FORMER England batsman Allan Lamb believes it will be a while before Durham’s Scott Borthwick earns a Test call, with the flavour of the month still a pace bowling all-rounder not a spinning one.
Sunderland-born Borthwick saw Durham team-mate Ben Stokes get the call as England’s all-rounder for this winter’s Ashes tour, a career-best 5-61 from the seamer in the final One-Day International (ODI) against Australia boosting his cause.
Monty Panesar was also drafted in as England’s back-up spinner behind Graeme Swann, while Borthwick was not even included on the Performance Programme Squad that will also go Down Under.
Borthwick, who has played two ODIs and one T20 international for England, has enjoyed a fine season with the bat in particular as Durham won the County Championship for the third time in six years.
The 23-year-old broke 1,000 runs for the season in the county finale at Sussex with Stokes having scored just over half of that – although he has taken more wickets with the ball.
And Lamb admits Stokes, being a seamer, simply fits the bill more than Borthwick, a leg-spinner, at present although he believes the latter’s bowling efforts could prove invaluable in the future.
“I think England are desperately looking for an all-rounder, but more a guy who can bowl seamers,” said Lamb, who made 79 Test appearances for England.
“If you have a seamer who can bat then they can go in with three front-line seamers, and the all-rounder can hold a place.
“Scott is knocking on the door. Leg-spinners are like gold nuggets. He has got to carry on, and keep getting wickets and he will be mentioned up there.
“He has developed well as a batsman, which is vital, but it is that ability to bowl leg spin as well that will really help him.”
This week, Surrey’s Rory Burns pipped Borthwick to the LV County Championship Breakthrough Player of the Year award, but just being in the running is another feather in the cap of the Durham star.
Borthwick was the fourth best English spinner in County Championship Division One in terms of wickets taken ahead of the season finales with Ollie Rayner, Adil Rashid and Gareth Batty all with superior totals.
Meanwhile Simon Kerrigan leads the way in Division Two and, despite Panesar being selected for the Ashes ahead of all of them, Lamb admits the back-up option to Swann isn’t straightforward.
“Simon didn’t do so well in the Test match he played, but Monty seems to have lost the plot a bit,” he added.
“I thought they might take someone along to get the experience, but England won’t be playing two spinners in a Test match Down Under anyway.”
For more information on the LV County Championship and this year’s LV County Championship Breakthrough Player Award, visit www.LV.com/cricket
H Borthwick and his Durham team-mates suffered a frustrating second day of their clash with Sussex at Hove yesterday.
Only 36.2 overs were possible because of bad light, and after several inspections play was called off at 5pm with Durham on two without loss in their second innings.
Sussex were earlier bowled out for 328 to earn themselves a first innings lead of 164, after an excellent recovery by their lower order from 90-5.
Luke Wright (87) missed out on a century, but Ben Brown (64) and Ashar Zaidi (45) scored valuable runs to give their side a useful advantage.