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Six to watch in 2009

Oliver Brett | 07:11 UK time, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Over the years at the BBC Sport website we have had a go at predicting players on the cusp of making an impact on the international cricket scene.

The tradition is to go for one player from each of the two teams touring England in the summer, three up-and-coming players on the county scene attempting to break into the national senior side, and a member from the England women's team.

No player can be selected if they have already appeared on our "six to follow".

We have had some success over the years, with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Smith, James Anderson and - last year - Dale Steyn all confidently tipped for the top. Inevitably, there have also been one or two players who have not quite lived up to expectation.

Have a look at our selections from 12 months ago if you like - you can also link from there to many of the previous picks - and most importantly have a go yourself.

I'll be back on the blog later to compile a "popular choice" selection if there are enough replies!

Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Marshall, Mark Davies, Robbie Joseph, Will Smith, Laura Marsh

Mitchell Johnson - age 27, born Townsville, Queensland, left-arm fast-medium bowler

For Australia to retain the Ashes, someone will need to step into the shoes of the retired Glenn McGrath and that man could be Johnson.

Not afraid to seek a full length in an effort to get the ball to swing - and with that happy knack of taking wickets with so-so deliveries - he bowls at a lively pace and is learning fast on the international stage.

After a slightly disappointing first year in Test cricket, he was one of the few bright spots on the tough tour of India. Having survived that examination, he picked up easier wickets against New Zealand in the home series and took 11 more in a single Test against South Africa in Perth.

Xavier Marshall - age 22, born Jamaica, right-hand batsman

The West Indies selectors seem, for the time being, determined to keep giving Marshall chances since many are convinced this man has so much raw talent that one day he must succeed.

He has a truly dreadful record in one-day cricket - in 19 completed innings he has suffered 13 dismissals while still in single figures. And while he managed to smash an unbeaten 157 against Canada, his next best score is 35.

And yet, far from banish him to regional cricket, the selectors put him back in the Test side in June, and an innings of 85 in the fourth innings in Barbados showed him at his best. There is something there - he must now channel emotions which can get the better of him and he could yet emerge as a talent on the world stage.

His ability to strike the ball cleanly may make him one to watch at the ICC World Twenty20 in June - especially as he would have had the chance to get used to English conditions by then.

Mark Davies - age 28, born Stockton-on-Tees, right-arm seam bowler

The conveyor belt of fast bowlers from the north-east appeared to have left Davies behind when others like Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett and Graham Onions gained England recognition, while he did not.

Davies's handicap was his fitness. He took 97 wickets between 2004 and 2005, and yet was injured for periods of both of those summers before spending three months in a body brace in 2006.

He began to recover in 2007 and took 39 wickets in 11 matches in the Championship-winning squad last summer. That haul included a stunning spell on a flat deck at Old Trafford, when he had Andrew Flintoff caught at slip first ball after seeing off Mark Chilton, Mohammad Yousuf and Mal Loye.

Davies's career bowling average of 21.17 is very good indeed and he could be approaching his best years now.

Robbie Joseph - age 26, born Antigua, right-arm fast bowler

Hailing from the Caribbean, Joseph was cleared to play for Kent in 2004 after arriving in the UK as a schoolboy aged 15. But he found himself very much a fringe figure at Canterbury for a number of seasons.

That all changed in 2008, however, when he emerged as one of the best English-qualified one-day bowlers in the country with some dazzling spells in pressure situations, and some handy returns in the Championship too.

He removed Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook in consecutive deliveries in the Friends Provident Trophy final, where he demonstrated his natural ability to run the ball away from the right-handers.Those in the know say he has also added a few crucial yards of pace, and the ECB have taken note by including him in their most recent performance squad.

Will Smith - age 26, born Luton, right-hand batsman

Durham University has already provided four top-order batsmen who went on to play for their country in Nasser Hussain, Andrew Strauss, Graeme Fowler and John Stephenson. Will Smith, who will captain the county champions this summer, could be the next.

Always a name to look out for in scorecards featuring the university sides between 2002 and 2005, sheer weight of runs forced his inclusion in Nottinghamshire's Twenty20 side in the fourth of those summers.

Quite how Notts let him go at the end of 2006 - they essentially swapped him for the Essex giant Will Jefferson - is a bit of a mystery. And in his second season at Durham he racked up 952 Championship runs from 12 matches to be the club's player of the year - no mean feat in that particular side.

Laura Marsh - age 22, born Pembury, Kent, right-arm seam bowler

Having tipped the likes of Isa Guha and Sarah Taylor long before they made a major impact, women's cricket is an area we have some confidence in. Marsh is an interesting performer who has switched from seaming the ball to spinning it under the tutelage of Jack Birkenshaw.

