James Vince: first look in Test cricket

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We have a general belief that a player’s first Test appearance is near-worthless in terms of evaluating his quality. It therefore seemed to make perfect sense for us to start documenting players’ debuts. This is the first of those pieces.

We said we had faint misgivings about James Vince ahead of his Test debut. It’s not that we don’t rate him, because we don’t know him. We had however heard that he was stylish and we always think that style is a strong indicator of a poor Test debutant.

Our reasoning is thus: stylish batsmen look good and have to do less to win people over, so all other things being equal they will be worse than shonky-looking batsmen who have to be way more effective to break into the Test team.

Batting-wise, Vince hit two fours and then edged to slip trying to hit a third. It was a shame that he himself wasn’t the fielder, because he also dropped a couple of catches – one of which was pretty straightforward.

So far so rubbish, but Vince’s match was completely salvaged by his magnificent bowling. He didn’t just bowl medium-pace. He bowled an over of medium-pace bouncers, one of which almost took a wicket. Short-pitched medium-pace is such a colossally contrary way of trying to dismiss Test batsmen that we feel sure it will reap great rewards.

On this evidence, James Vince is now our equal-favourite bowler in the world, along with Gary Ballance.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. More importantly, where does he rank on the beard scale?

    Somewhere between Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali, I’d say.

      1. So it goes. Seems that a team full of elderly castoffs isn’t that good actually.

  2. “We have a general belief that a player’s first Test appearance is near-worthless in terms of evaluating his quality.”

    So does Simon Kerrigan.

  3. Are the burghers of Trafford and Macclesfield so busy eating gloops of celebratory throdkin tonight, that they are unable to put in appearances here and gloat in the customary, literary manner?

    1. In the proper spirit of inter-county friendship, I feel I should offer some heartfelt words of commiseration to our worthy opponents today.

      Shove it up your arse, Surrey. He’s the best Zimbabwean medium pace bowler in the world, never mind all the others.

      You dickheads.

      1. Excellent, Bert.

        Commiseration and encouragement in equal measure.

        None of the rest of us can spake.

      2. Meanwhile, Somerset are making hard work of the inevitable draw with Centralintercourse at Lord’s, despite both teams devoting their utmost to continuing their respective runs over the first three days. James Harris has even taken a wicket!

      3. Luckily, it seems that the redoubtable Hildy and Tregs are repelling the fairer sex’s attempts to end both teams’ impressive run of draws. I’m pleased, naturally, but in the still-possible event of a Somerset defeat, I look forward to you instructing me to forcibly insert the third-person singular neuter pronoun into a bodily orifice more typically used for ejection, Ged. I’m sure that as a gentlemen from the Southern shires, you’ll do so in a far more polite, charming and erudite manner than those northern ruffians like Bert there.

      4. In perhaps a final throw of the dice, they have brought on ‘Dial M’ (for) Murtagh, so often the cidermen’s tormentor, along with the Mighty Magoffin.

      5. That last remark of yours shows you in a very bad light, Mike.

        Winter draws on.

  4. Best bowling for losing team in the Championship since 1965:
    9-19 M Ilott Ess v Nhants Luton 1995
    9-36 C Woakes Warks v Dur Birmingham 2016

    1. Top statting.

      Who did so futilely well in 1965 that they needed to be excluded?

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