On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, host Yas Rana was joined by Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker and Wisden.com managing editor Ben Gardner.
The panel discussed where James Vince now stands in England’s ODI set-up after scores of 25, 16 and 16 in the 2-1 series win over Ireland.
Yas Rana: Phil, is that the last time we’ll see James Vince play an ODI?
Phil Walker: It looks like it might be the end, in part because the public seems to want it to be in the end. There doesn’t seem to be an enormous amount of support for him out there.
YR: He averages 23 from 16 ODIs.
PW: I would also argue that 16 ODIs is a pretty small sample size spread out over, what, four years? His one-day record for Hampshire is outstanding. His T20 record around the world is pretty good – he did well in the Big Bash when he was out there. He has more respect around the game outside of England than he does in England. There are some good judges in Australia who have a lot of time for him as a player. For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened for him with England.
He does what we kind of anticipate he’s going to do. It must be infuriating for him because he will hear the voices himself, possibly even when he’s out there. He leans on that front foot and it’s the blessing and the curse cover-drive, and we’re anticipating what’s coming and I wonder if he is also anticipating what’s coming. We’ve seen it with a lot of cricketers in the past; when they play for their clubs, they walk out, they feel a bit taller, they feel at more ease, are more comfortable in their own skin. They are among friends, supporters and admirers. James Vince is possibly the best county one-day batsman out there if you take out the top echelon of England players. He’s certainly right up there. But he’s going out and playing in front of people who love him. He’s going out to play for England in front of people who are kind of willing him to fail in order to confirm their own idea, their own perception.
YR: Are they? I feel like a lot of England fans want to see him do well because he’s so good to watch.
PW: Well I haven’t got that sense, but you’re maybe closer to the ebbs and flows of the Twittersphere and all the rest of it than I am. I would have absolutely loved to have seen him make a score of note in this Ireland series. If he had made a 70 or an 80, or even a hundred, that wouldn’t have proved anything. So if that hasn’t proved anything, why is nicking two or three times proving the negative? If I was personally involved and if Joe Root is still not going to feature in the ODIs later in the summer because of the Test matches and the craziness of the schedule, personally I would bat him at three. I want to know for sure, I want to eliminate the Vince enigma forever. But I sense that I’m probably in the minority. I don’t think it damages England’s options down the line to play him in another three-match series down the line. It would be a shame to see a talent such as his wither away with a shrug because he’s a more intriguing cricketer than that.
Ben Gardner: It’s just that England find themselves in a sort of similar position to when Australia had all those batsmen, and they could afford to try the next one pretty quickly. We talked on an earlier podcast about Michael Bevan, who had a first-class average of 58 , one of the best one-day players of all time and played handful of Tests and Australia decided he wasn’t good enough. It wouldn’t be overly harsh to conclude that of James Vince at this stage especially considering the calibre of opposition he’s played against.
YR: He’s played very few of his 16 ODIs against the top teams in the world.
BG: Later in the summer, if some more of those Test players do come back into the fold, if it comes to a choice between Tom Banton and James Vince, I think England would be right to go with Tom Banton at that No.3 slot rather than James Vince, as someone who possibly has a bit more in front of him.
I would also be sad to see it [Vince left out]. I really like watching him bat and I also don’t think that if it is the end for him in one-day cricket there isn’t a way back in Test cricket, perhaps. You get the hint that Ed Smith isn’t hugely keen. His first decision was to axe James Vince after he got a 70  in his last England innings.
PW: As long as Ed Smith is the chairman of selectors, James Vince isn’t playing Test cricket.
YR: Part of the reason Vince might struggle to play another ODI is, not just the opposition he’s played, but the opposition he’s got within the England squad and out of it. The strength in depth of England’s ODI set-up is insane. Some brilliant players didn’t even get a go in this series when a lot of the guys were in the Test squad. You want to see Sam Hain have a go. Liam Livingstone’s never played an ODI!