Harry Gurney has made a solid start to life as an international cricketer, but the 27-year-old still has a long way to go before cementing his place as a regular in the England line-up.
Gurney is relatively old to be debuting for his country and he was not believed to have been ear-marked for this summer’s ODIs. He was not originally even meant to play the friendly against Scotland which took place in Aberdeen last month, but was brought into the side when heavy rain meant the number of overs were reduced significantly.
His first game for the Three Lions added something of a silver lining to the nine-run T20 defeat to world champions Sri Lanka, and he impressed again in the first ODI between the two sides, taking the first of his opening two 50-over wickets against none other than Kumar Sangakara.
However, during England’s heavy defeat on Sunday, the first fault lines in his game were beginning to show at the highest level, particularly in the field.
A number of slips were accompanied by a dropped catch, though mercifully England’s dire performance took attention away from his fielding flaws – captain Eoin Morgan even went as far as to say his side “could not have played worse” in the 157-run thrashing.
While he was relatively expensive and may have work to do in the field, though, Gurney took another three wickets to pose an interesting selection dilemma for head coach Peter Moores.
This will not be a headache Moores will have been expecting to have, particularly when Gurney was contemplating quitting the professional game entirely after being released by Leicestershire.
The move to Nottinghamshire has clearly worked wonders though, and his breakthrough with England caps a remarkable rise that few saw coming.
Indeed, England selectors have been so busy desperately trawling through the County Championship to find a spinner capable of replacing Graeme Swann, that they have come close to overlooking the rest of the bowling attack, which also needs strengthening.
Gurney may be the answer to that particular problem, especially with England’s increasing reliance on a left-arm seamer, at least in ODIs. Sri Lanka’s batsmen appear to be completely stumped by his unique action and rhythm, though the question remains of whether that is partly down to his novelty factor.
Coach Marvan Atapattu will undoubtedly be studying tapes of Gurney in an attempt to get used to him, but for the mean time there is a bright future ahead for the Notts bowler.
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