Graham Thorpe

England’s nuggety middle order batsman shares his unbridled expertise in cricketing clichés

Without a shadow of a doubt Luke Wright is more than ready to fill the void left by Freddie Flintoff, simple as that. In my opinion he’s aggressive with the bat, handy with the ball and a superb fielder – that’s what I think. I reckon he can prove his credentials in the upcoming ODI series and really stake a claim for the test team, for sure. He’s also a great presence in the dressing room, and that’s an important thing in the international game, for definite. He certainly gives the side plenty of options, I’m telling you. He’s a terrific prospect for sure, but he needs to spend a year or two in county cricket to work on his game before he’s ready for international cricket – and that’s the truth of the matter. That’s what I think, anyway.

Young Adil Rashid is a great prospect in my opinion. I reckon he just needs to work on slowing his action down a bit and allowing the ball some air – that way he can generate maximum turn off the pitch and cause the batsmen problems, without question. If he gets some overs under his belt for Yorkshire he’ll go a long way to becoming a good all-round prospect for the England side, and that’s a fact. All he needs to do is work on getting the ball through quicker, as slower spinners tend to give the batsmen more time to pick their variations, make no mistake. He also offers something with the bat, which is vital in today’s game as there’s no room for passengers when batting, that’s for certain. A good knock down the order can alleviate pressure when the top order fails to fire, no question of a doubt whatsoever, for certain.

Keep an eye out for Chris Woakes – I’m telling you, he’s going to be England’s next talisman with the ball, for sure. That’s not just my opinion, either. That’s a fact, in my opinion, without doubt. This guy bowls a great line and, most important of all, he gets wickets. He took a hatful against the West Indies earlier this summer and he looks an awesome prospect, that’s for definite. What I would say, though, is that he needs to concentrate on keeping it tight and not striving to get a wicket every ball. That’s a mistake that a lot of young bowlers make, in my view. Bowling in test cricket is a game of patience – you’ve got to wear the batsman down with consistency, no doubt about it.

I’ve mentioned Joe Denly in this column before and I seriously think he’s the real deal. He’s a batsman who sees the ball well and has excellent technique and hand-eye co-ordination, in my opinion. There’s no questioning his technical ability and desire, but what I would say is that he needs to work in the nets on his technique a bit more. In my opinion there’s no substitute for hard work and he needs to do plenty of it to iron out his technical flaws before he’s ready for test cricket. My view is that he maybe needs to play a string of one-dayers to get the feel for international cricket and my money’s on him being ready for tests in a couple of years or so.

My view is that England have a great pool of players from which to choose in the upcoming ODI series against the aussies, no question. I’m really excited by our chances and there are plenty of good all-round cricketers available who offer something with both bat and ball, and that’s the truth. In my opinion, good all-rounders can influence the game in more than one way, which is crucial. Any player who can make a quickfire 30 down the order and chip in with a couple of vital wickets is worth their weight in gold, without a shadow of a doubt whatsoever.

With Freddie injured, England will struggle to find players capable of replacing him, no question. Sure, they have a few bits-and-pieces county cricketers around, but they’ll never make a meaningful impact in any international game – that’s what I reckon anyway. I’m worried that England will end up replacing Fred with someone like Mascarenhas, whose only contribution will be a quickfire 30 down the order and a couple of wickets, which isn’t enough I’m afraid. I just hope England manage to compete in this series, as the aussies have a great unit who will feed off their weaknesses, that’s for sure. I don’t think they stand a chance if I’m honest with you.


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