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Six cricketers to follow in 2010

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Oliver Brett | 10:32 UK time, Sunday, 3 January 2010

It's that time of year again - the time for me to look at the talented young cricketers across the globe and pick six players who I think will make an impact in 2010.

A reminder of the format: as per previous years, I am selecting three young players making their mark on the county scene, one player from each country touring England in the summer (Bangladesh and Pakistan), and a member of the England women's team.

Last year was a typical mix of good picks and not-such-good picks: Mitchell Johnson finished the year as Test cricket's top wicket-taker in 2009 while Laura Marsh was the leading bowler in the World Cup. The other four had quieter years.

Anyway, before I give you the six, three players get honourable mentions.

Umar Akmal (the Pakistan batsman) has done everything asked of him so far for his country and is a massive prospect, while it will be fascinating to see how Rory Hamilton-Brown goes on his return to The Oval to lead Surrey after two seasons at Sussex. Leicestershire batsman James Taylor, meanwhile, had a wonderful 2009 and was voted young cricketer of the year by the Cricket Writers' Club.

Our six players to followMohammad Aamer, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Sam Northeast, Mushfiqur Rahim and Ebony Rainford-Brent

Mohammad Aamer - age 17, born Gujjar Khan, Punjab, left-arm fast-medium
At an age when most English players are looking to make the move from their club side to the county second XI, Aamer is virtually a household name already.

He had no problem adjusting to the nuances of English conditions when playing a key role in Pakistan's ICC World Twenty20 triumph in June, and boasts a fine record in that format as well as one-day internationals.

Tall, rhythmical and with a remarkable ability to bowl the right ball at the right time (especially in view of his youth) he moves the ball both ways off the seam, has a deceptively dangerous bouncer and is already touching 90mph. Frankly, this kid is frightening.

Steven Finn - age 20, born Watford, right-arm fast-medium bowler
At 6ft 7in, height is Finn's principal asset, but observers of Steve Harmison's career know this can be as much a blessing as a hindrance.

Finn made his Middlesex debut as far back as 2005, becoming the county's youngest player in the process, and has appeared for England at all age-group levels from under-16 to under-19.

He bounced back from an in-and-out 2008 campaign to bowl more than 400 overs in the Championship last season amid signs that his development remains on track - and with Angus Fraser the perfect mentor at his county, 2010 promises much for Finn.

Alex Hales - age 21, born Hillingdon, west London, right-hand batsman
As a 16-year-old in 2005, Hales, a tall, strong batsman, famously hit 55 in one over (which featured three no-balls) at Lord's in London County Cricket Club's Founder's Day tournament.

Since then he has signed for Nottinghamshire, and - while remaining relatively unexposed in first-class cricket - he is developing a burgeoning reputation in one-day cricket, and struck a brilliant unbeaten 150 in the Pro40 against Worcestershire last summer.

He comes from good stock too: his father Gary reportedly broke various batting records in league cricket and grandfather Dennis once forced Rod Laver to five sets at Wimbledon.

Sam Northeast - age 20, born Ashford, Kent, right-hand batsman
In Kent's final match of last season, Northeast, then still 19, carried his bat to register his maiden first-class century. The next best score after Northeast's 128 was Rob Key's 46.

Writing in The Times, Ivo Tennant reported: "Northeast has the eye and reflexes of a high-class rackets player, which is what he is, and this century will doubtless be the first of many. A prolific run-scorer at school and in England representative cricket, he drove with authority through mid-on, punched the rising ball square of the wicket and pulled to good effect."

As far back as 2006, while still at school, he was picked for the Getty Invitational XI against the touring Sri Lankans, and hit 62 despite having to face Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan. There's something about this lad.

Mushfiqur Rahim - age 21, born Bogra, Bangladesh, keeper & right-hand batsman
Was handed a baptism of fire when making his Test debut aged 16 at Lord's in 2005 following some precocious glimpses of his talent (including a century against Northants), and hit a gritty 80 in his third Test in Colombo.

Went through a slump in form, and found himself in and out of the side, but the last year or so has seen him produce some important half-centuries in Test matches.

Became first-choice wicketkeeper after Dhiman Ghosh's departure to the Indian Cricket League, and is generally respected as a solid gloveman. His weakness is batting in limited-overs cricket.

Ebony Rainford-Brent - age 26, born Lambeth, south London, right-hand batsman
A second serious back injury when she was just 17 almost ended Rainford-Brent's career shortly after her first two England caps in 2001. She is back in the team now and hit her best score to date of 72 in an otherwise disappointing England tour of West Indies in November.

Although the England team deserves massive plaudits for its success in holding the Ashes, the World Cup and World Twenty20, batting depth remains a concern with only three players - Claire Taylor, Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards - consistent scorers.

The hope now is that Rainford-Brent can bed into the team and hold together the weaker middle order if England are to remain the side to beat in women's cricket in the mid-term.


  • Comment number 1.

    What about young Bairstow of Yorkshire?

  • Comment number 2.

    Or even Ajmal Shahzad who seems to be likely to get a tour to Bangladesh with Anderson and Broad rested if we're on the subject of Yorkshire players. Hopefully the White Rose can make a better fist of the Championship this year with all the young talent in the side - most of the squad has had some kind of England representation this winter, it makes a mockery of the fact that we narrowly avoid relegation every year.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ebony Rainford-Brent is surely a right-hand 'batswoman'?

