It’s been a long time coming, but Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory is
inching closer to involvement with the England senior cricket setup. The
27-year-old has been in the County Cricket scene since making his Somerset
debut in 2010. A first-class bowling average of 25.68 and a first-class batting
average of 21.85 has put Gregory on the radar of the England and Wales Cricket
Board (ECB) as a potential candidate for the one-day and test sides.
Gregory was nominated as the captain for both the England Lions’ red and
white-ball teams during their recent tour of Australia. The all-rounder shared
responsibilities with vice-captain Keaton Jennings in the four-day format, with
Tom Abell acting as Gregory’s deputy in their one-day contests. Gregory
described the appointment as an “honour” and was keen to help “lay a foundation
for future England success Down Under”.
The fact that the ECB selected Gregory to skipper the Lions in both
modes of the game underlines their faith in him. The Lions squad contained
players that have been a part of the senior test team in the past, notably
Jennings, Craig Overton, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Mason Crane. It’s
therefore a real vote of confidence.
really the ‘modern-day Ian Botham’?
Gregory is no stranger to the national setup, having performed impressively for the England U19s. Against a touring Sri Lanka U19 team, Gregory would shine with bat and ball, taking four wickets in four-day matches and top-scoring with 87 in a one-day match too. Some five years later, Gregory was called up to the senior one-day squad to face Ireland but didn’t play. More recently, Gregory was named in the England test squad to face Ireland in 2019 but again missed out on a chance to play. England selector, Ed Smith noted Gregory’s 44 wickets in 2019 at a first-class average only 13, making him “very deserving of his elevation to the test squad”. With a strike-rate of a wicket each 30.8 balls last year, Gregory was the most potent bowler in County Cricket to have bowled over 200 overs in the season. His Somerset team-mate Jack Brooks has even labelled him a “modern-day Botham”. Like Botham, Gregory is by no means lightning fast, but his accuracy and control has come on leaps and bounds. So too has his batting, hitting 129 not out last season in County Cricket and averaging 53.50 in 2018’s T20 Blast. He now has his eyes fixed firmly on a top order spot for his county.
certainly do with some more versatile talent in its touring squad before the
next Ashes series in the winter of 2021/22. Betway’s latest Ashes 2021/22
cricket odds have the Aussies priced as 4/7 favourites, but
new blood like Gregory could give England the zip and tenacity they need to
upstage Australia in their own back yard. Gregory has already given the England
selectors a flavour of what he can achieve in very un-English cricket
conditions. During the Lions’ last winter tour of the UAE and India, Gregory
has managed to make a difference even on placid tracks where the ball does very
little. This will certainly be the case on the rock-hard pitches Down Under.
Who else could
announce their arrival on the big stage in 2021/22?
believe in Warwickshire’s Olly Stone – providing he can keep fit
between now and next winter. The 26-year-old is a bowler with searing pace and
bounce, which could be a potent mix on Australian wickets. However, the
right-arm fast bowler has endured a torrid time with injury in recent seasons,
with serious knee and back injuries keeping him sidelined for much of 2016 and
With the bat, hopes are still very much high for 23-year-old Haseeb
Hameed. Aged just 19, Hameed became the fifth-youngest county cricketer to hit
1,000 runs in a season. The opener averaged almost 44 in three test matches in
the white-hot arenas of India before an alarming loss of form, which saw him
released by Lancashire. However, Nottinghamshire have taken a chance on him and
leaving his home county could be the kick up the backside he needs to refocus
and demonstrate his technical ability. Hameed’s former club cricket team-mate
Elliot Ketteringham told Cricket365 that he is a real confidence player and
could return to the test fold very quickly. Likened to former technician, Ian
Bell, England will certainly need some quick, stylish run scorers against the