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The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017 at 12:35 PM
Dewsburian  (Login Dewsburian)

 
On the "Rashid" thread (which I must confess I re-read this morning as I don't quite know what to think about it all now), I responded to a question about Mason Crane and why he would most likely be on the plane to Australia. My answer was that he is regarded as "the next big thing" and that this pursuit of the youthful mystery spinner has been the dominant England approach since at least the days of Richard Dawson and Chris Schofield (and more recently in the days of Simon Kerrigan and Danny Briggs), but it hasn't been noticeably successful.
The old orthodoxy is quite well expressed by Alec Bedser (or his ghostwriter), who in 1952 wrote: "Because of this necessity for more accuracy, which can only come from long practice and experience, it will be found that slow bowlers, especially in English cricket, usually come to prominence later in life. J. C. White, T. W Goddard, C. Parker and Hedley Verity, to name just a few of the really great slow bowlers, did not gain real recognition until they were approaching thirty years of age." (Bowling, p. 42).
The best of the recent England spinners, Swann, wasn't really a regular member of the team until the age of around 28-29, though he had been involved in the England set-up at a much younger age. It seems that if you aren't somewhere in the mix at an early stage, it's very difficult to break through in later life. Hence Gareth Batty seems to get the occasional "recall" every five years or so, whereas a player like Gary Keedy, who I always thought was a more menacing bowler, never got a look-in. Where there have occasionally been exceptions to this "rule" - e.g. Shaun Udal - I don't think the results were bad, but the rule seems to have remained in place.
Selection's a highly selective matter, but where the whole set-up is geared to a particular pattern - especially when it's a pattern that isn't based on historical evidence - the chances are it will grind down and demoralize talented people who might have quite a lot to contribute. It seems, for example, that Jack Leach at 26 no longer interests the selectors, whereas there's apparently some excitement about his younger colleague Dom Bess who has just turned 20. I hope I'm wrong, but my suspicion is that the "next big thing" pattern seems set to perpetuate itself without bringing any great success.

 
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Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 1:01 PM 

"Selection's a highly selective matter..." Indeed, Dewsburian, though you probably meant "subjective".

What you say is completely true, a continuing cycle of failure without any sign that they are learning from past mistakes. Of course, you have to admit to a mistake before you can learn from it.

The failure of Moeen Ali to close out the Headingley Test when all was in his favour has again highlighted our spin problems. I read somewhere (which doesn't make it true) that the bald, bespectacled, slightly stooped Leach also has a problem under pressure. My own observation is that he's the best we've got, ahead of Lancashire's Parry, and both miles ahead of Dawson.

Of the leg-spinners, it's take your pick between the known and perhaps not quite good enough Rashid and the potential of Crane.

I was hugely impressed by the off-spinner Bess, who looks 20 going on 40 in the unhurried, methodical way he goes about his business. Don't laugh, but the name Ray Illingworth popped unbidden into my head.

 
 
Dewsburian
(Login Dewsburian)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 1:21 PM 

Now you've pointed it out, I quite like "selection's a highly selective matter". I think I may just contribute in entirely incontrovertible tautologies in future.

I saw Bess at Wormsley in an U-19 one-dayer last year and he was quite impressive. If I'm scrupulously honest, the spinner I've been most impressed by in recent seasons is Ravi Patel of Middlesex. I first saw him at New Road (I think) and probably had a "next big thing" moment of my own. His progress seems to have stalled at the moment, as they say, but he got big turn on an unhelpful track when, if I remember rightly, Roland-Jones snaffled several wickets at the other end. With Leach and Bess, Somerset may be going down the "turning wicket" route, but the problem for most of the others is how they get the experience Bedser writes about. If they don't, then presumably England go through one young spinner after another until all the ugly ducklings are gone and one of them eventually comes back as a Swann.

 
 
garywilson
(Login garywilson2)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 1:21 PM 

It seems increasingly likely we will never know if Rashid would have made it as a test bowler . His success in the England OD side means he plays so little FC cricket he has few opportunities to shine with the red ball .

I repeat what i wrote on another thread . If England / Root really wanted him on the plane they would have left him out of the Windies games and let him play in our last 3 matches . Carefully explaining to him and the rest of the world the thinking behind said ommision.

Of course it may well depend on what the player himself wants and where he feels his future lies .

 
 
Stu
(Login StuartRA)
Assistant Moderator

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 1:24 PM 

Talking about leg spinners, Parkinson from Lancashire has impressed me when I have seen him play, but that was only in T20 matches.

 
 
Seadog73
(Login Seadog73)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 1:34 PM 

I have a Lancashire supporting mate (sorry) and he also rates Parkinson highly. Lancs do have plenty of spin options.

 
 
Dewsburian
(Login Dewsburian)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 1:46 PM 

I know Joe Root clearly had an influence in the decision to pick Gary Ballance as a batsman, but does he have the same influence over the selection of spinners? Isn't it likely that Saqlain has a big input? I am, as they say, just asking.

 
 

Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 2:07 PM 

Picking up on Dewsburian's point about how subjective selection can be, I have seen Parkinson twice this summer, live, and he bowled utter dross at Scarborough when Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson smashed him all over the park. He was so bad it was embarrassing.

I saw him bowl better at Todmorden against Durham 2s, though he was still a mile away from being good. I also saw the televised T20 games in which he starred, and he also seemed to relish the crowds and the pressure.

So there's a good bowler in there somewhere. Let's hope we see more of it, for the good of cricket. We can't have too many good players, though I'd settle for Surrey having 11 poor ones tomorrow. That's because I want to watch good players next season, too.

