Test Match Sofa
Croft makes case for England t20 call-up
By Graham Hardcastle
Lancashire’s batting all-rounder Steven Croft has been backed to break into England’s limited-overs set-up after starting his spell as a Twenty20 overseas player for New Zealand state side Northern Knights in tremendous form.
The 28-year-old is playing alongside Essex wicketkeeper James Foster in the HRV Cup, and has anchored the Knights' batting effort in successive victories over Otago and Central Districts with 81 off 49 balls and 59 not out off 48. He also took 2 for 12 with his off-spin against the latter in Friday’s win, which has left his side with a 100 per cent record in the early stages of a competition running until January 20.
Croft enjoyed success with Lancashire in last summer’s Friends Life t20, scoring 313 runs from eight matches, including two half-centuries. It was a run of form which helped him to secure a place in England’s provisional 30-man squad for September’s World Twenty20 competition in Sri Lanka, although he failed to make the final cut of 15.
But with England failing to impress, it would not be a surprise to see a few new faces named when the squad is announced for the two 20-over clashes against India after the ongoing Test series (December 20 and 22). England then return to India in the New Year for a five-match one-day series, and Croft’s ability to bowl off-spin will aid his selection cause, as will his brilliance in the field.
Red Rose skipper Glen Chapple said: “His performances for us have been great, and it's his all-round game. His bowling has come on a hell of a lot, and his batting is explosive. He is also one of the best fielders you will see. It just depends on what the people who matter think about that.”
Team-mate Tom Smith, another player hoping to make the grade at international level in the future, also said: “He's had a really good few seasons in all competitions, and he's a very consistent performer. He deserved his selection in that 30-man squad this year. It just shows what a player he is that he's gone to another country and first game in he's smashed 80 off 40-odd balls.
“As a cricketer, he's developing all the time. He puts the hard yards in and get results. He's definitely done the right thing by going away, playing in another tournament and putting his name in the hat.
“He's putting performances in that the selectors can't shy away from. It's not just his batting, but he's an absolute dynamite fielder. He's one of the best in the country in my eyes. His spin is also a great option for him. He's the all-round one-day package.”
Foster has also enjoyed an excellent start to his spell in New Zealand by scoring 48 off 30 balls and 26 not out off 12. He and Croft have shared fifth-wicket partnerships of 126 and 53 unbroken in both matches.
Terms & Conditions
Developed by Proximity Solutions
Proximity PS Web
2007 - 2013