Monday, 11 May 2009

England should consider other Yorkshire batting options

There is a former England batsman at Yorkshire who is pushing hard for a Test recall. An astute captain, he is capable of bowling some useful overs and is still thought to have the same batting capabilities that made him an instant hit for England, despite being well into his 30s. This man is not Michael Vaughan, but Anthony McGrath.

Discarded by England after four decent Tests and 14 disappointing one-day internationals, McGrath has rarely been touted for a recall, despite being one of the most consistent batsmen in county cricket.

McGrath exhibited all his best attributes in recording his highest first class score this week (211 against Warwickshire in a match he also scored an unbeaten half century in). Excellent technique, concentration and an ability to dominate were all present in that knock, although his case for a return to the England set-up is not based on just good current form.

The Yorkshire skipper would only be a short-term solution, a scenario which would bring its own pressures. McGrath is vastly experienced and could cope with the demands of a temporary return to the top level. He could be used as England’s number six if the selectors go down that defensive route this summer, as his bowling (111 first class wickets at 34.45) is more than just handy.

Good county form is once again being rewarded by the selectors and McGrath should be near the front of the queue if changes are made. However, a return to international coloured clothing might be more likely. McGrath was the second highest Twenty20 cup runscorer last season, despite Yorkshire’s controversial early exit, and with the selectors going back to the drawing board in this format, an unexpected fresh chance might materialise if he produces another good campaign.

Geoff Miller and co. are keeping a close eye on events at Headingley, but it seems a safe cricket bet that they might soon shift their focus from Vaughan to McGrath if they both maintain current form.


Richard Lake said...

Certainly I'd agree that on current form, McGrath has more of a look in at International level than Vaughan. However, like Ramprakash and Hick before, he never looked comfortable at International level - very much unlike Vaughan who always looked happiest on the big stage. His test averages (40+ with bat, 14 with ball) flatter him, being built largely on an early season series against Zimbabwe.

Mags has had a good start to the season, but his form last time round was distinctly patchy. At 33, his time has passed.

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