With England’s T20 World Cup campaign now just a matter of months away, we look at five batters who could advance their case for selection during The Hundred.
England’s white-ball batting line-up has previously been an unimpeachable force, a mass of talented players forced to wait in the wings as the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow have piled on the runs. However, with Roy in particular out of form and England failing to win any of their four home white-ball series this summer, there seems a genuine opportunity for batters on the outside to force their way in.
Below are five players who could look to to push their case for England selection during the Hundred.
Phil Salt – Manchester Originals
The obvious next-cab-off-the-rank if England decide to move on from Roy, any sort of solid competition for Salt combined with a poor outing for Roy could see England make a swap at the top of the order. Salt will be opening for Manchester Originals alongside England skipper Jos Buttler, meaning he doesn’t have a better stage from which to impress.
Salt has played four T20Is for England with a high score of 57 along with three single figure scores, though he is yet to open the batting in the shortest format for England.
Ben Duckett – Welsh Fire
Duckett is arguably one of England’s finest all-format batters in the game at the moment. Averaging north of 70 in the County Championship whilst having a strike-rate of 160.32 in the T20 Blast, this tournament represents an opportunity for Duckett to further prove his worth on a high-profile stage. Last season he was the second top run scorer in the competition.
Will Smeed – Birmingham Phoenix
At only 20 years of age, Smeed has already had more ‘breakthrough’ moments than most people can count in a career. Whether it was scoring 82 off 49 balls in only his second professional game for Somerset, his 36 off 13 on debut in The Hundred last year, a 99 in the Pakistan Super League or scoring 90 off 56 balls for England Lions against South Africa. Smeed’s headline innings are fast becoming his rule rather than his exception and a continuation of such form could see him bolt his way into the England squad.
James Vince – Southern Brave
Vince’s domestic record continues to go from strength to strength. In this year’s T20 Blast he was named player of the tournament as he topped the run scoring charts as well as leading Hampshire to victory. This followed on from The Hundred last year where he also captained Southern Brave to victory as well as being the third leading run scorer in the competition. A third all-conquering campaign in a row could make the south-coast legend impossible to ignore.
Harry Brook – Northern Superchargers
Brook, alongside Salt, was singled out by white-ball coach Matthew Mott and challenged to use The Hundred as an opportunity to press their case and force him to make hard selection decisions. Last year’s competition announced Brook to a wider audience as he impressed for the Northern Superchargers and he has only gone from strength-to-strength since, making his T20I debut in January after impressing in the PSL where he scored a fantastic century for Lahore Qalandars.
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