I must admit I was tempted to go for Lydia Greenway, the batsman who has been in the team for a while, but in this area I defer to my colleague Paul Grunill, who knows much more about women's cricket than me.

So good luck to Marsh and the rest of the England team as they travel to the World Cup in Australia in March, and then defend the Ashes in the summer (following the World Twenty20, also in England). It will be a very busy year for them but after a great summer in 2008 they have a decent chance of success in both tournaments.


  • Comment number 1.

    Very interesting, Oliver....

    I'm hopeful that 2009 will be the year when Marshall finally lives up to his potential. But do you think it's right that Joseph is now eligible to play for England? After all, he spent most of his life in the Caribbean....

  • Comment number 2.

    Nice picks. I have been puzzled for a while as to why Mark Davies' name had not been mentioned for England so its nice to see you select him. his career stats are outstanding and although he has had his fair share of injuries he has still found time to rack up over 200 wickets. I am guessing the reason for his non-selection is connected to pace; CricInfo lists him as a medium pacer.

    Having watched some of the series where the Aussies surrendered their home record I think Mitchell Johnson is a good pick, he whipped up one spell of 5 wickets for about 2 runs.

  • Comment number 3.

    Shivfan, just look at KP.

  • Comment number 4.

    Exactly, Joseph has been in the country for 11 years.

    KP is the captain of the national side and he's not even been here that long!!

  • Comment number 5.

    good selection but what about?

    adil rashid
    joe denly
    steven moore
    amjad khan
    ajantha mendis
    guatam ghambir
    jean-paul duminy
    shaun marsh
    ross taylor
    owais shah
    morne morkel
    stuart broad
    ishant sharma

    these guys look like they can be the real future stars of the game

  • Comment number 6.

    I do feel that there is a lack a real talent at the moment in the English County Championship but here are my six to watch along with International players:
    Dawson of Hampshire looks a good young spinner who can also bat.
    Redfern of Derbyshire looks a good young batsman.
    Godleman of Middlesex Talented opening batsman.
    Woakes of Warwickshire looks a very promising young fast bowler.
    Tim Southee of New zealand is a star of the future with the ball and can hit the ball along way with the bat.
    J-P Duminy of South Africa looks a class act with the bat. I will include one Australian and West Indian because they are touring against England:
    Peter Siddle i feel is a promising fast bowler.
    Ramdin of the West Indies who is a very good wicket keeper and a useful batsman.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not accurate to suggest Notts "let Will Smith go" - his contract expired at the end of 2006, they were keen for him to stay, but he rejected a new contract and went back to his old university town. Poor loyalty really given Notts gave him his first break, and played him in the team a fair bit that season (with limited success) but there you go.

    Agree Davies is one to watch this year - if he can stay fit for a season then I dont think he will be too far away from the England side - especially given some of our seamers are inconsistent at best.

    Will also be keeping an eye on Graham Napier - explosive when on form and is an under rated bowler, especially in the ODIs. A good start to the season and he could force his way into the side.

    Also like the look of Harris for Glamorgan and Michael Brown for Surrey (signed from Hants) this year.

  • Comment number 8.

    My Pick is Chris woakes for Warwickshire. Hopefully he'll carry on his amazing form and get an England call up.

  • Comment number 9.

    Shakib Al Hasan looks to be the hope of Bangladesh cricket. A class all-rounder, consistent contributor.

    DavidBirch1987, Ramdin is too poor a batter to be a good player (averaging around 20 even after 3 years in Test Cricket) and I feel that the only reason he is in the WI team is that they have no-one else.

  • Comment number 10.

    Four of the six are over 25.

  • Comment number 11.

    no 10

    that's a good point, when i did "six to watch in 2004" the oldest person I had (Jim Troughton) was 24. Graeme Smith and James Anderson were 22 and 20 respectively. It just seems that there are not a lot of stand-out youngsters about who we haven't already nominate, or maybe it's just a trend that cricketers are making their breakthroughs at a slightly older age....

  • Comment number 12.

    Stephen Finn
    Dawid Malan
    Graham Napier
    Brad Haddin
    Kieron Pollard
    Ebony Rainsford-Brent

  • Comment number 13.

    Have to agree with the selection and like others have mentioned I to think that Woakes will be one to watch this year as well as the Sussex opener Chris Nash.

    Its interesting to see that the England mens side are sliding down the rankings over the last 2 years whilst the womens side goes from strength to strength during the same period. A good chance of an Ashes and World cup double for the women this year?

