Seven Young English Batsmen (Who Will Definitely Save Our Test Team)

You know it. I know it. I’m still not sure if they know it, but England just aren’t very good at batting. We’ve picked young English batsmen based on form, picked based on averages, but none of the county players who have been called up really cut the mustard.

Most of us can agree on what the perfect first-class batsman looks like. Yes they need the technique to combat the best bowlers, but that alone is not enough. They also need adaptability to changing conditions, and the skill to deal with spin, seam and pace. But most importantly, they need patience, and the mental fortitude to survive when the going gets tough.

Well, I’m afraid the aforementioned batsman doesn’t exist in English cricket right now. So instead, I’ve decided the kids are all right. The worst thing to do is get excited by a young player and blow expectations of them out of all proportion, so that is exactly what I am going to do. These are the seven young English batsmen under twenty-four who are going to solve all of England’s problems in the future, and who you should keep an eye on this Championship season.

Zak Crawley, 21, First Class Average of 29.40

Yes, I’m starting with a Kent player. Yes, I’m entirely partisan. But extra attention will be on Zak Crawley this season, because there’s a black hole so large at the top of the England order that Matthew McConaughey is trying to pilot a spaceship through it. At 6’5, and favouring an attacking game played predominantly off the back foot, Crawley is not your classical opener, which greatly accelerates the chances of England picking him. Once settled in division one he will score shedloads.

Harvey Hosein, 22, First Class Average of 34.93

Firstly, Hosein is a wicket-keeper batsman, so you can already see Ed Smith’s eye twitching at the prospect of getting all of Buttler, Bairstow, Foakes, Billings and Hosein into the same team. As Marie AntoinEd said: ‘Let them keep wicket’. An organised player in the lower order, Hosein has had an excellent start to the season with scores of 78 and 62 as Derbyshire beat Durham. He can expect ample game time and could excel this season at a county who can compete, but where expectations are never too high.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore, 24, First Class Average of 34.60

The oldest of the young English batsmen on this list, and already with 48 first class matches and seven centuries to his name. He is not the most glamorous name in a Yorkshire batting line up featuring Root, Ballance and Bairstow, and young Harry Brook is also promising at the top of the order. But even as Yorkshire underwhelmed last season Kohler-Cadmore averaged 46. This could be the season he nails down a regular middle order spot, and with England captain Root keeping an eye on how his county gets on, Kohler-Cadmore can put himself in the Ed Smith supervillain glasses shop window this summer.

Will Jacks, 20, First Class Average of 29.18

Surrey’s production line is terrifying. Tom Curran, Sam Curran and Ollie Pope have all been capped at test level recently, but they’re just the tip of the Surrey homegrown iceberg. Amar Virdi and Ryan Patel also had impressive championship winning seasons, but who better to demonstrate the brave new batting generation emerging than Will Jacks, who recently blasted a 25-ball hundred in a pre-season game against Lancashire. Astonishing talent who once he finds his feet at the required level could go powder keg explosive.

Anuerin Donald, 22, First Class Average of 30.68

There was a time when 234 off 136 balls in a Championship match had Donald’s batting looking hotter than the great beast adorning his national flag. But that was three years ago, and his career has been more newt than dragon in the intervening years. Playing in a Glamorgan side devoid of any hope can’t have helped, and his move to Hampshire will either reignite the Welshman’s fire or douse the flame for good as he fades into obscurity. He will have to seriously raise his game to get into a batting line up with Vince, Markram, Northeast and Roussouw, but that extra motivation could be just what he needs.

Sam Hain, 23, First Class Average of 33.89

Another who has been around for a while, but at 23 still relatively young in batting terms. Hain had a decent season in Warwickshire’s title-winning campaign and has the game to handle the step up in class that Division One attacks will pose. There’s no doubting the fabulous array of attacking shots that have taken him to the cusp of England T20 honours, but can he also display the resilience to make match-winning scores? A double ton in Warwickshire’s final pre-season game is promising, but now he needs to translate that form to the season proper.

And finally…

Haseeb Hameed, 22, First Class Average of 30.91

Argh! There is no player that purists want to succeed more than Hameed, but he is coming off the back of a nightmare two years and has already been written off by some. After making some spectacularly unhelpful comments about his lack of form, Lancashire’s Director Of Cricket released him at the end of 2019. Now he’s off to Notts, where young English batsmen have struggled in recent times. Hameed’s rise and fall have been meteoric, but the romantic in me thinks he will come again. Whether this season, it’s hard to know. A cautionary tale in overhyping young talent, so the perfect way to finish this piece.

Peter Jackson Eastwood


  • Hameed kind of reminds me of all the hype surrounding Owais Shah when he was a schoolboy who always seemed to struggle with the expectation and probably didn’t have the international career he should have done.

    Do Ollie Pope and Joe Clarke still come into ‘young batsmen’ category – really think either or both need to get a run to see whether they’re up to it.