  • Comment number 4.

    3 - I have actually asked Clare Connor (2005 Ashes-winning captain) about this, and she calls women batters "batsmen". So if she's happy to call them that then so am I.

  • Comment number 5.

    Alex Blake is another Kentish talent we hope to see flourish.

    The women's team is also giving a chance to youth with the likes of Beaumont and Wyatt joining the ranks we look forward to strength in depth with Ebony leading the way in 2010.

  • Comment number 6.

    Have to agree about young Hales that 150 against Worcester was absolutely brutal, and as a Kent fan i'm hoping Northeast maintains his excellent start, we'll need him if Denly is away with England a lot again!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Shahzad appears to blow a bit hot and cold but I would love to see him do well. His Tykes team-mate Jonathan Bairstow is certainly an exciting prospect. Don't know much about Alex Blake - is he a genuine all-rounder?

    And 6. (Chris) - Even if Denly is dropped from the one-day squad surely Northeast should play a lot next season.

    NB - there are lots of new incentives in place for counties to players in their early 20s - got to be good for development...

  • Comment number 8.

    sorry - me again - just to be clear: incentives TO FIELD players in their early 20s. and it works like this: a specific bonus payment in County Championship and FP Trophy matches if two players are under 22 and three are under 26. Needless to say the players' union are kicking and screaming about it but I think it's got to be a good thing to stop young talents going into business or packing off to uni

  • Comment number 9.

    Being confused as to how you can hit 9 balls for 55 runs I followed the link and apparently Hales "only" hit 52 (8*6 + 1*4) and the 3 no-balls makes it 55 off the over. Still pretty impressive mind you.

  • Comment number 10.

    Achingly for English fans one of the best young talents in the world at the moment is Victoria's teenage quick James Pattinson. Yep....the brother of Darren is making waves Down Under.
    He's quick, only 19 and taking wickets for a very good Victoria team.
    Western Australia's Mitch Marsh (brother of Shaun, son of Geoff) is 18 but is arguably already the Warriors best player. He can hit a ball.
    The Aussies' the long-term project is 19yo leggie Steven Smith. He was called up for as cover for Hauritz for the last couple of West Indies Tests. Warney took him under his wing in the winter and made a couple of alterations to his action. He's emerged a far better bowler. He aint ready for international cricket yet but every now and again he produces a bit of something to suggest the quality is there.

  • Comment number 11.

    1. Sam Northeast
    2. Alex Hales
    3. James Vince
    4. Joshua Cobb
    5. James Taylor
    6. Craig Kieswetter
    7. Adil Rashid
    8. Chris Woakes
    9. Jimmy Harris
    10. Azeem Rafiq
    11. Steve Finn

  • Comment number 12.

    re: rcolchester

    we are members of the huMAN race, regardless of gender. attempts to avoid sexism now border on the ridiculous

    and i'm sure ebs wouldnt mind anyway - i know her personally and she is lovely :)

    oh and for the record i am a woman, occasionally play cricket, and much prefer being referred to as a batsman that a batswoman or batsperson, or sometimes even just a bat.

  • Comment number 13.

    You obviously have a good job with the BBC, But with the greatest respect, if you want to be taken seriously by the vast majority of cricket lovers in this country, you realy do need to start watching cricket outside of the south east of England & on Sky sports.
    Your players to follow for 2010 display a pompous home counties bias that should have been left in the 1950's & 60's. Come on Oliver get out & about & away from your BBC box's at Lords & The Oval now & again! Surely they have one at Chester-le-Street! The home of the county champions!! Did you know Durham were the county champions??

  • Comment number 14.

    hey oliver,

    been watching the Aus vs Pak series on sky sports, and yes, frightening is how I would describe Aamer! I dont know how these people in the sub continent reach such skill and control of their discipline at such a young age, aamer, tendulkar, afridi, wasim akram etc. We seem to develop in a much more gradual way.

    having said that, I saw Alex Hales 150 and it was pretty special.

  • Comment number 15.

    Agree about Sam Northeast & would have given Josh Cobb a mention in the preamble. Umar Akmal is going to delight English spectators in the summer, tho' perhaps not English teams!

    As far as the women's team is concerned, we'll know a lot more after the Feb tour of India. eg. Can Laura Marsh regain the form she seemed to lose grip of in St Kitts? Rainford-Brent is a huge talent who opted for cricket over other sporting pursuits. But, she's been around a little while now, in the squad if not in the team, and really needs to consolidate her position. Should she be concentrating on a middle-order place where the likes of Morgan and Greenway can build supporting roles round her? Or would she be better off opening with SJ Taylor and leaving Gunn to bolster the middle order. Again, we'll have more clues after the tour of India.

  • Comment number 16.

    Alex Hales is the shout for me.

    I saw his 150 last season in the Pro40 from 102 balls - it was incredible. And to think he's only 20 - he's got a bright future. Actually I've just seen he turned 21 today!