  • Comment number 14.

    The six you have posted have all got their merits but i must say you have left some out. Number 1 would be Joe Denly, has has been consistent for Kent in the past few years and has been mouted around the England scene. This could be the agressive player we need to replace Tres at the top of the order and this would mean that strauss or cook will be able to drop down to 3. The next player is Dawid Malan, he will be able to come into the middle order of the one day side and be able to offer the fireworks that the team is in much need of. The last player that should get a mention is Amajad Khan, he finally got recongnition in India by being called up, but why did he not get a cap, with the woeful Harmison. He was one of the best seamers on the county scene before his injury. So this means that we should give the people that perform well on the county scene a chance at the national level and take the English Test team away from the gentlemens clubs that it has come to be over the past few years.

  • Comment number 15.

    i will have to disagree with marshall. he isn't that good and i will be very surpise if he plays over 25 test matches.

  • Comment number 16.

    J P Diminy is destined for cricket stardom. He got into the Saffers test side because of injury to Ashwell Prince and Diminy performed so well that I doubt that Prince will be chosen for the Sydney test. JP is an elegant and stroke making
    bat and he is also very good in the field: his 160 in the Second test was all class and some commentators were comparing him to Lara.
    Definitely a coming star.

  • Comment number 17.

    Might not be quite 2009 but watch out 2010 - an 18 year old all rounder just introduced to the NSW Sheffield Shield team - leg spin and you beauty can he bat - Steven Smith.

  • Comment number 18.

    arj442 - The reason Denly isn't in the list is that we chose him last year. I agree with you about Malan, however.

  • Comment number 19.

    Having looked at your selections from previous years i have noticed that many of the players made it but took a few more years to do it e.g Jimmy Anderson, Sehwag, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad etc.

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't get why people keep mentioning Joe Denly. He was poor last season in a team that got relegated. He needs a big season this year if he is to be seen as a future England contender.

    Six young players to watch in the county game

    Chris Woakes (Warwks)
    Adam Lyth (Yorks)
    Steve Finn (Middx)
    Josh Cobb (Leics)
    Tom Maynard (Glamorgan)
    Liam Dawson (Hants)

  • Comment number 21.

    I think Phillip Hughes for Australia. An up and coming star who in the not so distance future will open for Australia.

  • Comment number 22.

    Good choices on the whole although Dwayne Bravo is due back after a long injury and Brendon Nash of Jamaica will be worth keeping an eye on.

  • Comment number 23.


    I was thinking of Him as i was reading this article

    funny how they're all young ENGLISH players
    (Marshall excluded but pah)

    I feel that Duminy and Hughes should definitely have been in it

  • Comment number 24.

    Joseph may be eligible to play for England but that doesn't mean he has to. It means that he can choose between England and the WIndies . . . if both teams wanted him.

    Personally, I can't see England selecting him this year.

    If WIndies cricket-politics doesn't interfere, they could probably use him.

    They need professionals in the team.


  • Comment number 25.

    anyone who knows even a little bit about cricket would know 2009 should and will be about mendis.
    murali's ready-made replacement.
    shocking that he is not mentioned here when nearly ever other respected paper and cricket section has.

  • Comment number 26.

    I hardly think Mitchell Johnson is really the sort of up-and-coming cricketer on which this article should focus, with 17 Test matches already under his belt and now a first choice member of the Australian side. I would add Jonathan Clare of Derbyshire to the list, a promising all-rounder who will have benefitted from some coaching by Dennis Lillee over the winter.

  • Comment number 27.

    johnny bairstow

  • Comment number 28.

    one of the best emerging players i've seen at county level is vinny maddage at middlesex who is relatively new to the game but will be a star in 2009.

  • Comment number 29.

    Thanks for recognising Robbie Joseph's talent. He is a rapidly improving cricketer and was Kent's stand out player in the Friends Provident trophy final at Lords last year as you say Oliver.

    In his interview after that final, Rob Key recognised that Robbie is an emerging talent who will be a really big asset for Kent in the next couple of seasons, and I am looking forward to seeing how he improves still further with his captain's pleasing endorsement ringing in his ears.

    As a Kent fan I have been sorry to see us lacking strike bowlers of McCague and Headley's calibre in recent years. If Amjad Khan can stay fit and with Robbie emerging, along with the return of Rob Ferley, I am confident that we will win the tight matches that cost us so dear last season and resulted in our relegation.

    Thanks for this piece. I hope that you are right...

