It’s the time of year when we write about Sam Northeast

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Sam Northeast finished last season with 166 not out. He started this one with 335 not out. It wasn’t his highest score for Glamorgan. In 2022, he made 410 not out.

These are hugely impressive feats; the kinds of feats that get you talked about as a possible England batter. However, if there’s one thing we know about Sam Northeast, it’s that his ‘thing’ is forever being mentioned as a possible England batter but never actually getting picked.

This is, arguably, an even more impressive feat than making an unbeaten 166, 335 or 410. Because Northeast is 34. Just think of some of the middle-order bats who England have been picked ahead of him while he’s been in his prime.

Actually… you know what? It’s a lot fewer than you think. After Ollie Pope debuted in 2018, England mostly just cycled through the same familiar faces until Harry Brook in 2022.

Joe Denly combined rarely-that-highs with not-especially-lows for a while there. Dan Lawrence has stepped in for the odd game. But that’s been it for new middle-order arrivals.

Has Northeast played a part in this? The art of maintaining a very high volume of ‘possible England batter’ references without ever actually becoming one involves never quite becoming flavour of the month. This is not an area where you could criticise Brook, say – given a window of opportunity, the Yorkshireman put himself forward as being very obviously worthy of promotion to the main menu.

If Northeast has ever been flavour of the month, it’s been in April, which is a pretty terrible time to choose because it gives you plenty of time to drop out of favour again before the next England squad is selected. We’re struck that we previously wrote about him in both April 2018 and April 2019 (and now again today).

On one of those previous occasions, we floated opposing perceptions of Northeast: that he was either at some sort of sweet spot of youth and experience, or that he was neither here nor there. The latter view apparently muscled the former aside to the extent that even a subsequent quadruple hundred (in July) didn’t make much of an impact.

Still, another season beckons, age is just a number – and if you can consistently score 301 runs more than it, you’ll be quite hard to ignore.

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  1. I wonder whether 335* is the highest individual first class score in an innings that WASN’T the highest team innings score of the match?

    Shove it (the Kookaburra) up yer arse. Middlesex is the best cricket team in the whole world.

    1. Shoving the Kookaburra up your arse versus shoving the Dukes up your arse: the next King Cricket feature article.

  2. I had a few goes at trying to get the AI Robot Overlords to do a Ridiculous Ashes song – none of them came out quite right, partly because of the Robot Overlords struggling with the pronunciation of various cricket grounds/names of cricketers, and mainly because of my own lack of skill.

    Nevertheless, a couple were less bad than others so I thought I’d share – Dropbox link here (including the slightly-extended County Championship Song – ‘Time’s Ever Changing Game’). I don’t have a commercial license so try not to sign any deals with the IPL for them to be the music that’s played during awards ceremonies, etc etc.

  3. Well according to the BBC he’s 46th in the Div 2 batting rankings, averaging 0.0. Never going to get picked for ENG based on those stats.

    1. Yup, Ryan Higgins had the good sense to be dismissed for 221 and therefore top the averages. Surely a more suitable candidate for an England place, given that Higgins has further demonstrated good sense by playing for Middlesex.

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