 
 
Guest
(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 7:00 PM 

It's not a recent thing either. Not sure how old Titmus, Pocock and Hemmings were when recalled by England for a swansong but well past their best but the lack of younger options persuaded the selectors to revert to the oldies.

But any spinner who comes into the county game is always lauded as soon as he gets a five-fer. Swann is a good example of someone who only got better after a few set backs but his personality saw him through. Others like Rafiq were nearly lost but have come back after a hiccough. Could Panesar do the same? Probably not as he is more fragile.

The ones we talk about now will all have periods when they struggle. Briggs has already and the same will happen to Bess and Crane but I hope some have the personality and determination to keep goibg

 
 
YorkTyke
(Login YorkTyke)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 7:38 PM 

The Verdict on Sky yesterday had a selection panel comprising Gower, Atherton, Botham, Hussain and Warne picking the England party to tour Australia this winter. When it came to picking a second spinner both Atherton and Hussein were sceptical about picking Crane as it would be purely on potential rather than on what he has actually shown as his figures are nothing startling. Atherton reckons that potential is a poor reason for picking someone. Both of them couldn't see what Rashid had done wrong given his record for England last winter to seemingly drop out of contention and would have taken him.

Warne would take Crane because he reckoned you need a bit of "mystery" as a spinner in Australia and he reckoned that as Root has seen Rashid at close quarters for both Yorkshire and England there must be some deficiency about him which the England management have seen which the general cricket watcher is not privy to.

Botham would have taken Leach.

A lot of the national newspaper cricket writers seem to "big up" Crane because they say he has some form of "x-factor" - whatever that is.

 
 
Geoff B
(Login Coastalview)

Confidence

September 11 2017, 9:12 PM 

On the few occasions I have seen Mason Crane bowl the one thing I have noticed is that he certainly doesn't seem to lack confidence in his own ability.

Confidence of course can be misplaced, but I think it's essential for a spin bowler in Test match cricket who is expected to bowl quite a number of overs in both innings, even when conditions may not be spin friendly.

Swann had it, Moeen certainly doesn't and Rashid seems to have found it, but only in white ball cricket.

 
 
Gary Wilson
(Login garywilson2)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 9:17 PM 

Surely Root has seen that quite simply at the moment Rashid bowls far too many bad balls and on good wickets in test cricket is liable to get slaughtered. In county cricket he is good enough to mop up the tail -"Henry the hoover " as Andrew Gale called him . But he is never " Adil the hurricane " who devastates a team with 6/20 or similar and he can't tie down good batsmen. If he had the chance to play more red ball cricket he may prove the sceptics wrong but how can he go to Australia on current form.


    
This message has been edited by garywilson2 on Sep 11, 2017 9:26 PM


 
 
Guest
(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 9:36 PM 

So Warne likes Crane who plays for his former county and Botham likes Leach who does likewise. Just surprised Hussain doesn't like Essex spinners except they have Kolpaks blocking their path.

The other thing that normally comes into play is the need for three dimensional cricketers and Adil is a better bat than any of the others mentioned in the same breath.

 
 
Dewsburian
(Login Dewsburian)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 11:04 PM 

This is a slight digression but I don't know how many people have heard Graeme Swann talk about off-spin bowling. The point he's made every time I've heard him (not at second team matches you'll be pleased to know) is that the English coaching book is completely wrong about the spinner's grip. According to Swann, if you hold the ball the way English coaches tell you you should, then you don't give yourself the best chance of getting turn. I must have heard him say this at least three times on TMS. It would be interesting to know if anyone in authority has pursued the matter with him.

 
 
Martin
(Login Martinh00)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 11 2017, 11:25 PM 

Appreciate that Root may not trust Rashid to bowl tidily but worth remembering that until this summer Moeen had a similar economy rate. Fact is that Rash had only played test cricket against the best players of spin in their own back yard. He's shown that he enjoys Australian conditions albeit in the big bash so it would seem a bit unfortunate if he's overlooked

 
 
garywilson
(Login garywilson2)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 12 2017, 6:06 AM 

At the start of the season one would have thought that he was almost a certainty to be on the Ashes plane but fixtures/fate/form have conspired otherwise .

I will repeat again , if they had wanted him on the tour he would have been finding red ball form playing for Yorkshire until the end of the season .

 
 
Guest
(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 12 2017, 8:09 AM 

Agree with the post above re where rashid has been played overseas although Dubai and Abu Dhabi are of course not pakistans own back yard although I see the world team is touring Pakistan soon which hopefully will pass by without incident

 
 
Dewsburian
(Login Dewsburian)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 12 2017, 4:09 PM 

"I will repeat again , if they had wanted him on the tour he would have been finding red ball form playing for Yorkshire until the end of the season."
I think your logic's unimpeachable here, but it may be that Team England's logic is: let's give him some ODIs and, if he does well, we'll take him to Australia. After all, Dawid Malan is only the latest in a long line of players chosen after a one-day performance.

 
 
Alibor
(Login Alibor2)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 12 2017, 6:00 PM 

The converse argument would say, why risk including Crane for Australia when he has nil test match experience and could be taken apart by players like Warner and Smith. Maybe Samit Patel is the safest choice as back up to Moeen rather than a leggie?

 
 
Guest
(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: The Next Big Thing

September 12 2017, 6:54 PM 

I agree on form Samit is unlucky to not be considered but it's his own fault due to his basic lack of fitness.


 
 
 
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