  • Comment number 30.

    good choices. Much better than boyd Rankin last year.
    just want to say Kyle Coetzer is a great player,despite poor form last year
    Also Thandi Tshabalalais a great offspinner,much more dangerous than paul harris. with a few good seasons at the free state eagles, he could be one to watch,after a handful of odis for south africa.

  • Comment number 31.

    mine would be...

    1. Mendis
    2. Rhasid
    3. Shaun Marsh
    4. Duminy
    5. Rohit Sharma
    6. Malan

    I'm hoping for England's sake that the Aussies don't pick Marsh this summer!!

  • Comment number 32.

    thank you for all the responses, some are very interesting. Quite impressed there are so many given the time of year!

    Some of you seem to have failed to read the criteria at the top - namely three English-qualified county players, one from each touring team coming to England and one English woman. That is why there are no South Africams, Sri Lankans and Indians.

    Joe Denly, Adil Rashid & Stuart Broad have been picked in previous years so are also ineligible...

    An alternative, valid six from you lot would probably be as follows:

    Chris Woakes, Dawid Malan, Steve Finn, Graham Napier, Shaun Marsh, Phillip Hughes. (not a bad group, actually)

    No West Indian and no woman player as there are not enough votes for any individual fitting those categories!

    Happy New Year one and all...

  • Comment number 33.

    As a Durham supporter I certainly extend the best wishes to Will Smith for a successful season and will obviously be delighted if you prediction for him and Davies proves right.

    Mark Davies was certainly worth watching last year - the best and third best bowling seen in division one LVCC in 2008 and some of us who have had the pleasure of seeing him bowl have got an appreciation group on facebook. He may not have pace – but is extremely accurate and thinks about what’s happening. It will be interesting to see how he does with the Lions in New Zealand.
    [the Australian express pace attack lost to South Africa – so a seam attack of just pace is not everything]

    An alternative could be [Without WI or womens]
    Eoin Morgan, Jonathan Trott, Jon Claire
    And I’m hoping Australia will finally pick Ben Hilfenhaus – so we can find out if we really should be watching him or not!

    It’s new year - ‘read the criteria at the top’ too much like hard work! Perhaps you could be broader in the choice for you audience participation input - tis the season to throw names around after all. What about a new category’s for one day specialist and Twenty20 specialist?

    And throwing names around hard to resist: perhaps from last seasons form Tim Murtagh, James Tomlinson should have perhaps been considered for the Lions.

    In the CC this lot could be interesting?
    Liam Dawson
    Chris Wokes
    Danny Evans [shin splints seemed to get in the way a lot of his 2008 season.]
    And as the young wildcard - Scott Borthwick

  • Comment number 34.

    Of the female player, Anya Shrubsole is the one to really watch. She has a lot of ability and could be very big for England in the future.

    For young county players, there are a lot of players who have to build big. Steven Finn is someone with potential who needs to kick on this year in my opinion. Dawid Malan might find 'second season syndrome' affecting him, as Graham Thorpe found when he was a young player. The most exciting bowling combination will be down in Hampshire as Imran Tahir, who made a huge impact last season' will be bowling in partnership with Liam Dawson. Watching a left arm spinner who isn't afraid of giving it some flight bowling with a leg spinner will be an absolute treat.

    The player I'm most intrigued by is Will Smith. I was disappointed to find he wasn't going to the West Indies as I would have picked him and dropped one of the three spinners (Panesar actually, as I'd rather he went to New Zealand with the Lions). Smith is a classy bat and I feel he could be a tip for future England captain. The decision by Durham to appoint him captain is a poitner to that in my opinion. So for Smith to then not even be in the Lions squad is unbelievable. Jon Trott isn't bad but Smith is a quality player. Therefore I'd like to see Smith score a bucketload of runs whilst simultaneously leading Durham to more titles.

  • Comment number 35.

    Chris Woakes Warwickshire
    Proven himself as a star bowler in the county championship last year and his first full season in the 1st XI and is still young. Future England opening bowler, no doubt.

  • Comment number 36.

    Cr1cketNut I really don't think you can bag Will Smith for poor loyalty to Notts, loyalty is a two way street. If he hadn't been so loyal he would have left a year or two before and his undoubted talent would have been realised earlier.

    He was given very rare opportunities at Notts whereas Durham backed his talent and gave him a proper go. The environment at Durham is second to none: good man management, good communication, focus on youth and a real sense of team spirit.

    It has obviously made a big difference and a county champ average of 50 really should have been rewarded nationally. As Andy Plowright says lets hope he gives the selectors more to think about this coming season. England need more runs if they are going to defeat the Aussies again!

