ENGLAND shouldn’t look any further than Scott Borthwick when they look to replace Graeme Swann this summer.
Scotty is definitely good enough for England. He’s got all the talent and now just needs to show that bit more consistency.
He’s had a taste of Test cricket, playing in the last Ashes game, so he’s in the selectors’ thoughts.
It followed on from a great season he had last year, and he’s brought that form and experience to Abu Dhabi with us this week
He bowled a long spell in the first innings against MCC and to be honest, he bowled as well as I’ve seen him.
England have got a decision to make on their spinner after Swann’s retirement and I don’t think there’s a better choice than Scotty at the minute.
He’s had a bit of a shoot-out with Monty Panesar over here. Scotty made 50 in our first innings, but then he got out to Monty which he wasn’t too happy about! But he’s certainly bowled as well as Monty, and going into the season bowling a lot of overs will only stand him in good stead.
He’s good enough but just got to be consistent. He’ll admit himself he often bowls a few too many four bowls.
Playing at the Riverside he doesn’t often get the chance to bowl too much spin as it’s such a seamer-friendly wicket.
But if he starts the season well, I can’t see anyone pushing ahead of him in the England pecking order.
He’s not been the only one to impress out here. Mark ‘Rocky’ Stoneman made a brilliant century in the second innings, Keaton Jennings batted really well in the first innings and then Jamie Harrison took five MCC wickets.
I spent a bit of time in the middle too, and while I was disappointed to only make 11 in the first knock, I faced 60-odd balls.
I then made 56 yesterday with more time spent at the crease, which will hold me in good stead for the season.
Having not had a game for six months, it was good to get back in the swing of things.
It’s been nice to get out in the field with a bit of sun on our backs. You can get a bit of cabin fever at home training indoors.
The facilities over here are brilliant – they’re as good as anywhere now. Even the lads who haven’t played have had some good practice.
We’ve been playing a day-night game against MCC which is basically so we can keep on English time. It’s all a bit odd trying to stay on English time, and I’ve been trying to stay awake as late as possible.
To be honest, though, after having a winter looking after the kids, it’s been nice to get away and get a couple of good nights’ seep and not have to get up with the kids at the crack of dawn!
It was disappointing that Gareth couldn’t make it, and it meant I had to get a new room-mate, but I landed with Keats so I didn’t do too bad.
Breesey can talk you to sleep so it’s a little bit quieter with Keats!
As for the trip, it’s been a working holiday and not a knees-up. We had a couple of tough sessions when we arrived, and you have a pint in the bar if anyone scores a century or takes a five-for – but other than that, it’s been pretty boring, with very few stories to tell.
Well, certainly none that can get printed anyhow!
I WAS gutted to miss the trip to Abu Dhabi with my Durham family, but my immediate family comes first.
I had to pull out because my little boy Max was in hospital for a few days, but thankfully he’s doing really well now.
We had to make a call at the time and it was the right decision to come to, and I have to thank the Durham management for being so understanding.
It’s meant I’ve been kicking my heels in the North East though. It’s been a bit strange around the club as there’s been hardly anyone here, bar me and a few youngsters, so it’s just about staying fresh, keeping focused and making sure training and practice keeps the interest levels up.
And I’m not even going to mention the weather! I’m trying hard not to think about the Dubai sunshine!
Talking about the weather, the lightning that forced England’s T20 game against New Zealand to be abandoned was something else.
I’ve never played in conditions like that, not even at Durham – lightning is a good day up here!
Once lightning strikes, the protocol is to come straight off, but it’s up to umpires to make the call. They are there to take charge of the game and you have to respect their decisions, and unfortunately this time it went against England.
On another day, it would have went in their favour, and if you look at the shots Brendan McCullum was playing those last few balls, he could have been out a couple of times and New Zealand would have lost.
My tips for the World T20 were West Indies, but they’ve got off to a bad start losing their first game, while India – Muchy’s tip – have won two from two.
I hope anyone who backed our predictions put their money on Muchy’s!
As for England, that defeat means the rest of their games are must-wins. However, that was the same back in 2010 when they lost their first game and went on to win the tournament.
Lightning doesn’t often strike twice – but after the other night, you never know.