Shall we keep an eye on George Garton or what?

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It’s probably social media that’s sapped our taste for talent-spotting. The online world is awash with people predicting great things for players. They’re usually wrong but we know as well as anyone that it’s a numbers game: predict great things for absolutely everyone and then flag up only your ‘hits’ come 2024.

We tipped Shakib-al-Hasan for greatness in 2006 at a time when Cricinfo thought he was a medium-pacer. But then we also tipped Andy Solomons for greatness around the same time and that didn’t really pan out, did it?

For every Shakib, there’s a Solomons. For every Adil Rashid, there’s a Dheeraj Jadhav.

Our county cricket Ones to Watch are even more fun to revisit…

  • Graeme Swann and Matt Prior in 2006. And also Sajid Mahmood and Bilal Shafayat
  • Stuart Broad and Adil Rashid in 2007. And also Tom Smith and James Benning
  • Tim Bresnan, Nick Compton, Joe Denly, Steven Finn and Liam Plunkett in 2008 (make of that what you will)
  • Mark Davies, Steven Davies and Paul Horton in 2009
  • Phil Mustard in 2010
  • Ben Stokes in 2011 and 2012 and 2013
  • Usman Arshad in 2014 and also Adil Rashid who you may have spotted was in there pretty much every year

And that’s where we left it because can you honestly conclude anything from the above other than that a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day?

And so to George Garton, who is already ‘known’ but hadn’t actually done anything of any real significance until this week.

Garton was temporarily drafted into England’s Ashes squad in 2017 after nine first-class games and nothing better than a three-for to his name. He was quick though and wrong-handed – a combination that tends to get people’s attention.

“I managed to get it down there and let them sniff a few,” he said about a stint bowling in the Victoria nets at the MCG, which probably says something about how he approaches his work.

This week he finally took a five-for in his 16th first-class match. Then he took a four-for in the second dig.

It was a low-scoring game and Sussex lost, but he got Alastair Cook twice and looked zesty.

The scorecard tells us he’s unafraid to go for a few in pursuit of wickets.

Footage tells us two more things:

  1. He doesn’t hold back
  2. Commentators should avoid saying “bowls” every time a bowler bowls if their words are likely to make it into a highlights montage

So we’ll keep an eye on him.

We’re not making any grand claims about what he might achieve. We’re just passively watching. The raw ingredients are noteworthy. We’re intrigued.


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    1. Deja vu here, but do you need to say ‘bowls’ on the radio?

      Couldn’t the commentator say ‘runs in’ and then leave a beat, for example?

  1. Three things.

    I think bar the odd exception thats a pretty good ‘ones to watch’ record there KC. 11 of them (i think) played for England. 2008 was a strong year for your tipping.

    I think the ‘bowls’ is important on radio but clearly not on TV… Maybe thats just because most of the TMS commentators in the 90’s used to do it but I think it also usually precedes a description of the ball which i like. One of the things that annoyed me about the talk sport commentary (and sometimes the Guerilla Cricket boys and girls who i listen to most now) is that it tends to be a ‘runs in…. and thats smacked over extra cover for four’ so you don’t know anything about the line, length type of shot. All of which the best commentators i think get in to some degree. i.e. ‘runs in.. bowls, full ball off stump and driven for four…’

    Cannot now remember what the third thing was. Too much time spent on the ‘bowls…’ bit.

    1. But the ‘bowls’ part is completely redundant. They could say, “runs in, short and wide, cut away,” or, “Garton, full but too straight, clipped away” – those are the meaningful bits. ‘Bowls’ is just saying something for the sake of saying something.

      1. “Comes in, bowls, and this one goes outside the offstump and through to the keeper,” is what radio cricket commentary is all about, for me. I find it a bit taxing when they, for example on the South African guerilla cricket, describe what the bowling actually looks like.

  2. The BWT is working so well I’m worried they’ll replace the Championship with it next year too!

    Shame the final is only between the two highest group winners, and there isn’t a playoff for the 2nd and 3rd group winners to decide who plays the top group winner in the final. Or that while that’s going on, the lower teams can’t play inter-group matches to settle the final combined ordering.

      1. People on the internet are calling it ‘The Bob’. For this reason it should be abolished immediately and never spoken of again.

  3. As someone who tipped Shakib, Virat Kohli and Beau Casson for greatness back in 2008/9 or so, I wholeheartedly agree with the opening paragraph.

  4. There’s a downside to not having two county divisions this year and being able to ignore the second one. There are just too many things and people to be keeping an eye on. I’ve only got two eyes and I’d like them back inside my cranium thank you very much. I’m not even sure Mr Garton wants to be carrying all these eyes around on the top of his head anyway.

    1. Having reconsulted my picture, turns out I have five eyes on the top of my head, apparently not enclosed in a cranial orbit. Turns out Mr Garton can have one of my eyes on him after all.

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