  • Comment number 37.

    as its the year of the ashes, here are some australians to look out for...
    1.Brad adam ghilchrist
    2.Ben Hilfenhous....plenty of spin
    3. Simon Katich...strong batsmen
    4.Doug Bollinger...if given a chance strong strike bowler

  • Comment number 38.

    It's interesting, given Middlesex's lack of success over the last three years, to see so many Middlesex players mentioned above.

    Billy Godleman had an incredible start in 2007, holding together a faltering batting line-up. Last season he got a terrible dose of "Second Season Syndrome", but those who saw him, age 19, defy attacks as his colleagues crumbled, felt that he had a Test career ahead of him.

    David Malan made a huge difference to the Middlesex T20 side and looks like a real talent.

    Stephen Finn is another one who looks to have a lot of talent and bowled like a lion when the rest of the seamers were injured or toothless.

    Ben Scott is another one who seemed to thrive when all around him were floundering and, initially controversially, took over the gloves, soon justifying completely his elevation. There too people have whispered softly that he may have an England future.

    Mind you, one name that many people would have given 12 months ago - Nick Compton - has disappeared off the radar. At the end of last season it was assumed that he would switch county to try to recover from a desperate year, but I have not heard anything about a move.

    One of the sadder footnotes of 2008 was to see Mark Lawson released by Yorkshire after making such an impressive debut in 2007.

    However, of my own county, I can name not one.

  • Comment number 39.

    Looking at the above, people bemoan the lack of young talent. How much of this apparent lack is real?

    Part of the problem is that in CC2 far too many sides prefer to play a second-rate 29 year old Kolpaker rather than a first-rate youngster. The fact that a player has 8-10 years of experience and a South African accent makes him appear less of a risk than the neo. Of the sides that I have followed last year in CC2, only Middlesex have really gone with a youth policy (hence my list of players above), which may pay hansom dividends in the next year or so.

    In CC1 though the general level is very strong and the depth is so great that young players do have trouble forcing their way through. Look at Durham, where a Test player who has has some success like Liam Plunkett can't even get a game, or Lancashire, who potentially could have played Mahmood, Anderson, Flintoff, Chappell and Cork: how does a promising 19 year old break in there? The ones who do make it through, like Joe Denly, Adil Rashid and now that he'll be back in CC1, Stephen Moore, are good enough to be fast-tracked to international representation, be it with the Lions or the full England squad, very quickly.

    The situation is certainly not as bad as some are saying.

  • Comment number 40.

    Will Smith wanted to leave Nottinghamshire to join Durham. Notts didn't want him to go. That's your mystery solved. If you were a decent cricket journalist you would know that.

  • Comment number 41.

    An interesting article, as a Kent (and England) fan, I'll be watching Robbie Joseph with interest and hope his form improves through 2009, like it did through 2008.

    A bit disappointing to see the token woman put in there for PC purposes. Let's be honest, 99.5% of cricket fan couldn't care less and (as with football) get a bit fed up with female cricket being rammed down our faces. The Press/Media (and ECB) should focus more attention (and resources) on improving our county game and getting our young players through and stop funding something that's of little or no interest. Otherwise, a cracking article!

  • Comment number 42.

    In addition to Andy Plowright's hope for the Hants spin pair, led by Imran Tahir, what I find interesting is that I believe that due to playing in S.A for a few seasons, he is close to qualifying to play for their national side.

    There is surely little doubt that he is a more penetrative bowler than Harris and maybe the last piece in the S.A jigsaw, allied their strong pace and batting line-up.

    Having played with/against him for several years in staffordshire league cricket, it would be great to see him on the international stage as he has developed greatly into a quality bowler.

    I do find some of these 'ones to watch' a bit obvious. Smith was picked when already skippering the SA team, Steyn was widely accepted as SA's biggest threat (Morkel would have been a more 'left-field' pick), and this year Mitchell Johnson- you don't say... he's already carrying the Aussie attack on his shoulders. It's hardly a great bit of talent spotting.

  • Comment number 43.

    Shame on you, Steve Treacle.

    I like women's cricket, and not 'for PC reasons'.

    More importantly, thousands of young women across the country are passionate about the game and dream of playing at the highest level.

    This despte the fact that no female cricketer, however talented, will ever be able to afford a second home in the Caribbean or earn a million dollars for winning one game.

    You point appears to be that the media should stop covering women's cricket because nobody cares - but have you ever considered that nobody cares because the media don't cover enough women's cricket?

    Nobody's ramming women's cricket down your face, whatever that would consist of. If you don't like it, don't watch it.

