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Peaceful 18th August 2016 11:16

Ben Duckett- A show-Of-Promise
 
http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news...how-of-promise

Ben Duckett tops averages in first-class, T20 and one-day cricket this season.

Northamptonshire are, perhaps unfairly, derided as one of the least fashionable counties in English cricket. Struggling financially, a poor record in the County Championship and often having their best players poached, they have nevertheless had many England internationals in their ranks. Graeme Swann, Allan Lamb and Devon Malcolm are perhaps the most notable but there have been plenty of others. Left-handed opener Ben Duckett may be the next in line.

Such is the inconsistency of England's Test batting line-up, any young player showing form in the county game is touted as the answer to the puzzle of England's top-order woes. Duckett's remarkable form this season has pushed him to the top of the list of batting candidates next in line for international honours.

Two weeks ago for the England Lions in a one-day tri-series, 21-year-old Duckett scored 163 not out against Pakistan A and followed it up six days later with 220 not out against Sri Lanka A. He started this County Championship season with 282 not out against Sussex, the sixth-highest score ever by a Northamptonshire player, and tops Northants' averages in first-class, T20 and one-day cricket. He has scored 1,976 runs so far this season.

"That double century was the best start to the season," Duckett told Cricbuzz. "It felt like all the winter training had paid off. We've been working really hard with our new Strength & Condition Coach, Chris Tombs, and those long cold months are tough, but to hit the ground hard from the start of the season was our intention. For me personally it was a massive confidence boost and a standard to try and hit from then on."

Duckett has not always opened the batting and has not always shown the best of what he can offer either. He was dropped by England U19s for failing a fitness test three years ago and before last season, he was left out of Northants' pre-season trip to Barbados for similar fitness failings. A drink-driving ban last year didn't help either.

By the middle of 2015, Duckett had been consigned to the second team and was not fulfilling the potential that saw him make his first team debut for Northants at 17. That all changed when he was moved from the middle order to open the batting. A more focused attitude led to four hundreds in the last eight Championship games of the season and he has not looked back since.

"Opening is a mixed blessing," says Duckett. "You can score quickly because there are loads of gaps in the field, but the new ball does more. To be honest, I prefer it though. It's better than sitting on the balcony watching and getting more and more nervous."

Ben Duckett feels the stint with England Lions and sharing the dressing room with the likes of Graham Thrope and Andy Flower has been a big help.

Duckett has a simple technique, standing still at the crease with the bat raised high and no trigger movement before delivery. In one-day cricket, his ability to break his wrists allows him to hit the ball in unconventional areas with ramp shots and a myriad of sweeps as well as the power-hitting ability to clear the ropes consistently. In first-class cricket, his proven ability to score big hundreds, brutality against spin and a technique without much to go wrong marks him out.

Duckett averages 56 in List-A cricket and his T20 record is equally as strong, whilst his first-class record is improving. Does he worry about being pigeon-holed as a one-day player? "No I don't think so. There isn't one particular part of my game [I'm looking to improve]. As far as I'm concerned, nothing is perfect yet. Every shot that I play, I still practice and I'm focused on all round improvement.

"About a month ago, people were talking about me as a Test player, so it really depends upon what I've done well in. I see myself across all formats; I like the one-day game, but I'm looking to work more on the four-day cricket too."

To play for the Lions was one of Duckett's aims at the start of the season. "The whole experience was the best week of my cricketing life," he says. "I suppose it was because of the people I was around. They were people who have been there and done it and people that I look up to like Andy Flower and Graham Thorpe. Thorpe was one of my heroes growing up, so to be able to chat to him and learn from him in the morning before a game was invaluable."

Flower, an influential voice within the England set-up, spoke glowingly about Duckett's ability after working with him during the tri-series. It may be too soon to envisage Duckett opening the batting with Alastair Cook just yet, especially as his first-class runs have been scored in Division Two of the Championship. But with tours to Bangladesh, where some regulars may be rested, and India coming up, Duckett's excellence against spin may work in his favour.

"Of course full international honours are on my mind," he says. "Everyone wants to play for their country. But for now, I just want to keep on doing what I'm doing. The [Northants] Steelbacks are having an amazing season with the prospect of big success."

The next few weeks are vital for Duckett and for Northants. Whilst their Championship form has been poor, they are through to the quarter-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast. It is an opportunity for an unfancied county to prove their worth and for Duckett to show he can perform when the pressure is on.

Several left-handed opening batsmen have played international cricket after developing their games at Northants. Australians Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Chris Rogers all plied their trade at Wantage Road before going on to play international cricket. Duckett may yet emulate them all and perhaps sooner than he, or anyone, would have thought.

Rebelstar 18th August 2016 13:02

I think the selectors should say "ah Duckett" (or something like that) and pick him for the winter tour ;)

Summer of '77 19th August 2016 13:03

Ben was born in Farnborough, Kent and his old man played for Hayes CC. How he didn't end up with a not particularly fashionable county in the far South East is a bit of a puzzle.

billyguntheballs 9th September 2016 12:04

I've managed to see quite a bit of Ben this year and I like what I see. He is a smart cricketer who makes the most of the conditions he finds himself in. Plus there is a rare consistency about him for someone so young.