    Blogs like this are good. There are very few hard core cricket fans with their finger on the pulse when it comes to young English talent. I think a few of us had heard of players like Rashid a few years ago with his batting and bowling - but many followers of cricket don't really hear too much of players until they receive a surprise international call up. It's not like football, the domestic game receives little coverage, albeit it is improving. But that is still mainly Pro40 and T20 stuff on Sky. And England Cricket fans are traditionalists, we love our test cricket and as we don't see any FC cricket on TV, it can be hard to know who the talent is that is coming through.

    Good work.

  • Comment number 17.

    10. Pattinson's brother? That sounds interesting. Not sure there's ever been a situation where two brothers have played Test cricket for different countries. If only the late, great Bearders could assist...

    12. I also met Ebony briefly at the Lord's Ashes Test last summer. Couldn't have been more approachable.

    13. The trouble is you don't suggest anyone from Durham or another northern county. And, with all respect, if by naming two southerners and one player from Notts you are accusing me of southern bias, then it's just as well I didn't name two northerners and one from the south and be biased towards the north. Oh hang on, that's what I did last year when I picked two players from Durham! Silly, silly me.

    14. Very true. The physical development of the best young players in Pakistan happens exceptionaly fast.

    15. Morgan and Greenway have frequently disappointed - though I think Morgan produced a good knock in the T20 final last year? That's why we need Ebony to come good. Also, I would be happier to see Gunn concentrate on her bowling and not keep creeping up the order...

  • Comment number 18.

    11. Is that your team to contest the Ashes in 2021? Nice selection.

  • Comment number 19.

    Just because a woman agrees to being called a batsman it does not stop it betraying their sex. Theresa May liked to be called chairman of the tories. Is she a good role model for women? Do women like to be called "man of the match"? No. Women must celebrate their difference from men and not try and copy or be selective as to what terms are acceptable or not. While I am about it what is wrong with the term "actress"

  • Comment number 20.

    Shazad had a superb season last year having recovered from a number of injuries. I doubt Yorkshire would have let Hoggard go without full confidence in him.

    I'd agree with the first poster about Bairstow and I'd add Azeem Rafiq and Joe Root to the list of promising young Yorkies. Root in particular looks like he could be very special.

  • Comment number 21.

    DrRichie - Not to mention Bresnan (24), Wainright (24), Lyth (22), Rashid (21) and Gale and Sayers who are still only 26. If Yorkshire can't produce a team which is challenging for the Championship in the next 3-4 years then there's something very wrong indeed.

    Shahzad hasn't really impressed me before 2009, but his form last year was exceptional. I recall having a conversation midway through the 2009 Championship season suggesting him as a possible candidate for a Lions tour in the winter, which he achieved. It seemed he continued his rise to prominence whilst with the EPP in South Africa and now, at least according to Michael Vaughan, he is in with a decent shout of a full tour to Bangladesh in the spring.

  • Comment number 22.

    Got to say that James Harris looks a good player for Glamorgan. Anyone seen much of him??

  • Comment number 23.

    "it's got to be a good thing to stop young talents going into business or packing off to uni"

    Really? Good idea to stop lads of 18 or 19 from going into higher education? I'm not sure.

    Every year over the last decade there have been dozens of contracted players who have played more games against county first teams through going to UCCEs than they would have done had they stayed on their county's staff for April/May/June. I think one of the unfortunate (and presumably unintended) aspects of the new incentive scheme is that it's already leading to young lads coming out of County academies and turning down opportunities to go to University.

    Obviously due to the natural attrition rate, a good two-thirds of those lads will be out of the professional game by the age of 22. What happens then?

  • Comment number 24.

    The article was ok but failed to mention the biggest talent in England as Craig Kieswetter at Somerset.

    Unfortunately, because Somerset isn't considered a major county outside cricket, inspite being the most allround county of 2009, it's players don't tend to get the credit they deserve.

    To name James Taylor as the best young cricketer last year is a joke - this honour should have gone to Kieswetter - the facts and figures speak for themselves.

  • Comment number 25.

    thegreatmeloni - "To name James Taylor as the best young cricketer last year is a joke - this honour should have gone to Kieswetter - the facts and figures speak for themselves."

    2009 Championship Stats:
    Taylor - Ave 65.77, HS - 207*
    Keiswetter - Ave 59.14, HS - 153

    The facts and figures do indeed speak for themselves.

    I think you're slightly wide of the mark about Somerset players not getting credit they deserve. Somerset's batsmen generally have their averages artificially inflated by playing on the shirtfront at Taunton, and, with the exception of Trescothick and Keiswetter, still don't have especially impressive stats. Of the Somerset attack, not one England qualified bowler had an average less than 36 in the Championship last year.

    Exactly who are the Somerset players not getting the recognition you think they deserve? Trego, Suppiah and Hildreth are all decent county pros, but I'm not convinced any of them have the class to step up to international level. The rest of the side are either at the end of their careers, are not English, or both.

  • Comment number 26.

    25 - Somerset's James Burke and Joss Butler should break into the first team this year and are both great talents for Englands future.

  • Comment number 27.

    Whilst there's a few Somerset fans on here:

    What happened to Mike Munday last year? I had followed him keenly since he took 13-fer for Oxford in the Varsity match in his last year of University, but was surprised to see he only played one championship game last year. Was he injured, or did he just not quite live up to expectations?

