On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, host Yas Rana was joined by Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine editor Jo Harman and Test Match Special commentator Dan Norcross.
While Jo lamented the exclusion of Essex seamer Jamie Porter, Dan explained his disappointment over the absence of Hampshire batsman Sam Northeast, a long-time prolific county run-scorer who remains uncapped at the age of 30.
Northeast hit 969 County Championship runs at an average of 51 last season and was subsequently called up to England Lions’ squad for their winter tour of Australia, where he racked up scores of 0, 46 not out, 1 and 77 not out across three four-day matches against a Cricket Australia XI, Australia A and a New South Wales XI.
On Northeast’s omission, Dan noted how the former Kent captain may well be heading down the same path of James Hildreth, the veteran Somerset batsman who has 46 first-class hundreds but no England appearances under his belt. “I’m a little bit like how Somerset fans feel about James Hildreth,” Dan said. “I’m really sad for Sam Northeast because he’s a really quality batsman. I don’t know quite know how he can’t get into that [group].
“I’m really delighted for Laurie Evans, I should say. But I’m quite surprised that if you can find space for Laurie – and he deserves a place in that 55 – that there isn’t a place for Sam Northeast. He’s of exceptional quality.
“I think it means he’s never going to get any [international] recognition. In 10 years’ time, when we do a podcast on the best players to never get capped, I fear he’s going to get dispatches along with the likes of James Hildreth.
“I think Sam is a really, really quality batsman. I see a lot of county cricket in my job. When he comes out to bat, he just has more time, he plays delicious shots. He looks like class to me and players don’t always deceive your eye, do they? If you see someone who’s got that time and plays those kinds of shots you think they’ve got something about them.”