    • I think Peter was going for batsmen who are a little under the radar. Pope is just 21 and Clarke soon to be 23, but the former has already played test cricket and the latter probably will do soon. Hameed probably qualifies for this list because he’s fallen down the pecking order and has somewhat disappeared.

  • I am a great believer in grooming young talent early on, though not by taking them out of the mainstream and isolating them in some sort of Cricket academy equivalent of the Lilleshall ‘school of excellence’. We can see in footie how having world and European championships for under 17’s to under 20’s is starting to produce a pool of talent which can graduate effectively to the senior squad.
    We need to recruit ex players as coaching staff to manage different age groups and process them through a world wide system of tours better structured than the desultory Lions and occasional Under 19. This way the players grow up together in a competitive environment, so they know exactly what they have to achieve to move onto the next level and have a natural evolution to the senior squad. Of course there will always be players who mature later, but they would not be hindered by this. The more players you identify at this age and dangle the carrot of representing their country the more will stay in the game with counties encouraged to take part in specific training programs to help bring them through.
    When youngsters see there is reward for success cricket might start to attract players from a more broad based

  • Hain has had his technique ruined by the determination to make him into a white ball player. He came into the Warwickshire side at 18 with a sound technique which has now deteriorated into a pastiche of a sub-continent wrist style. A much better pick amongst the Warwickshire players is Will Rhodes, who is looking to have both the technique and temperament. Perhaps most interesting is Matt Lamb, who reminds me of a young Collingwood – but he needs a run in the side.

    • The problem you have as a player these days is that white ball success is actively encouraged by selectors at test level. Their crazy logic seems to embrace the idea that success at test level involves versatility as much as anything else. A Boycott would have little chance these days over Roy. Your point about Hain is well made but Warwickshire have deliberately encouraged his technical development and obviously don’t see it being a hinderance to his career. No county is going to deliberately obstruct a player’s development.
      It is clear the county championship is no longer seen as the exclusive breeding ground for test players. The success of Butler seems to have been a game changer here, now natural talent is rated above application. At least we still have people like Graham Thorpe grooming test batsmen, so there’s hope on that front.

  • Looks like picking Zak Crawley is not the kiss of death these lists usually are. 76* at time of writing.

  • Hameed was ruined by coaches and England telling him he needs to expand his game due to a low SR and because of white ball.. that is the biggest problem with half this list.. all are ‘all round’ players not really specialist red ball. Hence such low averages but more importantly, they fail at int level when it comes to different situations, conditions and tempo as all they’ve been trained to do is score quickly

  • The worst aspect of the early season form is that someone will ask for Gary Ballance to be recalled. Bats beautifully against county attacks, but international bowlers have him worked out.

  • As developing players, we’ll no doubt see them in the “development competition”.


  • The England top 3 for tests will probably be Burns, Roy, Vince/Denley. Out of the 7 named here Jacks likely for one day but I don’t see any of the others being picked. And if Jennings and Ballance score a bucketful of county runs, well you know what the ECB is like….. Basically there isn’t another Cook out there.

    • Hameed

      Literally the only player we’ve found who looks capable of test top three..

      Vince – laughable
      Roy – white ball and laughable
      Jennings – good joke
      Lyth – hilarious
      Stoneman – mr can’t go on
      Jacks – you mean the hitter.. lol
      Duckett – oh good god it’s red ball not white ball biffing
      Hales – lol

  • Just read an article about the Hundred by our esteemed ECB county exec. Gordon (cool) Hollins. The upshot being crcicket has to be cool to appeal to the next generation. Looking like Nick Clegg and sounding like Tony Blair he tried to be hip and just came over as embarrassing. Remember Blair’s attempt to do the same by entertaining the likes of Oasis at his champagne receptions for ‘New Labour’. At least he had the good sense not to pose in a track suit, though of course the tie was missing to show his approachable side.
    Everything about the interview was depressingly familiar to all on this blog, so no need to go into details.
    The main point here is why do middle aged men try and connect with the young? Every time it’s cringeworthy. How many young people even use the word ‘cool’ on this side of the pond? Now it’s all about being ‘Brilliant’ ‘Amazing’ and ‘Awesome’, even ‘Gucci’ a word I liked, has gone out of fashion. The word Cool, in the sense Hollins uses it is actually well over 100 years old, so hardly rates as contemporary.
    The whole thing reminds me of ‘Have I got News for you’ where polititions seem to think putting themselves through the mill of embarrassing ridicule will in some way connect them with the public.

  • Re; Hain – don’t Warks have a history of that? I remember seeing Evans bat and think there was a player. Now moved on and struggling to get a hit in red ball cricket.

  • A Silicon Valley-based US company, Lubyc, launched a Prediction game to share the joy with cricket lovers and find cricket gurus on the occasion of Cricket World Cup 2019.
    And Lubyc announced the prize money of $125 US Dollar for the winner. Share the game and share your happiness with your friends and loyalists. Click the link below to play the game, and it will take you a maximum of 1 to 2 minutes to complete it –


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