  • Comment number 28.

    17. Rainford-Brent is quick on her feet. She's going to have to be against Roy & Sultana! She's playing for a confirmed place when we go to the Caribbean in April. I really hope 2010 turns out to be her year.

  • Comment number 29.

    A very informative blog. Young Amer is indeed a special talent but unfortunately Pakistan, despite a somewhat misleading reputation for producing hordes of young talents, in my opinion simply isn't doing so at the moment. A couple of quality players are still coming through but the rest seem the same old-same old - the odd great match then they disappear. I'm glad to see Mohammed Asif back. He's a class act and adds stability to the raw youth and aggression of the likes of Amer. Pakistan needs a few more characters to get it back to a position in the upper echelons of cricket - the likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and, dare I say it, Salim Malik (who carried his bat with a broken arm against the pomp Windies of the 80's). These latter players are rare but above all their talent they had grit, determination and courage.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree with Post 13 from chris whitton

    One from Notts and two from the Southern Counties.
    Its then for Oliver Brett to come out with a childish and pathetic reply to his comment is ridculous.
    How can you call yourself a BBC Reporter if you reply in a childish way?
    Maybe just choosing six cricketers is not enough, maybe choosing one from each county would have been better so the main coverage was too all.
    Also how can we follow the England Women's Cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent when the BBC's coverage of the England Womens team is non-exsistent?

  • Comment number 31.

    If you can't dish out the mickey-taking, particularly when laced with inaccuracy, don't complain when it comes back in kind.

  • Comment number 32.

    Also how can we follow the England Women's Cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent when the BBC's coverage of the England Womens team is non-exsistent?



    1. There IS a page devoted to women's cricket on the bbc site (v. link on main cricket page)

    2. Ebony Rainford-Brent sometimes blogs there.

    3. You can get involvolved in February, when our team tours India (without top-bat SC Taylor). The scorecards for the ODIs and T20 matches will be on the Women's Cricket page. (SezI ???)

    4. Next April, we defend the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean

    5. As I see it, Rainford-Brent needs to perform well in India to secure her place in the team (not just the squad) for the Caribbean. She's got to be able to stand up to Osbourne, Andrews, Pulford, Lavine and Goswami, to name a few.

    6. Failing all, there's cricinfo! ;)

  • Comment number 33.

    Surely Stuart Meaker has got to be in and around this list? This lad has potential to play at the top level of the game, perhaps predominantly in ODIs but he certainly has the talent.

  • Comment number 34.

    Apparently there has been only one other instance of brothers playing for two different countries. It was over 100 years ago when England-born Frank Hearne played for South Africa against his brothers Alec and George in Cape Town 1891-92.

  • Comment number 35.

    Why are female cricketers referred to as "batsman" and not "batswoman", just curious. Anyone have an idea. Surely can't be right.

    Good piece.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am surprised there has been so little mention of Chris Woakes. There is a big place in today's game for bowlers who can bat a bit-ask Messrs Broad and Swann!

  • Comment number 38.

    23. I guess I'm a selfish cricket fan and am not looking at the bigger picture of youth employment, which in this day and age is a very big issue. Your point is a valid one.

    24. Kieswetter is obviously a very talented player but my best look at him was during the Chmapions League when he was a bit disappointing.

    30. "childish and pathetic" - no sunshine, I'm sorry. Just arguing my point. And I think people prefer it if I respond to comments rather than ignore them. As I said two of the three county players selected last year were from Durham so nobody can accuse me of southern bias.

    Also, as FleetJackHobbs has been swift to inform you, we are virtually the only media organisation which covers women's cricket in any depth through the season.

    35. This has been dealt with - look at some of the first few comments.

    37. Woakes is being closely monitored by the ECB who are pretty excited by him. To be fair it looks like our youth cricketing stocks are in pretty good shape all-round and this must bode well.

  • Comment number 39.

    What are your thoughts on Chris Jordan of Surrey?

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi Sam

    Chris Jordan was picked by my colleague Jamie Lillywhite in our "one to follow" list for 2008, but has had a couple of slow seasons. I feel sorry for him being based at The Oval, where something has gone very wrong indeed. It can't be easy being a young man at a club with such little stability with the team underachieving as much as they have

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree entirely with the comment about why is Chris Woakes ignored. I know the ECB is keeping a close eye on him and I believe he should have been called to S. Africa instead of Luke Wright - so maybe he is out because he is already pretty established, but he is only 20. The most impressive thing about Woakes is that he had a decent second season which is when many youngsters get found out. He is also a potential real all rounder when England have few such candidates. And finally, unlike some listed, he is still built like a stick insect. Wait until a conditioning programme has added muscle and 5mph+ to his pace. That could be lethal with his proven ability to move the ball both ways.

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.

    Played against Nottinghamshire Academy twice last season and Hales looks a good prospect, but Akhil Patel looks a better proposition, certainly he is the player people are talking about locally.

  • Comment number 44.

    Wow the invective of some of the commenters here is a bit unfair IMO. Sam Northeast is regarded as one of the most talented young batsmen in the country, Steve Finn has a very good reputation as a bowling prospect. Whats Oliver supposed to do? Most of the names others have suggested are either already fixtures in there teams (Kieswetter) or still finding there feet in youth or second eleven cricket. You don;t have to agree with Oliver's picks, but why can't you accept that Oliver has made these selections using his best judgement, even if it differs from your own?

