G Force: Durham’s In-form duo deserve call-up to Test squad

IN THE FRAME: Mark Stoneman, left, and Scott Borthwick made huge scores this week.
IN THE FRAME: Mark Stoneman, left, and Scott Borthwick made huge scores this week.
0
Have your say

DURHAM would have two players in the England squad when it gets announced tomorrow if I had my say.

Let’s start with the man of the moment, Scott Borthwick, after his fantastic double ton this week.

I think England are looking for a spin bowling all-rounder, and the fact he hasn’t bowled as much might go against him.

But based purely on his batting, he has to be in with a shout.

His innings against Middlesex was absolutely top drawer. We were put in by them after they won the toss, and we were going to bowl ourselves if we’d won it, but Scotty and Mark Stoneman just took apart their bowling attack. They’ve got the likes of Steven Finn in their side, and their attack is supposed to be one of the better ones in the country, but they just didn’t let them settle.

Scott looked every inch an international-class batsman.

I don’t know what England’s thought process is, but if they want someone to bowl a few overs and score a few runs, then Scott is right at the top of that list.

If he can get a bowl for us in the next couple of days, and take a few wickets, then it won’t do him any harm.

Batting at three is brilliant for him, but he needs to be bowling more overs, probably. The opportunity isn’t always there at the Riverside to bowl 30 overs in a game like some southern-based players do.

By his own admission, he maybe didn’t bowl as well as he could last season, but this season, in the nets and the middle, he’s been landing the ball beautifully and looking as good as I’ve ever seen him.

In terms of an all-round package, I genuinely believe he’s second to none. He can bowl, bat and is a tremendous fielder.

There’s competition, of course. Samit Patel scored 90 last week and 156 this week, and is the leading run scorer in the Championship.

Then there’s Moeen Ali and James Tredwell, though it looks like Monty Panesar has blotted his copybook with being fined and dropped by Essex.

But Scott played in the last Ashes Test and is the man in possession, so hopefully he will get the nod.

It’s not just Scotty who’s in with a sniff of England though – I think Mark Stoneman has got his name in the hat too.

The opener slot alongside Alastair Cook is up for grabs. Sam Robson is the favourite for it, and it’s been interesting seeing the two of them play the last couple of days at the Riverside.

Rocky obviously made 187 and Robson was out cheaply in his first innings.

But the thing that might go in Rocky’s favour is his style. He’s an attacking, opening batsman who takes the game to the bowlers, and I think a Cook-Stoneman partnership would work better than Cook-Robson.

They’re too similar, more both accumulators of runs, whereas Rocky plays his shots all around the wicket.

James Whittaker, the England selector, has been around the Riverside lately, and Steve Harmison has been bigging him up in the media, so he’s definitely in their thoughts.

Robson scored a lot of runs last season and then also on the Lions tour, so he’d be disappointed not to get the nod, but for the team’s make-up, I think Cook and Stoneman would work best.

Either way, there will be a few people with an eye on the squad selection tomorrow!

MUCHY

WE had a cracking night at Annfield Plain Cricket Club on Saturday night – even if Breesey had huffed them just a couple of hours earlier! It was the latest G Force Benefit bash, a Q&A talk-in (with a bit of the Froch boxing thrown in too).

Our old Durham mucker Neil Killeen organised everything and it was a great evening. Annfield Plain even forgave Breesey for helping Consett to a last-over win against them earlier that day!

Next up is the Michael Holding gala dinner at Ramside Hall, Durham, on June 18. Tickets are £40 or £350 for a table of 10.

See gforce14.co.uk for more details.