    But women's cricket, as with any sport, does have the right to compete on its own terms, rather than as a mere adjunct of the male game. At present it receives a tiny fraction of the funds given to the men's game.

    This money is justified because:
    1) The women's game is enjoyed by many people and is currently thriving both on and off the field.
    2) It is in the national interest to have a strong women's game in this country. Far more so, at least, than for Northants to be able to sign an extra couple of Kolpaks.

    So, you know, shut up.

  • Comment number 44.

    Just to put you right again, Notts didn't sign Will Jefferson to replace Will Smith. Jefferson was signed to replace the retired Darren Bicknell.
    Mark Wagh and Bilal Shafayat were signed when Smith decided to leave.
    Smith, for me, like many other Notts fans probably, looked decidedly ordinary when he turned out for Notts.
    Quite honestly he's surprised me the amount of runs he scored last year as he looked destined not to make it with Notts.

  • Comment number 45.

    For those interested in the local club scene in and around Denham I have picked 6 to watch in 2009.

    Raymond Rulach - Having established himself at the top of the 2nd XI batting order in 2008, Ray is looking to make his time in the field more interesting by becoming a supporting straight-up-and-down medium pacer. He boldly seeks 20 wickets and 300 runs in the 2009 league season.

    Jack Grover - 2008 Denham CC Clubman of the Year Jack will continue in his 3rd year as 2nd XI captain - a club record in recent times. After his maiden half-century last year, he will be backing himself with both the ball and the bat, looking to lay rightful claim to the bowling trophy from the charlatan 'Philthy' Phil Ashworth. Additionally look out for his awesome fielding.

    Hashim Zaheer - With an electrifying mix of beamers and bouncers, batsmen never quite know where they are at against this new face of 2008. 2009 will surely be the year where we find out if he is some kind of Larwood-esque genius, or merely a buffoon with a poor bowling action.

    Prem Metha - Following some tense scenes at the AGM, Prem stepped forward to take on the 1st team captaincy after only a handful of games as a regular player. Seasoned veterans of the club who remember the similar actions of Phil 'Fume' Hulme wonder if he knows what he has let himself in for, and whether he will last more games than the Ginger Whinger.

    Harish Bhatt - Clearly under some bizarre misapprehansion as to what the role entails, the new Sunday skipper is already a familiar face, however in the new season he will certainly be one to watch on match days. No doubt he will be splashing out on a jug of Diet Coke for his team-mates to celebrate his first win as Sunday captain, if it ever materialises.

    Alex Marman - The Marmanator has been on the fringes of the 2nd XI for a couple of seasons now, and this year could be his breakthrough year. If encyclopaedic knowledge of British popular music 1950-present and sporting trivia even John Motson can't remember took wickets and scored runs, this guy would be the new Freddie Flintoff. However they don't, he isn't and rather we look forward to seeing his unexpectedly safe catching hands playing a key role for Denham (although he will be competing with Denham legends Colin 'Flash' Tobin, Mark Dalton, Jeff Simpson, Peter 'Full Fat' Schembri and the The Philth for the coveted position of mid-on for the 2s).

  • Comment number 46.


  • Comment number 47.

    Someone who was player of the year at the county champions is not exactly a 'one to watch'.

    Neither is soeone with 2 years test experience already.

    Very lazy article in my opinion.

  • Comment number 48.

    you are entitled to call me lazy, hacker, but at least - unlike yourself - I am prepared to put my head over the parapet!

  • Comment number 49.

    Oliver Brett - BBC Sport,

    1 in 6 success (Dale Steyn) from last years selection, not bad.

  • Comment number 50.

    If Pakistan ever get the chance to play cricket again.... then watch out for Anwar Ali. He looks a star in the making. He was already a brilliant fast bowler, winning Pakistan an U-19 world cup but has now added an ability to score big runs too!

  • Comment number 51.

    As a Kent fan, I'm still not sure about Robbie Joseph. He reminds me a little of Sajid Mahmood (and I don't know if he was injured last season, but he didn't seem to play much for Lancs) in that he does get you wickets, but he also sprays the ball around all over the place and goes for far too many runs, in all forms of the game. If he's going to perform consistently well, then he's going to have to tighten up.

    Joe Denly had a great start to the year (mostly in one-dayers) but really fell away in the second half of the season, so he needs to really build on the potential he has shown.

    Graham Napier seems to have built a reputation based on one innings in Twenty20 Cricket. Yes, he is a useful bowler (but he always was), but in my opinion he is not a good enough batsman to warrant batting at 3 for Essex in one-dayers. Jason Gillespie has a Test Match 200. Would he be classed as a top-class bat? No. There's a good reason Napier was playing 2nd XI cricket not that long ago.