  • Comment number 45.

    Oliver, could you answer this question, what are your thoughts on Stuart Meaker of Surrey?

  • Comment number 46.

    Ref No.25 (JuanCarlos)

    I stick by my original comments as you failed to mention how many runs and matches both Kieswetter and Taylor played.

    Kieswetter had 24 innings for 1242 runs and Taylor had more innings (25) with only 1184 runs.

    As for the Somerset comment, it's so true. Some of our players either get ignored for too long, i.e. Lathwell, Mallender, Hildreth or they have to leave to get recognised, i.e. Blackwell.

    Ref. 35

    It makes no odds whether women are called batsmen or batswomen. The fact remains that they will never be as good as the men at cricket and that is why the women's game will never get the credit some think it deserves........the same applies to football, rugby, golf, darts and any other sports that the women want to make successful.

    Call it sexist if you like but I call it FACT

  • Comment number 47.

    Also, have you heard anything of Seren Waters, the young Kenyan at Surrey who is cleared to play for England, who made big scores in one day games against SA, made a big hundred in a first class game against Zimbabwe i think, and took 2 outstanding catches to removes Kallis and Gibbs against SA? Given chances in the first team, he could make use of his talent.

  • Comment number 48.

    Alex Hales' uncle also has sporting prowess - a regular of the Denham first team for the last 30 or so years, "Dangerous" Dave Hales has a classic bowling action and holds the record for the coldest sandwiches ever served at a cricket tea as he made them some time previously and froze them, but did not remember to defrost before serving. I would also note that Gary Hales’ records were mostly set while playing for Denham.

    Alex Hales' own proudest moment came when he defeated Usman "The Mighty" Khan in the final of the first-ever Denham CC single wicket competition a few years back. I'm surprised it isn't mentioned here.

    Anyway, ardent followers of this column probably want to know what happened to my 6 to watch from last year's Denham squad, so here is a brief summary before plunging into this year’s selection. Despite a fine 4-fer in the first league game, it turns out Ray Rulach doesn’t back himself with the ball and he failed to collect his 20 league wickets. Or indeed 300 runs. Jack Grover finally went mad with three games of the season left to go, but continued to back up his massive chat with another half-century, and at least one perfect cover drive for 4. Hashim Zaheer kept taking 3 or 4 wickets, earning his call up to the first team, however the beamer trap doesn’t tend to work as well at the higher level. Prem Metha struggled with the responsibility of first team captaincy, under the mistaken belief that his actions could in some way influence the performance of the team. Ultimately he has left the country in order to avoid re-election. Harish had a surprisingly successful season with the Sunday team, despite some difficulty counting up to 11. The Marmanator sadly got himself a Saturday job, ruining his chances of Chiltern League immortality in 2009.
    Looking ahead to 2010, excitement is raging around the village as it is a tour year! We will return to the dim lights and seedy flesh-pots of Great Yarmouth for the smorgasbord of buffoonery that is the Denham tour, once more to question the locals’ belief in whether we put their mum on the moon. Thus here are six tourists to look out for:

    Ross “The Dross” Kirkwood – a classic tour-only player who should really be getting a regular game with the Sunday team as a forum for his drifty tweakers and watchful batting. Expect Ross to come out of his shell this year, spend less time writing essays and more drinking beer and getting rowdy. He hopes to reacquaint himself with the 40-year-old grandmother who wooed him with her mating dance on the last tour.

    James “Chantmaster” Nicholas – as well as being the player most likely to pick up both the batting and bowling awards, James has spent a good portion of the last six years developing an extensive catalogue of Denham chants and will be distributing hymnsheets around the minibus. He hopes that there will be more “wizard” moments on this tour.

    “Sir” Stuart Payne – tour leader and incredibly agile for a man twice his age Sir Stuart is the only cricketer known to knock his pads in before using them in a game situation. Off the pitch his main aim is to fend off the fourth-day gripes that are inevitable after 3 days of standing in the sun playing cricket with a bunch of no-hopers. He hopes that Harish is coming so he has someone to take it out on.

    Russell “Boundary” Bowry – Russell tries to pretend he doesn’t love it, but we all know that he does, and that he’d love a whole lot more of it than he’s currently getting. “It” being cricket. Let’s hope he brings his game head this year, as he could make 500 runs in 5 games if he concentrated. Failing that, the “Big Buck Hunter” will take out his frustration with his pump action shotgun all over the local stags. He hopes that the old guy in the Pirates bar is still singing “Spirit in the Sky”.

    Richard “Diet” Schembri – Now too old to be ‘scene’, but just old enough to get served legally, the whole touring party (including Harish) is looking forward to taking ladies man Schembers Jr on a massive bender. He hopes that his dad has packed earplugs and that his girlfriend(s) never finds out.

    Steve “Harbourmaster” Bull – Bully seems not to enjoy tour at all. He doesn’t enjoy it of course, but it happens to be the least unenjoyable thing he has to do that week. Look out for him in his harbourmaster’s hat as he sits in various bars around the area contemplating how life is wasted on the living. He just hopes that he never has to play the damn game again.

