Luke Wright bashing has become one of the UK’s most popular pastimes in recent summers. It’s probably because of the bitterness people feel towards teacher’s pets – in other words, players who get into the team because they’re keen as mustard and brown nose the management, rather than possessing any cricketing prowess.
Luke Wright certainly seems to belong to this bracket. He has represented England an astonishing 76 times, despite the fact he has hardly scored any runs, or taken any wickets, in any form of the game (including school matches I imagine).
However, I for one believe that Wright gets a bit of a bum deal. He was promoted to the senior England team far too early; indeed he’d only played a handful of first class matches, and had only recently become a regular member of the Sussex team, when he pulled on an England shirt for the first time.
The selectors fast tracked him into the side prematurely on the back of an exhilarating T20 ton for Sussex which was broadcast live on Sky. As England desperately needed a pinch hitter, or at least someone who could give it a biff down the order (and there were no other candidates on the horizon) the Sky commentators championed Wright’s cause until the selectors finally picked him.
Unfortunately, as we all know, the Sky commentary team don’t always get things right. Ian Botham once called for James Pipe, Worcestershire’s reserve wicket keeper at the time, to be selected in England’s winter tour squad. Meanwhile, Michael Holding once claimed that Geraint Jones was so special that he could bat anywhere in the top three for any international team.
And then there’s Nick Knight, who is obviously employed as eye candy for the ladies – an English version of Kenny Sutcliffe, the male model from Mudgee if you like – rather than his ability to saying anything insightful.
Even though Wright’s career has been a bit of a non event thus far, there is reason to believe that he’s finally improving. His decision to play for Shane Warne’s Melbourne Stars in Australia’s big bash this year was a good move – and it looks like it’s paying off.
A few days ago Melbourne fans, which include one-eyed pommie basher Bill Lawry, probably wondered why on earth the Stars had signed Wright. He has, after all, done nothing against Australia in his England career. However, little did they realise that something special was around the corner; and I don’t mean Liz Hurley unexpectedly joining the players in the MCG’s communal baths …
In Monday’s match against the Hobart Hurricanes, Wright smashed 117 off just 66 balls. He reached his ton off only 44 balls – the fastest century in Big Bash history.
Although cynics will probably claim that every dog has its day, let’s not forget that Wright has done this kind of thing in limited overs cricket before. He has now scored two T20 hundreds and eight half-centuries at a blistering strike rate of 146.
Perhaps Luke has the Wright stuff after all – even though he’s hardly a new kid on the block anymore.