Friday, 4 April 2008

The Young Pretenders 2008

We continue our brief look at the top eleven up and coming talented youngsters who will be on display in county cricket over the English summer. The qualifiers are all under the age of 23 and are looking to establish themselves in their respective county sides this season.

Liam Dawson (18) – Hampshire – Slow Left Arm Spin Bowler

Now Hampshire’s premier spin bowler following the departures of veterans Shane Warne and Shaun Udal, Dawson has some big boots to fill. It will be interesting to see if the Rose Bowl pitches will favour spin bowling quite as much now that Warne has gone. Only Greg Lamb provides real competition to Dawson, although he is more of an allrounder, rather than a specialist bowler. Dawson hasn’t taken a wicket for the Hawks yet, but that is sure to change this year. An able batsman, capable of batting reliably at number eight, or possibly higher, he is also a decent fielder, who has been well capped at U19 level.

Mark Stoneman (20) – Durham – Left Hand Opening Batsman

Stoneman made his breakthrough into the Durham first team last year, scoring one hundred and a fifty in the eight first class matches which he figured in. He is a gritty batsman, slightly in the Boycott mould. Stoneman will need to draw on that grit as he faces a tough fight to force his way into a Durham top order which will boast both Neil McKenzie and Michael Di Venuto during the first part of the season. Thereafter, McKenzie will be replaced by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, which should free an opening slot for Stoneman, who will be eager to take it.

Chris Jordan (19) – Surrey – Right Arm Fast-Medium Bowler

Jordan has the potential to make the biggest impact of all these young guns this season. He was swept into the Surrey first team at the back end of last season and helped them to safety with some simply stunning performances for a player of his years. Jordan was first spotted playing at home in Barbados and was instantly recognised as a player of great promise. He already bowls in the late 80’s and he is yet another young bowler who can bat. In fact, he has enough talent with the bat to become a genuine allrounder in the not too distant future, though his bowling alone would get him into most sides. He is qualified for England, but it is believed that he favours his native Windies. Either way, this young quick is on the way up and Surrey will certainly benefit this year, but how many more years will this young wonderkid be around for? If he keeps up his current average of 24.50 and strike rate of 41.70, not long!

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