  • Comment number 49.

    Haha, this is irrelevant drivel, since the senior team in 5 years time will be composed of more "bought" South Africans. Face it, England has mostly relied on disgruntled foreign talent to get by in the last 20 years (Robin Smith, DeFreitas, Allan Lamb ..... Pieterson, Trott)

  • Comment number 50.

    Cricinfo has Hales only a couple of inches shorter than Finn! If he played for England, wonder where he'd rank as tallest opening bat. Pity he picked up an injury (he's having it sorted over the winter) as England Lions are scheduled to play some one dayers against Pakistan in the middle east.
    Evidently isn't easy for Mr Brett, other (male) suggestions are...
    Joe Root (19, Opening bat, Yorkshire)
    Seren Waters (19, Opening bat, Surrey)
    James Vince (18, Top order bat, Hampshire)
    Adam Lyth (22, middle order bat, Yorkshire)
    Jonathan Bairstow (20, middle order bat, Yorkshire)
    James Taylor (20, middle order bat, Leicestershire)
    Joshua Cobb (19, middle order bat, Leicestershire)
    Akhil Patel (19, middle order bat, Nottinghamshire)
    Jos Butler (19, middle order bat, Somerset)
    Alex Blake (20, Batting all rounder, Kent)
    Craig Kieswetter (22, Wicketkeeper, Somerset)
    David Wainwright (24, Spin bowling all rounder, Yorkshire)
    Adil Rashid (21, Spin bowling all rounder, Yorkshire)
    Azeem Rafiq (18, Spin bowling all rounder, Yorkshire)
    Tim Bresnan (24, Bowling all rounder, Yorkshire)
    Chris Jordan (21, Bowling all rounder, Surrey)
    Chris Woakes (20, Bowling all rounder, Warwickshire))
    James Harris (19, Bowling all rounder, Glamorgan)
    Ajmal Shahzad (24, Fast bowler, Yorkshire)
    Stuart Meaker (20, Fast bowler, Surrey)
    James Burke (19, Fast bowler, Somerset)

    Root, Vince, Buttler & Rafiq will represent England at the U19 World Cup, which starts next week. Of the U19 squad not already suggested, I'd look out for Michael Bates (wicketkeeper, Hants) & Nathan Buck (Fast bowler, Leicestershire). Ateeq Javid (middle order, Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (All rounder, Durham) & Matthew Dunn (Fast bowler, Surrey) have potential as well.

    Players I'll be looking out for will be: Billy Godleman, Moeen Ali, Dawid Malan, Alex Wakely, Daniel Redfern, Jonathan Clare, Liam Dawson, Steve Davies, & Luke Fletcher. Be good if wrist spinners Scott Borthwick, Max Waller & Will Beer get some games also.

  • Comment number 51.

    Albert Trott played 2 tests for England in 1898-99 when his brother Harry had already played 24 tests for Australia. Of course "Albatrott" had also played 3 times for Australia before being surprisingly omitted from the Australian Ashes party of 1896, which was incidently led by Harry! His test average against England remains even higher than Bradman's at 102.5

    His omission led him to give up on playing for his country of birth, and he moved to England and became probably the greatest ever overseas player (for Middlesex) before getting in the England side itself. Sadly he shot himself soon after retirement, leaving a tragic will that curiously bequeathed 4 pounds "and his wardrobe" to his landlady.

    No matter what Pattinson or other players may do in the future, they will never come close to matching Albert Trott's amazing life story...

  • Comment number 52.

    19. At 5:18pm on 03 Jan 2010, Peter Teague wrote:
    Just because a woman agrees to being called a batsman it does not stop it betraying their sex. Theresa May liked to be called chairman of the tories. Is she a good role model for women? Do women like to be called "man of the match"? No. Women must celebrate their difference from men and not try and copy or be selective as to what terms are acceptable or not. While I am about it what is wrong with the term "actress"

    Sounds like you know whats best for 'em, eh, Peter?

    On another note; doesn't Kieswetter qualify for England next season?

  • Comment number 53.

    He qualifies next month.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm really interested in your views on the talented James Harris, he made his first class debut in 2007, at the age of 17. In his debut season he finished with figures of 12-118 in one particular game and he took 41 wickets in county cricket last season. Is he in the same bracket as the six players you have mentioned in your blog??

  • Comment number 55.

    Well Mr Brett, your replies are really becoming childish now.
    All we pointed out was that two were from the south and basically the Southern Counties failed last season.
    Durham won again and despite that they were dragging young players out, you snubbed them.
    Also for the Women's Cricket coverage, its pretty poor layout of the page and it seems that the BBC only cover Women's Cricket when they want to.
    They have a chance of showing the Women in action, guess what, I ended up watching the Women perform on Sky Sports...if the BBC are serious of Women's about showing some then????

  • Comment number 56.

    I agree with the 2 Pakikistani youngsters but i'll add Mitch Marsh of Western Australia,captian of Australia's u19 team,and Steve Smith of NSW.Both of these boys will be playing for Australia within the next 12 months.You can throw in Alister McDermott(qld)Josh Hazelwood(nsw)Nathan Coulter-Nile(wa),and don't forget Phil Hughes.

