Cricket

County Championship: Five players who will make an impact

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Buttler will be hoping to impress in this year's County Championship (©GettyImages)
Buttler will be hoping to impress in this year's County Championship (©GettyImages).

After England's disastrous winter of cricket, some of the leading talents of English domestic cricket such as James Taylor, Sam Robson and Gary Ballance will be hoping to make the step up to the national side this season. Here, I look at some of the young talents who could impress in their absence, and could even be pushing for a place in the England test side by the end of the year.

Jos Buttler

Age: 23

County: Lancashire

This explosive wicketkeeper batsman has established himself as one of the key figures in the England one-day set-up. However, his development in first class cricket has been hindered at Somerset in the first years of his career due to the presence of fellow England international Craig Kieswetter behind the stumps.

His move to Lancashire will see him become the first choice wicketkeeper at a club for the first time in his professional career, and his new county will surely benefit as Buttler strives to stake a claim to be England's man with the gloves in all formats for years to come.

Alex Lees

Age: 20

County: Yorkshire

Alex Lees is an opening batsman who took the County scene by storm last year when he scored a marathon 275* against Derbyshire, becoming the youngest Yorkshireman to score a double century. His fine debut season saw him score two more centuries, which he then followed up with a further tonne whilst representing the England Lions in Sri Lanka.

Lees has a penchant for scoring big when he gets in, as is shown by his first class record of 4 centuries to only 1 fifty, but he will be looking to score big more consistently this year, as his early career has been typified by runs of low scores punctuated with centuries. With Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance all looking to establish themselves as England regulars, the opportunity is there for Lees to step up and perform for Yorkshire consistently this season.

Scott Borthwick

Age: 23

County: Durham

Borthwick made his England test debut in the last Ashes test over in Australia, but struggled for control against the rampant Aussie batsmen, although he did take four wickets over the two innings. He then went on to impress on the Lions tour of Sri Lanka.

His bowling undoubtedly has to improve if he is to be considered as an immediate replacement for Graeme Swann in the test team. However, if he can polish up his bowling, his batting ability will surely make him an attractive proposition for the England selectors - Borthwick scored over 1000 runs in the County Championship for champions Durham last season.

Simon Kerrigan

Age: 24

County: Lancashire

The left-arm spinner took 57 wickets last summer as Lancashire bounced straight back to the First Division by winning the second tier of English domestic cricket. He was rewarded with his test debut in the last test of the summer Ashes series, but was humiliated by the Aussie batsmen, as he returned figures of 0/53 off 8 overs.

However, the Australians have shown themselves to be particularly aggressive towards spin since then, as can be seen by the retirement of England spin legend Graeme Swann midway through the winter Ashes, and Kerrigan is the best wicket taking spinner in English cricket. Playing against superior batsmen in the top division will only help to improve his skills this year.

Tymal Mills

Age: 21

County: Essex

Increasingly a rarity in not just English cricket, but world cricket in general, Mills possesses raw pace. This, alongside the fact that he is left handed, means that he could prove to be a very useful asset for the England set-up in the forthcoming years. Indeed, such is his promise that he was invited to bowl against the England batsmen in the nets prior to their tour of Australia to prepare them for facing Mitchell Johnson. Not that it helped.

However, he needs to work on his control and consistency - his rough edges led to a lack of game time in 2013, as Essex often opted for David Masters, Graham Napier and Mills' fellow youngster Reece Topley as their bowling attack. Nevertheless, if he can improve his line and length in 2014, he may emerge as a very promising talent indeed.


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Topics:
Cricket
England cricket
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