Harry Gurney’s inclusion in England’s 16-man squad to travel to Sri Lanka next month means that he stands a good chance of attending his first World Cup in 2015.
The left arm seamer only made his international debut back in May but has already taken wickets against Sri Lanka and India on home soil.
Now the 27-year-old has the chance to book his place on the plane to Australia and New Zealand by showing that he has the ability to be a prolific wicket taker away from England as well.
Stuart Broad will definitely miss the tour of Sri Lanka as he recovers from knee surgery and the ECB must prepare for the possibility that one of their best bowlers won’t be fit in time for next year’s tournament.
That is where Gurney comes in – the Nottinghamshire bowler will be competing with the likes of Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and Steven Finn for a starting spot in England’s pace attack.
There is still plenty of 50-over cricket to be played before the World Cup gets underway next spring – with a triangular series against Australia and India in the new year – and if Gurney can take wickets he has as good a chance as any of guaranteeing game time on the sport’s biggest stage.
One aspect of the former Leicestershire player’s game that could give him an advantage over his bowling brigade rivals is the angle of his left arm delivery.
Gurney can offer more variety to the attack and disrupt the rhythm of opposition batsman by providing a change from the monotony of right arm bowling.
England’s recent limited overs form has been poor with a group stage elimination at this year’s World T20 in Bangladesh. With that in mind, it is worth Alastair Cook experimenting with his team selections over the coming months to see if consistency can be improved.
Gurney has found his way into the England set-up at a fortunate time it seems, with uncertainty surrounding the team that will walk out for the side’s opening World Cup game against hosts Australia on February 14.
Whilst James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be expected to be the team’s main strike bowlers and to take the most wickets, candidates for a place in the attack can help their cause by bowling economically.
From his seven One-Day Internationals thus far, Gurney has gone at a rate of 5.32 runs per over for the 10 wickets he has taken. That is a figure that he will surely aspire to lower during the coming months.
With the job description reading: ‘consistent and reliable support bowler required,’ it is now up to Harry Gurney and his performances in Sri Lanka to decide whether or not he will make his World Cup bow in 2015.