Having said all that, where would he fit in? I feel Bairstow and Ballance may both be on thin ice but the selectors are likely to look for experience when picking for away tours. In the ODI side, I feel things are pretty settled but there would be no harm in having BD as part of the squad.

Chin Music 9th September 2016 12:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by listentome (Post 733407)
I've managed to see quite a bit of Ben this year and I like what I see. He is a smart cricketer who makes the most of the conditions he finds himself in. Plus there is a rare consistency about him for someone so young.

Having said all that, where would he fit in? I feel Bairstow and Ballance may both be on thin ice but the selectors are likely to look for experience when picking for away tours. In the ODI side, I feel things are pretty settled but there would be no harm in having BD as part of the squad.

Bairstow on thin ice? I'm sure you must be confusing him with Vince who is surely out of the side.

With Bairstow, he may find keeping to slow bowling in India a real challenge. Many keepers do and it has been a weakness for him.

Redmachine 9th September 2016 16:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chin Music (Post 733414)
Bairstow on thin ice? I'm sure you must be confusing him with Vince who is surely out of the side.

With Bairstow, he may find keeping to slow bowling in India a real challenge. Many keepers do and it has been a weakness for him.

Hopefully that was a mistake, otherwise it's just madness.

Duckett opens in Bangladesh for me. Most of my mates rate Bell-Drummond and Hameed more highly, but I'm a massive Duckett fan. If England were really brave, they'd drop all 3 muppets at 2, 4 and 5 and pick Hameed and Duckett. Then bring Stokes back and it might be a proper team. Anyway, they won't drop all 3. Initially I thought it would just be Vince out, but if the media are to be believed, it looks like Hales is finished also. Partly because Bayliss seems to have lost faith in him and partly because Hales doesn't seem to want to go to Bangladesh.

Psyduck 9th September 2016 16:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Redmachine (Post 733448)
Hopefully that was a mistake, otherwise it's just madness.

Duckett opens in Bangladesh for me. Most of my mates rate Bell-Drummond and Hameed more highly, but I'm a massive Duckett fan. If England were really brave, they'd drop all 3 muppets at 2, 4 and 5 and pick Hameed and Duckett. Then bring Stokes back and it might be a proper team. Anyway, they won't drop all 3. Initially I thought it would just be Vince out, but if the media are to be believed, it looks like Hales is finished also. Partly because Bayliss seems to have lost faith in him and partly because Hales doesn't seem to want to go to Bangladesh.

That's what I'd do. However, I fully expect them to stick with Ballance at #4 with Bairstow (or possibly Moeen) moving up #5. I'm not sure what they'll do about Hales. Vince is clearly toast.

Fatslogger 9th September 2016 17:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by Psyduck (Post 733456)
That's what I'd do. However, I fully expect them to stick with Ballance at #4 with Bairstow (or possibly Moeen) moving up #5. I'm not sure what they'll do about Hales. Vince is clearly toast.

Close to my view too, although clearly terrible to have to bring in two debutant batsmen, so you can understand them sticking with at least one of them. On the whole I think I'd probably give Hales a further go if he's prepared to tour and bring in, I suppose, Duckett to bat at 4, although you're obviously guessing on who to debut / bring back if you're talking Borthwick. There's even a case for Hameed to open and drop Hales to 4. Then Ali at 5, Stokes 6, Barstow 7 and Woakes 8 allows you Rashid 9, Broad 10, Anderson 11 or even an alternative to Rashid like Leach. I wouldn't remotely object to jettisoning all three failures though, with the same kind of line up.

square leg umpire 9th September 2016 17:48

Duckett isn't taken seriously by England because he plays for a 2nd division county. Ridiculous but there it is.

Fatslogger 9th September 2016 17:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by square leg umpire (Post 733467)
Duckett isn't taken seriously by England because he plays for a 2nd division county. Ridiculous but there it is.

Bit premature to say that before they've even selected a touring party and not included him, given how young he is, so that it's hardly as if he's been posting amazing stats for years and being ignored. I suppose you could say he's been unlucky not to have had a go in the ODI side given how ridiculous his List A stats are (average 54.8, SR over 103.6) but then the ODI batting has been pretty useful in the last year or so and other excellent players like Billings aren't getting much of a look in either. Also, you couldn't really blame that on him playing Div 2 in the Championship.

Ali TT 9th September 2016 18:14

I guess the example of Vince, who bullied div2 attacks, struggled in div1 and was then found wanting in tests might give the selectors pause for thought?

Redmachine 9th September 2016 19:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fatslogger (Post 733468)
Bit premature to say that before they've even selected a touring party and not included him, given how young he is, so that it's hardly as if he's been posting amazing stats for years and being ignored. I suppose you could say he's been unlucky not to have had a go in the ODI side given how ridiculous his List A stats are (average 54.8, SR over 103.6) but then the ODI batting has been pretty useful in the last year or so and other excellent players like Billings aren't getting much of a look in either. Also, you couldn't really blame that on him playing Div 2 in the Championship.

