Jonathan Agnew will be astounded to hear that Tim Ambrose hit a hundred yesterday, despite not having grown an inch over the winter. He hit 156 not out against Leicestershire.
One of England’s multitude of wicketkeepers needs to make a definitive case for the Test spot. As the current England wicketkeeper, Ambrose is well placed to do that and a hundred like this won’t exactly harm his chances.
But what strikes us is that while they all know that batting is half their job, all of them seem content to bat a fair way down the order. Ambrose bats at six, so does Matt Prior, so does Geraint Jones, so does Chris Read, so does Steven Davies, so does Phil Mustard in first-class cricket, while James Foster bats at seven.
A couple of years back, Paul Collingwood was being dismissed as a bits and pieces cricketer. He saw that he wasn’t going to prove anyone wrong batting in the middle order and asked if he could move up to three. Everyone thought he was mental, but he hit six hundreds that season, which proved he was adept against a newish ball, but also that he was a gosh-darned determined little blighter.
Jon Batty usually opens the batting for Surrey. Good for him. He’s made two huge errors during his career, however. Earlier in his career, he made the mistake of becoming Surrey’s wicketkeeper straight after Alec Stewart. More recently he’s made the mistake of being 34.