Despite having been left out of Peter Moores' first squad in his second stint as England Head Coach, Hampshire's James Vince looks set for a fantastic county season in his attempt to force his way into the national set-up.
Vince, 23, has recently been promoted to the position of one-day captain at Hampshire, and is the new vice-captain in the longer format.
The Sussex-born batsman endured a tricky winter, playing for the England Performance Programme and the England Lions, averaging under 22 in his seven innings, but after a bright start to the season, has out of nowhere staked a strong claim for a spot in the full England side.
After a remarkable innings of 159 against Surrey at the Ageas Bowl this week, Vince's push to be included in the upcoming squads against Sri Lanka and India has taken off, and many national publications, such as the Express, have tipped him for great things this summer.
Not only has Vince scored a substantial number of first-class runs, with 441 runs in six innings, but they have also come at quite a pace; his strike rate of 84.00 is remarkable for a middle-order batsman on early-season pitches.
Of course, Division 2 runs do not make a player stand out in the same way as those scored in the top division, but as Moeen Ali found out this winter, if a good first-class tally is built upon in one-day cricket, where no such tiering system is in place, the selectors can quickly come calling.
As the new county captain in one-day cricket, Vince will be hoping that the burden of captaincy does not affect his batting, but if his stylish manner at the crease, which has seen him score 71 fours in first-class cricket already this season, continues, there is no reason why he should not be selected at least for a one-day squad in the near future.
With the 2015 World Cup looming round the corner and Alastair Cook having doubts over his own ability to successfully maintain the captaincy in two formats, who knows, maybe the 23-year-old could by then have established himself to an extent on both the domestic and international scene that he will be the man hoping to take England to glory?
Evidently that is a long shot, but that a notion such as this is being thrown around in the media shows what an impressive all-round cricketer he is; comparisons with Michael Vaughan from Duncan Fletcher in 2009 are mentioned nearly synonymously with Vince, but his cool head, ease when handling media and array of aesthetically pleasing late cuts and glances have definitely enhanced his status as the next big thing for English cricket.
His opening partnership with Michael Carberry in one-day cricket was fruitful last year, and the selection panel of Peter Moores, James Whitaker, Mick Newell and Angus Fraser will undoubtedly be looking southwards with intent; although Carberry recently spoke out against the way his non-selection was handled by the England set-up, he still remains part of the national side's plans, and Vince's credentials will be tested by overseas, international-quality bowling from Peter Siddle, Dirk Nannes and Yasir Arafat over the course of the summer.
Hampshire's promotion from Division 2 is long overdue in their own eyes, despite the sub-standard bowling attack that recent years has brought, but with the signing of Kyle Abbott this season as well as the development of Vince, Michael Bates and Adam Wheater, that ambition could finally be realised this year.
And if Division 2 runs are not enough for Vince, one-day form and a successful promotion push will be vital for his national selection credentials.
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