English Cricketers to Watch for in the Summer Ahead
The summer is finally upon us, and that means the new cricket season just around the corner. It's time for a look at which guys are going to shine this summer.
First up is a player who has been plagued with injuries over his career, but after a successful winter with the England Lions, Mark Davies seems to have overcome his back problems.
The Durham swing-bowler is nearly perfect for English conditions. His consistent line, length, and probing-away swing have brought him bundles of wickets during each spell of fitness.
Now that Davies has had a prolonged injury-free period, it is surely only a matter of time before the Middlesbrough-born bowler is pushing for an international call-up.
Joe Denly has been pushing for an international call-up for two seasons now. Another season of big runs for the Kent batsman surely means an appearance on the England one-day squad.
If the call for Denly to make his international debut does not come soon, then he'll have to start to worry if it's coming at all. Not many English-eligible batsmen have been more consistent and promising than this cricketer.
Matthew Spriegel is a young Surrey opening bat who has already flashed his ability in his fledgling career.
The left-handed opener came through University Centre of Excellence system at Loughborough University and has played 15 First Class games already.
Spriegel featured in both one-day competitions and the County Championship for Surrey last year, and his part-time off-spin was utilized on occasions.
He's certainly a batting star of the future. With mentors like Ramprakash, Butcher and Afzaal around, The Oval is certainly a good place to learn your trade.
County Champions Durham have replaced their captain for the upcoming season. Will Smith is the new man for the job, and he is next on my list of men to watch.
After a fantastic 2008 for the ex-Durham University student, Smith has been rewarded with a leadership position. This will be a huge task for a relatively young man to take on, especially considering it's for a championship-level club.
With Smith now established as a batsman, I'm basing this call mostly on the recently received captaincy. If Smith can continue to bat as he did last season while being the leader of the team, then surely an England call-up will be waiting for the ex-Nottinghamshire batsman.
Australian Phillip Hughes is my final entry on this countdown. I'm sure Middlesex will be hugely disappointed that Hughes has established himself at the top of the order for Australia, as now the London club will only have the services of the young New South Wales batsman until the start of the Ashes in July.
Before Hughes' call-up, Angus Fraser must have been delighted in his team's singing of such a talented young batsman. I feel that, despite the time split, Hughes will still be among the top run scorers in the early part of the season.
Of course, that may only set him up nicely for the Ashes.
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