This article originally began: “Another year, another batch of middling cricketers, one of whom will get picked in some sort of performance squad giving us a very flimsy sense of having been right about something at least once in our life.”
What prescience. Yesterday Rikki Clarke was included in a 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy. This will undoubtedly be the high point for this year’s ‘ones to watch’.
- Qualified to play for England
- No established internationals
- Playing in the first division of the County Championship
From last year’s batch, Nick Compton’s raised himself above eligibility, while the three Lancashire players contributed sufficiently little that the entire team has now been taken out of the equation.
Steven Davies, Surrey
Yeah, why not. Let’s stick with him.
Ben Stokes, Durham
Same. He took wickets last year.
Rikki Clarke, Warwickshire
Count Cricket seemed to mention him most weeks and we’ve watched him before (we’re always ahead of the curve with these things). One major plus point is that with his distinctive looks, he’s easy to spot, which makes life easier for everyone.
James Hildreth, Somerset
One to watch in 2011 after we foolishly spurned him in favour of Joe Denly the year before on the grounds that Denly’s nickname is ‘No Pants’. We dropped Hildreth last year, even though he’d done okay and he promptly did slightly better. A return to being watched should do for any international ambitions he might have for the foreseeable future.
Adam Lyth, Yorkshire
Averaged 26 when Yorkshire got relegated. Averaged 53 when they got promoted again. Has he improved or is the second division just dead easy? It’s the latter, but let’s watch him anyway. We still think he’s good.
Keith Barker, Warwickshire
Haven’t thought about this one much, but it’s best not to scrutinise these things.