James Vince is stylish. We don’t generally trust that in a batsman and the feeling has been compounded by a nameless county bowler who recently told the Guardian’s Mike Selvey: “He likes to look good.”
Despite this, it is technically possible that we could warm to a player likely to flick Mark Nicholas’s Ron Manager switch, causing the oleaginous commentator to purr about aesthetics before descending into an unchecked nostalgic reverie about dreamy cover drivers of yesteryear. Countless batsmen have managed to marry style with substance. Vince could be one of them.
He has The Rule on his side, for one thing. He’s playing for England, so we can’t help but want him to do well. He also did good things the only time we’ve ever seen much of him, which, somewhat unhelpfully, was in a Twenty20 series against Pakistan in the UAE.
His record is solid. People who watch more county cricket than we do say nice things about him – but then they often do about young, stylish batsmen. Domestic cricket can, at times, become something of a who-saw-a-future-England-player-first-and-championed-his-cause-the-most competition. The meaningful test – a Test – comes on Thursday. Good luck to him.