Please find my original article entitled ‘Six to Watch’ by clicking the link below…
Here’s an early season follow-up on the players that were identified in that piece.
Jofra Archer, 22, Sussex, All-Rounder
If Archer is eligible to represent England now, then he could be an outside bet for an Ashes trip though he hasn’t graced the Lions squad yet and provided England’s penchant to have a look first, it might be that he has to settle for England’s bench squad for the time being.
Archer has 18 CC wickets at 24.56 including two five-wicket hauls. Couple that with two half-centuries to help him total 223 runs at 55.75 and you’ve got a very destructive all-rounder. After a slightly expensive start there were wickets and runs in the List A competition too and Archer is surely a player that spectators and selectors will be following closely.
Daniel Bell-Drummond, 23, Kent, Right-Handed Opening Batsman
DBD started the First Class campaign with… starts but went on to make back to back hundreds in the Royal London One Day Cup. He then followed up a duck blip with 90 and totalled 443 runs at an average of 63.29 in the competition. His strike rate was a healthy 87.38. That’s good but the very top batsman are striking at 100% as a bare minimum. He’ll look to the England Lions games to press his case and could make the ODI squad this season if England choose to experiment and rotate ahead of an Ashes tour.
Dom Bess, 19, Somerset, Off-Spin Bowler
Bess was nowhere to be seen in the early stages of the county season and had a quiet introduction to the County Championship. He didn’t make the one-day games either but has this afternoon just snapped up a maiden 2017 County Championship victim. Hopefully he can now kick on.*
Jack Burnham, 20, Durham, Right-Handed Middle Order Batsman
With Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick gone to Surrey, it looked as though Durham would be looking to Burnham to pile on the runs. He scored 150 against Durham MCCU in April but followed it up with only 15 and 4 in the opening round of County Championship matches against a strong Nottinghamshire line-up. He doesn’t appear to have played any second XI games so may well be injured. In the meantime the likes of Graham Clark and Cameron Steel have had their chance in the first team and progressed steadily.
Nick Compton, 33, Middlesex, Right-Handed Middle Order Batsman
Injuries and poor form have combined to mean that Compton just hasn’t got going this term. He’s got runs in the second XI including a century and against MCC in Abu Dhabi but hasn’t reached 40 in competitive cricket this season. In truth he’s probably struggling to hold down a spot in the Middlesex first XI at the moment.
Mark Footitt, 31, Surrey, Left-Arm Fast Medium Bowler
Footitt went viral when he kicked off the campaign with 6-14 against Warwickshire. Since then he’s continued to claim victims but has gone at around four an over on occasions. With Test series against South Africa, West Indies and in Australia on the horizon, alongside the quality of Anderson, Broad, Woakes and Stokes, Footitt could be a great weapon to slot into the side for the odd Test from time to time. He’s not in the Surrey line-up for their current match though and constant injury niggles may cost him an international career, as might the ability of fellow left-armers, county teammate Sam Curran and Sussex’s George Garton, both of whom have made the Lions squad though admittedly that squad is specifically for limited overs matches.
For the record, Footitt has 20 County Championship Division One victims in four matches this term at 23.65 apiece but at a leaky 3.77 runs per over.
Here’s Footitt on his way to his 21st First Class five-wicket haul earlier this season, Lancashire the victims.
We’ll catch up with the six later in the campaign to see which players seasons have flourished, which have faltered and which had pressed their case or even reached international honours.
*Bess would actually go on to claim match figures of 10-162 including second innings career best figures of 7-117!