  • Comment number 57.


  • Comment number 58.

    Just to say that I think the referal system with with 3 lives is a good idea, but wouldn't it be better if the rule was changed so it was like tennis. In tennis if your referal is upheld, you don't loose a life. After all, the number of contraversial incidents that may occur in a match is a matter of random chance. In some matches 3 may be too many, but in many not enough. The fact that you loose lives for unupheld disputes should be enough to stop abuse of the system, while allowing nessesary appeals to continue.

  • Comment number 59.

    Just to make a comment re ref 35.........sexist remark. I admit women cricketers are no where near as good as men. This is partly about numbers playing the sport and the fact that women are often not as strong as men, however when women do get a fair crack of the whip, they do fair well. Tennis being the prime example. Often women's tennis is better to watch and no less skilled than mens. Womens golf and football are different to mens on many levels but there is something that they bring to these sports that is a little undefinable. Women should not be dismissed as sports people as this previous writer suggests, and top women badminton players would wipe the floor with 90% of male club players.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hebephrenic. Just voicing my opinion, as everyone else is doing. Just because I,m arrogant doesn,t follow that the world would not be a better place if everyone listened to me.

  • Comment number 61.

    Rory Hamilton-Brown does get a lot of press for not doing very much. Quite a talent really.

    Name nobody has mentioned: Liam Dawson. I think he is in for a very tough year with Mendis coming to Hampshire and the rumours of Warne being there for the 20 over thrash. You have to wonder if he will be encouraged to focus on his batting first and foremost as I don't see that he will get masses of overs in.

    Alex Hales has a way about him at the crease that I like.

    I'll continue being underwhelmed by Joe Denly.

    Mohammad Aamer is very exciting. The danger is that he will be overbowled. Personally, I am most looking forward to seeing Mohammad Asif perform this year. He is a ferocious talent who has come very close to flushing it all down the lavatory. Watching him in Australia has been a treat as it's given several Australian batsmen an idea of what it was like to have faced a bowler like McGrath. Asif has accuracy, bounce, decent pace, and swings it both ways. There's often discussion in English circles about our lack of a true paceman, especially when we have days like we did today. Asif shows that you can be threatening on most wickets if you have other skills beyond breakneck pace. If he and Aamer can stay fit, then Pakistan have on paper the best opening attack in the world, and I do rate them above Steyn and Morkel as an opening pair.

  • Comment number 62.

    As I live in Holland, I'm most interested in Alexei Kervezee's development. Had a few half tons for Worcestershire last season (albeit a bit sporadic), and hope he can keep it up. I saw his international debut, when he was 16 and hit the Sri Lankan attack to all parts for Holland,missing out on his 50, because of a premeditated sweep. Been excited by his promise ever since!

  • Comment number 63.

    Re #48: Briliant! WIll you keep us posted on the build-up, selection and the tour itself? When will tickets become available, as I can foresee a ruch for them...

    On another note, regarding the 'nonselection' of Northern players this year: what absolute nonsense, especially the part regarding Durham winning the title, and not getting recognised for it. Last year, there were two Durham lads tipped, and they subsequently landed the title.

    This is not the BBC award for promising youngsters from last season. As I understand it, it is Oliver's list of talents that may blossom during the next.

    As for the Taylor-Kieswetter comparison: Kieswetter had more batsman to rely upon and Taylor did fantastically well with little support, especially towards the end of the season!

    Finally, regarding Kieswetter's (non-)inclusion in Oliver's six: He's been a known entity for a while, hasn't he? I think most people agree he's good and shows promise: I'm more interested in other, new talent I might otherwise have overlooked...

  • Comment number 64.

    A naive general question: we hear a lot about left-handed batsmen and their problems with bowlers bowling over the wicket and across them. Are there no left-handed bowlers? They could do the same to right-handed batmen.

  • Comment number 65.


    Generally left-handed batsmen are thought to hold an advantage due to the dominance of right-arm bowlers, but you're right - a left-arm bowler poses the same problems to a right-handed batsman...

    Of course, the balance tends to get adjusted when left-handed batsmen face spinners on the fifth day on a dry wicket, with large areas of rough areas for the ball to spin out of alarmingly.

  • Comment number 66.

    My thoughts about the Taylor/Kieswetter debate. Surely, one very important point that has not been raised is that Kieswetter scored all his runs in Division 1, whereas Taylor scored his runs in Division 2. Neil Edwards, who has just joined Notts from Somerset, is a good example of someone who scored runs for fun in Division 2 but could not repeat when Somerset got promoted to Division 1. There are plenty more examples to back up my point. Taylor simply has not proved himself at the top domestic level. Another point is that Kieswetter comes in at number 7 or 6 in four day cricket, whereas Taylor comes in much higher, thus increasing his chances of scoring more runs. As for Kieswetter in ILP 20/20 Finals, ok he was a disappointment but so was Trescothick and it is such different game/circumstances it is not relevant to this comparison.

    I am sure Kieswetter will be in the England team in the next couple of years. The only down side will be that it will increase the number of South Africans in our national team. Are there any more possible that could be in the England team in the near future?

  • Comment number 67.

