The County Championship gets underway in a week’s time, and in preparation for its return we’ve picked out some young players – all under the age of 23 – to keep a close eye on.
Tom Lammonby – Somerset
Lammonby was the breakout star of the Bob Willis Trophy last year, opening the batting for Somerset and hitting three hundreds in three consecutive games. They were knocks of importance, too: his century against Worcestershire took Somerset to the Lord’s final and there he reached three figures again in a declaration-chasing third innings against a fine Essex attack. While he was granted few opportunities to bowl his left-arm medium-pace last year, he does see himself as an all-rounder.
Jordan Cox – Kent
Cox came to prominence in 2020 during a record-breaking partnership with Jack Leaning against Sussex. The pair put on an unbeaten 423, the highest stand in Kent’s history, with Cox turning his first century in professional cricket into a double. Opening the batting for his side, he failed to cross fifty elsewhere during the Bob Willis Trophy but has been tipped for higher honours – “If he keeps focused, and working hard, we could see him playing for England in the not too distant future,” Kent head coach Matt Walker told Wisden Cricket Monthly at the end of last summer.
Harry Brook – Yorkshire
Formerly an England Under-19s captain, Brook came to prominence in 2018 with a knock of 124 in a star-studded match against Essex that featured the likes of Joe Root, Cheteshwar Pujara, Jonny Bairstow and Alastair Cook. The teenaged Brook trumped them all with his 187-ball innings at No.3 but ended up averaging just 25 that year in first-class cricket from 12 matches and then 21.76 from 11 matches the following year. But more consistency was found in the Bob Willis Trophy, with three half-centuries in seven innings leading to an average of 43. Whether that carries through into a longer season remains to be seen.
Amar Virdi – Surrey
One of the brightest spin prospects in the country, Virdi’s first-class record is highly impressive for a 22-year-old off-break bowler in England: in 28 matches he has taken 91 wickets at 28.08 and played a key role when Surrey won the County Championship back in 2018. He was the side’s leading wicket-taker in the Bob Willis Trophy last year and operated effectively in a spin duo with up-and-coming left-armer Dan Moriarty in a couple of matches too.
Jack Carson – Sussex
Another talented off-spinner, Carson hails from Northern Ireland and made his professional debut for Sussex last year. He impressed immediately with five wickets on debut against Hampshire and ended the Bob Willis Trophy as the county’s leading wicket-taker. Speaking to Wisden.com earlier this month, Carson came in for praise from Essex’s star off-spinner Simon Harmer. “As a spinner you can either turn the ball or you can’t,” Harmer said. “And he’s got what you need.”
Henry Brookes – Warwickshire
A paceman who has earned high praise from the likes of Ashley Giles and Ian Bell, Brookes was in England’s white-ball training group last summer and it’s in T20 cricket where he’s impressed more recently, shown by Birmingham Phoenix retaining him for this year’s Hundred. But he has shown ability with the red-ball too, taking 21 wickets at an average of 22.34 when Warwickshire earned promotion from Division Two back in 2018.
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