Sunday, 3 April 2011

2011 County Players To Watch - Young Talent

On Friday, the County Season gets going again after what seemed like an age of international cricket in the meantime. Every year, bloggers come out and put forward some names of some people who they think will rip it up in the domestic leagues, and more often then not they get it right. Well, not this year, as I'm sticking my oar in. Who have I gone for? Well, read on...

Young Talent

These boys haven't played a lot of cricket, but have done pretty well in what they've done so far. Keep an eye out for these kids, they could go a long way...

Toby Roland-Jones - Middlesex: Toblerone had a phenominal end to last year, as he helped to keep Middlesex in the doldrums of Division Two. Making his FC debut mid-season, young fast bowler TRJ came from nowhere to end the season with a sub-20 bowling average, with the highlight a 5/41 against Surrey where he blew their middle order away in the space of only a few overs. While Toby doesn't have the pace or bounce of previous Middlesex fast bowling protegee Steven Finn, Roland-Jones gets a very appreciable movement from the seam, and given the right conditions, a bit of hoopy swing as well. Roland-Jones had been Middlesex's little secret, but after excelling after being selected in the MCC Champions Game in Abu Dhabi this is no longer the case. While there may be a "second season syndrome", I still back Roland-Jones to go on and take just as many wickets this year, especially given the Division Two opposition.

Jos Buttler - Somerset: Buttler rose to prominence in the T20 as a big-hitting slogger, but he's more then that. Yes, he can hit the ball a long way, but Buttler will want to prove that he is suited to the longer format as well. A top CC score of 144 at an ever-increasing average of 33 (from only 14 matches) suggests he has his head switched on for four-day cricket, and while he may not keep wicket thanks to Craig Kieswetter, Buttler has that string to his bow as well. While he will want to prove himself in the CC, his One Day and T20 stats can't be argued with, and with 4 fifties at an average of 49 in List A cricket (with an astonishing strike rate of 159), it won't be long before Buttler is knocking on the door of national recognition. Could be a big year for the 20 year old from Taunton.

Danny Briggs - Hampshire: Like Buttler, Briggs came to wider attention thanks to his exploits in winning the T20 last year for Hampshire. Only 19, Briggs has spent the winter away with the England Lions, and the left-arm spinner will hope to make his mark in the First Class arena. The stats look good - already sub 30 with the ball, and with a best bowling of 6/45, Briggs can certainly play. The only concern is that Imran Tahir will be playing for Hampshire this year, which may leave Briggs out of the team. I can only hope he gets enough games, because this lad can bowl.

Keep an eye out for the other categories...

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