IT WOULD be wrong to draw too many dramatic conclusions from England’s warm-up matches in India, but it seems pretty clear to me that we’ve unearthed a couple of very exciting talents.
Jonny Bairstow’s century yesterday, coupled with his match-winning cameo on debut against India last month, suggests this is a guy who has the temperament, if not necessarily the technique, to cope with the rigours of international cricket.
I actually played for England with his father David and they share many similar characteristics – both fiercely competitive and full of Yorkshire bravado – but I’d suggest Jonny is blessed with a more natural talent.
He’ll mount a serious bid for the one batting spot that is possibly up for grabs in the one-day team over the coming few weeks, but I think this tour represents an even bigger opportunity for young spinner Scott Borthwick.
Like Bairstow, but in stark contrast to Durham team-mate Ben Stokes, who has looked timid and inhibited from what I’ve seen of him in an England shirt so far, Borthwick appears to be a sprightly character, confident in his action and wicket-taking ability.
England are desperately searching for a spinner to compliment Graeme Swann and with Adil Rashid and Monty Panesar having been discarded, the upcoming series is a chance for Borthwick to grasp the nettle.
The fact that he’s a leg-spinner only adds to the excitement that surrounds him and five wickets yesterday was a certainly a good way to start.
On a far more sombre note I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Graham Dilley’s death last week. I first came across him at county level playing for Warwickshire against Kent. He bowled his side to the County Championship that day and I vividly recall him hitting Dennis Amiss on the head.
He was seriously fast in his pomp and to put his ability in context he certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place in this current England side. Away from the field he was a terrific guy and he will be sorely missed.