  • Comment number 52.

    What about Ajantha Mendis ?

  • Comment number 53.

    I found Steve Teacle's article (particuarly as a kent fan as well) quite offensive. The current England womens cricket team are one of the most committed and dedicated group of players you will find. The captain Charlotte Edwards comes from Kent and, along with another Kent player Lydia Greenway, will represent England in this year's 2009 World Cup in Sydney in March. For Mr Treacle's information the England Womens team in 2008 beat New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and India as well as drawing 2-2 with Australia and retaining the Ashes on Australian soil at Bowral in March 2008. Apart from our Olympic Teams, there would not have been other England International teams with such a creditable playing record. If he had taken the time to come to Canterbury in August last year he would have seen what a well drilled squad they are--very professional. Indeed 8 of the players have coaching contracts with the ECB. Wake up and smell the coffee Mr Treacle and support this very dedicated team in this year's World Cup, World 20/20 tournament and Ashes series.

  • Comment number 54.

    Martin Bodenham has been named in the England and Wales Cricket Board's Full List of first-class umpires for the 2009 season.
    He used to be a football referee and once officiated at a League Cup Final.
    It will interesting to see whether he blows a whistle for no-balls or holds up a red card to give batsmen out.
    (No doubt 20/20 will be looking at these possibilities before long).

  • Comment number 55.

    Hardly "predicting players on the cusp of making an impact on the international cricket scene" in my opinion. You tipped Dale Steyn for 2008 - he was ICC Test Cricketer of the year the previous year! It would be like predicting Cristiano Ronaldo achieving fame and fortune in 2009...

    Similarly Mitchell Johnson is already established as Australia's best bowler having carried their seam attack all season. Surely if you were selecting 'one to watch' under the criteria above you would have to select someone of the stature of Hilfenhaus, Bollinger, Marsh, McDonald or perhaps Phil Hughes?

  • Comment number 56.

    Spielfuhrer mate....
    Well, judging by what i've seen from Bollinger and Mcdonald - if they are Oz best up-coming, then I dont think Bangladesh have got much to worry about let alone England or the rest ! If this is the 'production line' then it aint producing the likes of Duminy,ABDV,Rashid,Mendis is it ?
    Maybe that good old aussie trait of humility (sic) might be stretched a bit over the next decade or so eh ?

  • Comment number 57.

    Mitchell Johnson - yet again we witness the BBC's obsession with all things Australian when it comes to cricket. The world is moving on, guys...if Johnson was English you wouldn't give him a mention, and you know it.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'd really like to see Steven Davies of Worcestershire get his chance in the England set up this year. he really shone for a lot of last season and I think he can be a big star if given the chance.

  • Comment number 59.

    Oh dear. At least one of them is playing in Oliver's 'Sydney Showdown'. There's nothng else to add. Full marks for anyone who can guess which of these six is most likely to emulate Dale Steyn.
    Clue- like Steyn, a bowler who has already become a first choice pick for his country.

  • Comment number 60.

    I hope Shah is the player to watch. I have always been a fan of his as i believe he has the temperment to handle the aussies. Players like Swann, Prior and Bopara don't have the bottle to compete against them.

  • Comment number 61.

    My Best 11 Test Team

    G. Smith – SA - A v. good year and did well against the Ausies
    Gambhir – IND – A v. good year and played with control against the Ausies
    Amla – SA – A very reliable player and doesn’t give his wicket away
    Chanderpaul – WI - very gritty and attacking. Great ability to change a match
    Pietersen –ENG- a fine and attacking player and very determined
    Dhoni – IND - In my opinion, the best keeper around at the moment
    Zaheer – IND - clever fast bowler
    Steyn – SA – very good consistent bowler
    Johnson – AUS – attacking, good fast bowler and good with the bat
    Murali – SLA - what can I say ? – brilliant !!

  • Comment number 62.

    you are entitled to call me lazy, hacker, but at least - unlike yourself - I am prepared to put my head over the parapet!


    That's your job isn't it?

    And if you want a name from me then James Harris. I would even go so far as to say that he would possibly be in the England touring team by the winter as long as he can stay fit this year. For me he is easily the most promising bowler to appear on the County scene since James Anderson (who looked even better propect back then than he looks a player now).

  • Comment number 63.


    Thanks for the James Harris observation. I know Steve James talks highly of him, and I shall watch his development with interest.

  • Comment number 64.

    I would like to say watch out for in 2009 are Ishant Sharma and Badrinath for India, and Siddle of Australia.

