in the England Lions squad this year which shows he is on the England selectors’ radar.
Reece Topley (Essex) – 19 year old Reece Topley has enjoyed yet another fantastic campaign this season further enhancing his reputation as an England star of the future.
The 6ft 7 seam bowler specialises in the art of reverse swing and possesses a fantastic slower ball which helped propel Essex to Twenty20 Finals Day this season.
In his career to date, Topley has amassed 77 wickets at 29.22 in First-class cricket and this season finished as the joint second highest wicket taker in the Friends Life T20 with 21 wickets. Topley burst on to the scene as a young 17 year old in 2011, taking 14 wickets in his first 3 County Championship matches which included five-wicket hauls against both Kent and Middlesex.
He stood out in last year’s Under-19’s World Cup in Australia finishing as the top wicket taker with 19 wickets and has since been named in an England Lions squad becoming the youngest member to tour Australia early this year. After another stellar year in professional cricket it surely won’t be long before we see Reece Topley’s name in an England squad. He has long been tipped for international honours and is a player that is destined for stardom.
Chris Wood (Hampshire) – Chris Wood, 23, has been a model of consistency since making his debut for Hampshire in 2010. He has performed well in all formats in the domestic game and is another that has been particularly successful in Twenty20 cricket.
Wood has been an instrumental figure in Hampshire’s success in the shortest format over the last few years and is a key part of the side that has reached T20 Finals Day for the last 4 consecutive years, winning the tournament in 2010 and 2012. He was also a key figure as Hampshire emerged victorious in last year’s CB40 competition. Surprisingly, Wood has yet to feature in any England Lions squads, but if he continues on his current path the former Under-19 international could see himself turn out for the full England side in the not so distant future.
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