He'll definitely be in their plans. He's been around the lions, which often indicates a call up isn't too far away. Vince, Malan, Dawson, Billings, Topley, Ball and Roland-Jones have all had call ups in the last 18 months after playing for the lions in that time.

billyguntheballs 9th September 2016 22:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chin Music (Post 733414)
Bairstow on thin ice? I'm sure you must be confusing him with Vince who is surely out of the side.

With Bairstow, he may find keeping to slow bowling in India a real challenge. Many keepers do and it has been a weakness for him.

Fair enough, I probably over did it with Bairstow but I really find him a tiresome batsman, he'll get a score of 5 one innings and then a 50. He is tough and gritty but nowhere near as versatile as a lot of the players England have had in recent years.

Let me rephrase that, I find him boring.

Plus Duckett can keep wicket too.

Fatslogger 9th September 2016 22:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by listentome (Post 733506)
Fair enough, I probably over did it with Bairstow but I really find him a tiresome batsman, he'll get a score of 5 one innings and then a 50. He is tough and gritty but nowhere near as versatile as a lot of the players England have had in recent years.

Let me rephrase that, I find him boring.

Plus Duckett can keep wicket too.

Is this the ginger guy who keeps wicket you're talking about? The one who's been England's best batsman for the last year, apart from Root? Okay, maybe Cook too.

Redmachine 10th September 2016 08:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fatslogger (Post 733507)
Is this the ginger guy who keeps wicket you're talking about? The one who's been England's best batsman for the last year, apart from Root? Okay, maybe Cook too.

Also, the one who scored at the best strike rate and that scores runs 360 around the ground. Very boring.

Bestie 10th September 2016 10:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fatslogger (Post 733507)
Is this the ginger guy who keeps wicket you're talking about? The one who's been England's best batsman for the last year, apart from Root? Okay, maybe Cook too.

Since the start of the SA series I'd say Bairstow's been our best batsman bar none. He has pushed his test average from below 30 to over 40 in that time and has a FC average that's only bettered by Root and (just about) Ballance and is on its way to 50. I can understand qualms about his keeping but never thought I'd be seeing calls for him to be dropped for the winter.

WeAreKent 10th September 2016 10:21

Pretty sure Duckett will go to Bangladesh and will open , certainly in the white ball stuff - it seems both Hales and Morgan are refusing to tour so there are big opportunities for new batsmen. Skip a generation and go with Duckett (21) and Hameed (19).

Interested in the comment above that some rate Bell-Drummond more highly than Duckett. Saw both of them last week and Duckett was massivley impressive and B-D, I'm sad to say, deeply disappointing in both innings.

Just looked up B-D's stats and was v surprised to see he's only scored one CC century this season. That means he's nowhere near the tour party; if a Div Two batsman is going to force England to take him seriously, he needs to do a lot better than that. Northeast. who has four big CC centuries to his name this year, would be a better bet.

In response to summer of 77, Consulting an old scorebook indicates that I played against Ben Duckett's dad at Hayes CC, although I cannot say I remember him...

billyguntheballs 10th September 2016 10:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fatslogger (Post 733507)
Is this the ginger guy who keeps wicket you're talking about? The one who's been England's best batsman for the last year, apart from Root? Okay, maybe Cook too.

Yeah the ginger fella and I agree, he has done well but like I said, I find him boring and he is an average keeper at best. If Eng want to keep him as a batsman, fine but he can't be keeper/batsman because there are better wicket keepers in England.

Edit: For the record, Root and Cook have been better than Bairstow and I'd throw Ali in there too, considering what he has done with the position he has to bat in.

Summer of '77 10th September 2016 11:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ali TT (Post 733471)
I guess the example of Vince, who bullied div2 attacks, struggled in div1 and was then found wanting in tests might give the selectors pause for thought?

It's notable that Duckett has made big runs this season against attacks featuring bowlers of first division quality. I'd like to think that the evaluation process is sufficiently thorough that those in attendance - ie umpires and coaches - are tapped for their opinions. For example, during his 282, how did Ben deal with Magoffin's probing precision? When hitting 208 on a difficult track, how did he cope with Coles' and Viljoen's kicking pace? Give us the lowdown on his 189, made against Essex, the best all round attack in the division. You have to hope that the old trusted grapevine is still in operation, or maybe it's all different now.

B@sil 10th September 2016 11:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by listentome (Post 733506)
Fair enough, I probably over did it with Bairstow but I really find him a tiresome batsman, he'll get a score of 5 one innings and then a 50. He is tough and gritty but nowhere near as versatile as a lot of the players England have had in recent years.

Let me rephrase that, I find him boring.

Plus Duckett can keep wicket too.

Bairstow boring? I suppose you find Stokes a bit humdrum as well.


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