Cricket

England hopefuls endure mixed fortunes in Championship openers

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Not all counties have been involved in the first round of County Championship games this week but for those that have there has been plenty of opportunities for some of their England stars to find form and recover from their winter disasters.

There has also been an opportunity for individuals to enhance their reputations and catch the eye of the England selectors, as places in the national side must surely be up for grabs.

So how did some of these players perform? Did they enhance their reputations or take a backward step?

Matt Prior

He will have been extremely pleased with his performance for Sussex against Middlesex. After being dropped for the final two Ashes Test in Australia Prior, possibly more than anyone else, will have felt he had a lot to prove with the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Joss Buttler vying for a Test wicket-keeper place.

Although Bairstow is now facing a lengthy lay-off. The battle of the keepers could come down to who can be the most prolific with the bat, as we know that wicket-keepers in the modern day game need to score runs. Prior's first innings knock of 125 featured some of the typical stroke play we have seen from him in an a England shirt. This was his first first-class century in just over a year and was much needed. He will be happy with the form he has showed.

Steven Finn

In the same game Steven Finn, despite only bowling in one innings due to his batters inability to post a decent score, will be happy with his figures of 6-80 in Sussex's first innings.

Finn has not played Test match cricket since the first Ashes Test last summer and despite being selected for the winter tour of Australia he didn't play one International game. Finn needs overs in order to find the form required to force his way back into the England line-up and will be content with his start to the season.

Jimmy Anderson

England's premier strike bowler will also feel happy with his early season form even though his side Lancashire were defeated at Trent Bridge by Nottinghamshire.

It is true to say that Trent Bridge is one of his favourite grounds for both county and country, having now taken seven five-fors in just eight games, and he continued this form for his county.

In the first innings Anderson looked like his old self with figures of 5-55 and ended with match figures of 7-108. Some people will have been writing off England's leading wicket taker after his performances during the winter but write him off at your peril as he doesn't look in the mood to surrender his place in the England side just yet.

There is still no better bowler to have in your side when the conditions are favourable as they were at Trent Bridge. Anderson will view this match as a good confidence booster.

Eoin Morgan

By contrast Eoin Morgan suffered a nightmare match for Middlesex in their defeat to Sussex. In his two innings the Irishman could only muster two runs and did little to further his Test recall chances.

Morgan had turned down the chance to play in the Indian Premier League in order to play for Middlesex and further his international career but on this evidence it may well prove to be the wrong decision. It is still early in the season but I feel that Morgan will need to do a lot from now on in order to secure a Test place.

Sam Robson

After having recently chosen to pledge his future to England there have been strong rumours that the youngster could force his way into the England side as an opener alongside Alistair Cook this summer. Robson had a fantastic winter for the England Performance Squad and Lions but could only muster scores of 11 and 1 for Middlesex against Sussex.

The 24 year old, who could play Test cricket for Australia, enjoyed a fantastic summer last season scoring 1,180 runs in the County Championship. He is clearly in the thoughts of the England selectors but will still need to score plenty of runs in order to get the call up that most critics are suggesting will happen at some point soon.

Michael Carberry

The Hampshire and England opener will possibly need to score runs very heavily if he is to be considered again for England after his outspoken criticism of the England coaching staff and selectors.

In Hampshire's game against Worcestershire, which ended in a draw, he has been unable to do that, facing just 24 balls and scoring just 6 runs in his two innings. He is still the holder of the second England opening spot until another Test side is selected but I get the impression he may well have burnt his bridges with his recent criticism.

He didn't do too badly in Australia despite not scoring heavily and England did select him for all five Tests which means they were willing to give him a good run in the side. However, his England career may well be over before it actually started. Will the fact that he is playing in Division 2 of the County Championship also hinder his hopes of retaining his England place?

All in all the players above have experienced a mixed time but some of the more established Test players will be happy with their contributions as they bid to prove that they are still worthy
of an International place.

There are plenty of places up for grabs in the England starting XI and until the Test squad is announced there are plenty of runs to be scored and wickets to be taken for all players to prove their worth to the watching eagle-eyed selectors.


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Topics:
Cricket
Matt Prior
Steven Finn
England cricket
James Anderson (cricket)

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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