  • Comment number 65.

    Best 11 for 2008:

    Jayasuriya - Smasher of new ball
    Sehwag - as above; more brutal
    Smith - Rock and quick scorer
    Tendulkar - Worlds number 1
    KP - Aggressive and confident
    Dhoni - Hard hitter
    Flintoff - Good Batter excellent bowler
    Johnson - One of the best around
    Sharma - Young raw, super v aussies
    Steyn - Quality pace bowler
    Murali - No one can turn it better

  • Comment number 66.

    I notice Darren Pattinson has not had a mention...

  • Comment number 67.

    As a Kent fan the enthusiasm shown for Joe Denly by several contributors is curious. He had a very poor season ( see the shot he played in the FP trophy final) and his first class average was improved by the 149 he scored re Somerset in which he was dropped 4 times before he had 50. Being consistent in 20/20 is no benchmark. He has bags of talent but it needs to be honed.

    Robbie Joseph performed very well in 2nd half of the season and is very much a confidence bowler. He should very much be encouraged as his attitude is far better than some other bowlers we had last year namely Arafat and Mahmood whose heads went down very quickly. The disillusionment at Kent was exemplified by Rob Key walking off at Lords before the rest of his team due to the abject performance. Kent need to kick out a number of the overseas big time charlies and concentrate on breeding a few home grown stars as they did a few years ago.

  • Comment number 68.

    rubbish list, this, more of a prompt for debate than anything else. Mitchell Johnson is hardly a find and Xavier Marshall can't score runs even in NZ right some average Enbglish county players...Surely BBC can do better than this?

  • Comment number 69.

    for 2009, i think azhar ali of pakistan will be a big star.
    top run scorer in the pakistan leagues last year,in the provisional champions trophy squad and was recently offered a central contract.Allfrom a man who has spent the past 3 summers playing cricket in north east scotland!

  • Comment number 70.


  • Comment number 71.

    I am (again!) amazed at the lack of attention Tim Bresnan gets in this kind of thing. While his batting didn't quite reach last year's standard it was still significantly better than Rashid's, and he took over 40 wickets at a better average. Yet somehow Rashid is the talk of the town and Bresnan gets barely a nod! Makes me glad I'm a leg-spinner ;) On the other hand, as a Yorkshire fan I'll be more than happy for England to ignore Bres for another couple of years - with Hoggard seemingly out of the selector's eye-line as well it could be a good time for the Tykes :)

  • Comment number 72.

    Watch this space! David Hussey and Ishant Sharma are the men for the job. For more cricket writngs go to my own blog

  • Comment number 73.

    6 to watch, to me, really is about spotting talent that the average cricket fan may not have heard of before. I would like to add two names. Both played for England under 19's last season and , i believe they will start to push into the Sussex side, and make a real impact. The two players i talk about are Will Beer and Ben Brown. With Matt Prior, looking like he may play for England in the Summer. I believe Brown will be given the gloves by Sussex and prove to be a real success.

  • Comment number 74.

    Nobody cares about womens cricket I agree with Mr Treacle. Its a mens game, the women struggle to hit the ball off the wicket and who wants to watch it apart from other women? But of course in these PC times we have to cover it.

    Why no Derbyshire players? How come Danny Redfern is not on the list.

  • Comment number 75.

    Amjad Khan? One to watch??? He's almost 29 - hardly a youngster in cricket terms. He was certainly worth a try in the West Indies, but hardly "one to watch". (By the way, if he wants to make it at international level, he needs to move his bowling run up marker back about a foot to cut out the no balls).

  • Comment number 76.

    Congratulations on the Laura Marsh pick. 16 wickets in the World Cup makes her the leading bowler in the competition. Congratulations to Laura for ..... well winning the World Cup !

    Its a shame that the BBC allow the comments of "SteveTreacle" and "Derbyshire_La_La_La" to be publiched.

    Presumably this is the same game of cricket for which the act of bowling overarm was invented by a women. I suggest "Derbyshire_La_La_La" that you actually get your facts correct before blurting out such attrocious garbage as suggesting women cannot hit the ball off the wicket. Suggest you attend the Derby/Lancs T20-T20 at Derby in June but turn up 4 hours early and don't park your car too close to the boundary edge.

    As for the drivle from "SteveTreacles" I suggest you constrain your sexist ranting to yourself. Hardly the most eloquent or well argued contribution to put it mildly. I'm sure you are delighted with the news that the women have won the world cup and the men haven't. Put that in your pipe and smoke it !

  • Comment number 77.

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


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