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England know only too well that getting an innings off to a good start is vitally important in Test cricket. Losing an early wicket swiftly gives the bowling side momentum and puts pressure on the batting side. So the big question is who will partner Alastair Cook when England look to justify their position as series favourites when they tour West Indies in April? It’s a problem that selectors would love to see resolved before the Ashes against Australia this summer. Here, we take a look at the main contenders…
Last year saw Middlesex batsman Robson make his England debut and open the batting with Alistair Cook. Eleven innings produced a grand total of 336 runs at an average of 30.55. Only twice did he pass the half-century mark and if you take away his top two scores, he managed just 150 runs in nine innings You’d have expected him to perform well on his home ground but four test innings at Lord’s produced a meagre 44 runs. Perhaps more worrying is the fact in 11 test innings he was clean bowled four times. Robson opened for England Lions on their recent tour of South Africa and had a mixed run of form. A century in the opening game against Gauteng Invitation XI was followed by some early dismissals including scores of 5 and 0 (out first ball) in the opening game against South Africa ‘A’. That’s hardly the kind of form that guarantees him keeping his place in the Test team.
This is the year that should see Trott back in the Test set up and it could well be as an opening batsman. He seems to have recovered from his stress-related problems and recently hit an impressive double century for England Lions in South Africa. Michael Vaughan has already commented that the only way back into the England side for Trott could be as opening batsman. Always known as a solid, dependable batsman, the Warwickshire batter could well be the man who opens in the First Test against the West Indies in April.
Vince is well regarded by many and has been compared to Michael Vaughan. With his experience in charge of Hampshire he could even be a future England captain. He didn’t do his hopes of making an England debut any harm with an unbeaten 152 against South Africa ‘A’ and this could well be a big year for him, but whether that will be in one-day cricket or the Test side is up in the air at present.
Yorkshire are producing some excellent batsmen at present and many believe Lyth is going to be an England player sooner rather than later. He scored more than 1,600 runs last season at an average of 70, That runs total from 17 games was higher than his combined total in 2012 and 2013 from 30 matches. He’s also been on the England Lions tour of South Africa and started off with a century in the opening game. He backed that up with a half-century against South Africa ‘A’ and out-scored Robson. Not that he saw the Lions tour as a shoot-out between himself and the Middlesex man, telling the BBC: “I don't want to look too far ahead. Until I get that call all I can do is keep scoring runs."
The Hampshire batsman was visibly upset when dropped from the England set-up last year. True, his batting average in six tests is only 28.75 with just one half century in 12 innings but he faced an almightily difficult task batting against the Australians on the last Ashes tour. With more overseas experience gained in the recent Big Bash Down Under, Carberry could yet make the England squad for the West Indies tour.
Fourteen year old Harrison Carlyon heads to Sussex CCC this weekend for trials with the U15 squad. In 2014 Carlyon won the NatWest Division 1 Cricketer of the Year and also performed well for Jersey at the European U15s Championships in Rugby.
National Coach Neil MacRae said, "We've been developing our links with Sussex through Jonty Jenner (2015 Sussex CCC Academy player) and we're looking to integrate what Sussex do with what we do. It's a great opportunity to experience county cricket and how it works and is a starting point for Harrison. It will allow him to broaden his experiences and allow our development programme to broaden as well."
ICC Europe has announced the winners of the Pepsi ICC Development Awards for the Europe region with the late Keith Dennis, former Jersey Cricket Board Chairman, being posthumously awarded the Lifetime Service Award.
ICC Europe said, "The posthumous Lifetime Award is an achievement dedicated to the life’s work of an outstanding individual, Keith Dennis. A long illustrious 'career' in cricket dating back to the 1950's, his role in the evolution of cricket in Jersey is one of his most rewarding achievements. As Chairman of the Jersey Cricket Board, Keith had seen Jersey play in European and global cricket tournaments in countries such as Tanzania, Nepal and Malaysia as well as Jersey becoming recognised as an outstanding venue for hosting tournaments."
All winners will now be put forward for Pepsi ICC Development Global Awards.
The winners are as follows:
Best Overall Cricket Development Programme- Cricket Scotland
Volunteer of the Year- Lawrence Moore- Cricket Ireland
Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative- Amy Kenealy- Cricket Ireland
Women’s Cricket ‘Behind the Scenes’- Natalie Hamblin- Cricket Scotland
Photo of the Year- Ian Jacobs- Cricket Scotland
Lifetime Service Award- Keith Dennis- Jersey Cricket Board
Jersey U19 Captain and Sussex Academy player Jonty Jenner won the NatWest Rising Star award at last night's Channel Islands Sports Awards. Jenner fought off tough competition from England Saxons and Saracens Rugby player Will Kaye from Jersey, Exeter City FC goalkeeper James Hamon from Guernsey and Clementine Thompson European sailing bronze medallist also from Guernsey.
ICC Europe Coach of the Year Lee Meloy, Jersey U19 Captain Jonty Jenner and the Jersey U19 cricket team have all been shortlisted in the Channel Island Sports Awards. The awards are announced on 29th January. Follow @cricketinjersey for further updates.
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