    Definaely a better list this year. Last years was far too safe being full of players who were largely already well-known names.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think you should change the format. Why is there a woman on this list at all? Seriously. Would a (sensible) list of 6 footballers to follow in 2010 include a woman? Or 6 rugby players? Do you think an Indian list of 6 cricketers to watch in 2010 would include a woman? Or an Australian one? Yes, the English women's team has done very well recently, and well done to them for it. But to suggest that a woman should be one of the 6 players to follow over the next year smacks of tokenism, if not "political correctness". You might as well suggest a Kidderminster Harriers player as "one to watch" in the next football season. I realise this isn't the first time you've done this, so you've probably had this debate before, but even so, I think the points are still relevant.

  • Comment number 69.

    In response to MiniMacc, I have spent a great deal of time at Somerset and simply don't think you can say James Burke and Joss Butler are bright prospects for Englands future, JB has yet to even play for Somerset 1sts, although they may well make it yet.

  • Comment number 70.

    @68 - Willowman

    Why is there a woman on this list at all? Seriously.


    Because times change, prejudices change and because the women's game is beginning to have an impact on public awareness. Anyone who witnessed SC Taylor & Morgan chase down a huge Aussie total at the Oval last summer certainly had their money's worth of class, judgement and skill.

    When I was a lad, at school, admittedly over 50 years ago, I was refused permission to play tennis "because it was a girls' game" (sic) As I say, times change.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hales did well when Notts were crushed at Chester-le-Street, scoring 62 and 78 against the best attack in county cricket.

    BTW Oliver who did you chose last year?

  • Comment number 72.

    The Taylor / Keiswetter debate is certainly an interesting one but to claim Taylor winning the young player of the year award a “joke” is just plain laughable and reeks of sheer ignorance.

    Yes there are differences: Keiswetters plays in Div 1 & Taylor Div 2, but also Keiswetter plays most of his games on the road that is Taunton whereas Taylor doesn’t. Also Taylor played in the worst county in the country where morale must have been low and was often seen holding his own whilst others fell all around him. This was Taylor’s first full season of county cricket whereas Keiswetter has been around for a couple of seasons now. So I think overall in the grand scheme of things no neutral can really begrudge him the award.

    But the ridiculously biased, blinkered and just plain paranoid views of thegreatmeloni do make me laugh.

    FYI Hildreth’s been ignored thus far because he clearly isn’t ready. His 303* on the flattest of flat pitches constituted almost a third of his FC runs for the whole season, and he averaged barely 30 since. And to claim Blackwell is only receiving recognition since he left Somerset is equally as laughable. Firstly he played 34 ODIs and a test match for England whilst he was a Somerset player so if that wasn’t getting recognition then what the heck is? And secondly, his record last season for Durham of 949 runs @ 45 & 47 wickets @ 23 is enough to give anyone recognition regardless of who they play for.

    All that aside I think that “one to watch” list is decent enough, if the likes Taylor, Keiswetter, Northeast, Finn, Hales, Rashid & Shahzad can all kick on then it can only be good for the future of English cricket!

  • Comment number 73.

    #68 Because somebody has to make the tea at the awards ceremony.

    Though I am concerned at the omission of a disabled player, a token Welshman and anybody over the age of 65.

  • Comment number 74.

    Evening all,

    One other name to look out for in the next year or two.....Rory Darkins (my nephew). Currently in the NZ Under 19 development programme and likely (please God) to feature in the U19 World Cup held here in the UK later this year. I'm told he's a demon leggie and a very productive m/o or opening bat. Certainly the figures I've seen for him are impressive.

    I'm trying to get my brother to talk him into 'becoming English'

  • Comment number 75.

    Thanks for your informed comments. It is stimulating to read of exceptional young cricket talents at home and abroad. I live abroad the last 41 years, Newfoundland, but raised in Nottinghamshire in Retford, the home of half decent cricketer, Derek Randell. Back for a funeral in September it was a pleasure to meet and chat with Samit Patel as some Notts players guested a Retford CC fund raiser match. I saw a young Notts player there who was outstanding. Andy Carter will be a very good county cricketer. A medium fast bowler with a huge batting flair for one dayers.
    Great to read you listed Alex Hales in your top six. I have every hope he will blossom into an excellent Notts and England player. Also agree with a previous comment concerning Samit's younger, and possibly more talented brother, Ankhil Patel. I have not seen him play but the Notts scuttlebut is that he will be significant for Notts. Alot of credit goes to Mike Newell who is surely making Nottinghamshire a powerhouse county. If only Swanny, Broady, and Sid could play for us more often!

  • Comment number 76.

    if by naming two southerners and one player from Notts you

    Hales from Hillingdon is of course a southerner, but not exactly playing for his local team (Notts).

  • Comment number 77.

    Re: 44 - "Most of the names others have suggested are either already fixtures in there teams (Kieswetter)......."

    Yep, quite right.
    In Kieswetter's case, not just Somerset but England too!!!
    I think that puts him ahead in the Taylor vs. Kieswetter debate now!!

    A proud Somerset fan!!

  • Comment number 78.

    We havea young all-rounder at Northampton called Tom Brett that we quite like the look of. He hits it well and spins it to with nouce and maybe the next Swanny...

  • Comment number 79.

    It will be great to watch World Cup 2010 - Final, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


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