Harry Gurney Could Be The Man England Are Missing


RISHMAR Santokie’s performance in the second t20 international in Barbados highlighted exactly where England are going wrong.

Here’s a bowler who takes wickets at the start, middle and end of an innings and England have got to find one like him – and quickly.

Taking wickets is the only way of slowing the scoring rate and we’re not doing that. A few people might not have heard of Santokie but he was outstanding in the Caribbean Premier League last year for Guyana and it was no surprise to me to see him rip through England with 4-21.

I actually believe Engand have someone who could do the job in Harry Gurney, another left-armer who gets it through at a decent pace, swings it and has good varieties.

Remember when we won the World t20 in 2010? Left-armer Ryan Sidebottom was key to that team and the variety such bowlers have is a great weapon.

Harry was picked in the initial 30-man squad but has been strangely over- looked while everyone else has had a chance. Surely they know what Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan can do by now so Harry deserved a go at the start of the one-day tour.

I’ve seen a lot of him from playing with him at Leicestershire when he was a kid coming through and have followed him closely since he moved to Nottinghamshire. He was a really potent weapon in Leicestershire’s t20 success in 2011 and is a wicket-taker at all stages through an innings.

That’s absolutely vital and at times in the first couple of games we didn’t look like taking a wicket early on. He bowls a good yorker and England have missed a trick by not taking him to Bangladesh for the World t20.

The batting is also a huge concern – our thinking and plans look scrambled at best. Too often in recent history England have been three down before the end of the six-over power play and that’s just ridiculous. Alex Hales, Michael Lumb and Luke Wright are probably the best top three we have but if one or two go early you’ve got to react.


Eoin Morgan is a key part of England's batting attack
Eoin Morgan is a key part of England’s batting attack

At Leicestershire we always had plans B and sometimes C up our sleeve if plan A didn’t come off, this is vital in t20 cricket. I keep banging on about flexibility but we don’t seem to have a great deal.

I’d like to see the top seven padded up at the start and we react accordingly. For example, if we get through the first six overs one wicket down and the spinners are on, our best player of spin (Ravi Bopara) should be next in as he’s capable of manipulating the strike and hitting the ball into the stands.

Also Eoin Morgan should allow himself more time to get in because if he bats for 50 balls he will have at least 70 runs. He catches up from slow starts, just like Graham Thorpe and Neil Fairbrother used to do in one-dayers. I know it’s only 20 overs but there’s still time for someone like Eoin to weigh up the pitch and bowling.

I don’t buy the argument that we’ve not got power hitters. They might not be as big as the West Indies boys such as Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell but Lumb, Bopara, Wright, Morgan, Jos Buttler and particularly Hales can destroy attacks when they get in – to the extent where you can’t bowl at them.

Someone in the top order needs to make 70 or 80 more often. If they are still in after the power play one of them has to tell themselves they will be there at over 18. If they are they will have a match-winning score to their name while others bat around them.

My team for the first game of the World Cup would be: Hales, Lumb, Wright, Bopara, Morgan, Buttler, Stokes, Bresnan, Broad, Tredwell, Dernbach/Parry depending on pitch.

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