Today marks the first day of the new County Championship season and with it a chance for numerous players to impress the England selectors. With Middlesex and Somerset sitting it out until next week, let’s have a look at the most exciting prospects taking part in this week’s Division 1 fixtures:
Haseeb Hameed – Lancashire
Goes without saying really. He should start England’s first test of the summer as Alastair Cook’s opening partner but it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the early fixtures now that there will be a lot more pressure and scrutiny on his performances.
Liam Livingstone – Lancashire
Due in at number 3 for Lancashire today, Livingstone has had an impressive start to his First-class career and also played well for the England Lions over the winter. With England’s middle-order batting talent reserve looking a little threadbare at the moment, Livingstone might just be able to force himself into consideration with some big scores early on in the season.
Sam Hain – Warwickshire
Another middle-order batting prospect. Hain lost his way a little in the County Championship last year but gained favourable comparisons with teammate Jonathan Trott, thanks to some impressive performances during Warwickshire’s victorious Royal London One-Day Cup campaign. One of a number of batsmen with a realistic chance to push themselves into the thoughts of the England selectors.
Tom Curran – Surrey
Tom and younger brother Sam form part of a formidable looking seam-bowling attack for Surrey. England have plenty of pace bowlers in reserve at the moment – and the Curran’s may find themselves in a sibling rivalry with the Overton twins of Somerset – but it’s always good to find new pace bowling options. Elder brother Tom is only 22 but has already turned in some good performances for the Lions and should have plenty of opportunities to impress the selectors this season.
Ben Foakes – Surrey
England have no shortage of wicket-keeping options at the moment but Ben Foakes is certainly someone to keep an eye on. An excellent glove-man recently described by Alec Stewart as “the best wicketkeeper in the world”. High praise indeed and with some good batting performances early on this season he might just find himself in the England team, allowing Jonny Bairstow to play as a specialist batsman. Breaking into an England side already boasting the rhyming duo Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes may also just send commentators into meltdown….
Scott Borthwick – Surrey
After his move from Durham, playing regularly at the Oval might just give him the opportunity to show what he can do on pitches more suited to scoring big runs than those up at Chester-le-street. With a good run of form he could again find himself in the reckoning for England honours.