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Reasons to be Cheerful: England’s next Cricketing Generation

Posted on | October 18, 2017 | No Comments

There’s a lot of negativity around England’s cricket squad right now amidst the fall out surrounding the Ben Stokes affair and questions whether the Durham all rounder will make this year’s Ashes series.

While Stokes dominates the headlines, English fans are also targeting the selectors and a squad for Australia that contained a few surprises, the most controversial of which was the inclusion of Gary Ballance who has endured a wretched run of form for the last three years at international level.

Young Guns

Australia would have started the Ashes as clear favourites but the potential crisis facing the tourists has seen their price shorten even further. Steve Smith’s men can be picked up at around 1/2 to reclaim the Urn while holders England have drifted to 3/1.

At that price, you may be better to save your own money and look for free bonus bets from around the sportsbooks but if it is set to be a dismal winter for England, the future is much brighter than the headline writers might lead us to believe. Here are some outstanding young cricketers who are set to be brought in to the international set up, possibly as early as 2018.

Dan Lawrence

Those with more than a passing interest in cricket will be aware that Essex’s Dan Lawrence has been around for some time now. He made his first class debut for the county against Kent back in 2017 but as he prepares to join up with the England Lions in Australia, he is still just 20 years of age. Inevitable similarities have been made with Alastair Cook and he certainly has the same temperament and patience as his Essex colleague.

The youngster has made seven centuries in three seasons with a best of 161 and an average approaching 43.00. 2017 ended with the Cricket Writers’ Club award for young player of the year and, as a member of the side that will be shadowing the senior squad Down Under, there are even suggestions that Dan Lawrence could be promoted to the full England set up at some stage during this Ashes tour.

Tom Helm

Mark Wood’s issues with injury see the Durham paceman drop down to the Lions squad this winter but he could find competition from Middlesex quick Tom Helm. At 23, Helm has taken some time to establish himself with his county and injuries have played their part in halting his progress since making a first class debut back in 2013.
Blessed with genuine pace and bounce, Helm now averages 31.00 with the ball at a strike rate of 55.10 and those are stats that have improved considerably in the last twelve months. He may have to work on his batting however in an England set up that looks for its players to contribute in all areas.

Paul Coughlin

A winter move from struggling Durham to newly promoted Nottinghamshire was met with dismay by his former county but in the current climate, a player of Paul Coughlin’s promise really needs to be playing division one cricket.
He’ll be 25 by the time that the Lions squad heads for Australia and that’s an age where any player really needs to get to the front of selectors’ thoughts. Coughlin was Durham’s T20 skipper in 2017 and is thought of in some quarters as a one-day specialist. He should get plenty of opportunities to answer those accusations next season at his new club with Notts losing several key batsmen during 2017 for various reasons. Coughlin will have a key role in red ball cricket at Trent Bridge and we will then know if he can make a contribution at test level.

Matt Parkinson

England have an abundance of young leg spinners right now and at 20 years old, Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson is the same age as Mason Crane who is already in the full England set up. As such, he may face a battle to make a breakthrough but there is something about Parkinson that makes him stand out from the crop.

Firstly, he gives it a ‘real rip’, imparting more spin on the ball and getting more turn than most of his peers, even on unhelpful surfaces. There’s a hint of aggression too and some good stats behind him, including a five wicket haul on debut that made him the youngest Lancashire batter to achieve this particular milestone.

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