With the County Championship beginning in just 47 days. Emily Marshall has taken a look at some players who it might be worth keeping an eye on throughout the season. All of them could be very successful after all showing positive and promising signs last season and with youth on the side, they will be giving every game their all this season.
Liam Banks (Warwickshire)
At just 18, he made his debut in the County Championship last season in September against Yorkshire when he opened the batting. He may not have scored a large amounts of runs but he seemed to take to opening well, which then lead to him getting a call up for the U19 World Cup. In that tournament, Banks was originally was in the middle order, but moving up to opening was where he made the best impression. He made a century (120) against Canada and some other scores of 50+ to make vital contributions for the team and demonstrated he has a good technique. If he can work his way into the first team for Warwickshire, then could get plenty of runs for them and help in their search for promotion. He is playing club cricket for Tamworth CC in the summer as well, aiming to get as much cricket under his belt as he can. Whether it be this season, or in future seasons Banks could become a solid player for Warwickshire and step up when needed, especially with senior batsmen Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott possibly retiring in the near future. Banks could fill that space.
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Essex are the reigning county champions and, at 20 years old, Dan Lawrence has already showed how much of a talent he is. He became the third youngest batsman to make a Championship century when he struck 161 for Essex against Surrey at The Oval in April 2015 at the age of 17 years and 290 days. It was only his second first-class game. Averaging 41 in the 2017 season, Lawrence earned an England Lions call up and is currently playing in the Caribbean. There is no doubt that he was a great help in Essex’s winning season and he will be hoping to replicate and improve on his performances to help them search for silverware again. As a middle-order batsmen at Essex there is a wealth of talent to help him grow and keep striving to put in those big scores.
Henry Brookes (Warwickshire)
A fast bowler who has come through the age groups at Warwickshire, Henry Brookes has certainly impressed a lot of people there including players, staff and members. He has been branded as potential talent numerous times through the ranks and academy and he managed to get into the first team at the back end of last season, making his debut in September against Essex. Through the winter Brookes has battled a stress fracture but is now back fit and is training with the first team bowling unit and getting stuck into pre-season. Injury meant he unfortunately missed out on the U19 world cup, but Brookes played some games in the summer for the U19 and seemed to be impressive, so another good season for Warwickshire looms and he may potentially set his sights on England Lions honours. Brookes seems to have done all he can to impress Warwickshire with Ashley Giles claiming he is a ‘’potential superstar once he realises how long his arms and legs are’’ and Pop Welch, bowling coach, also speaking highly of him with a plethora of praise.
George Garton (Sussex)
A left arm bowler who has showed a lot of promise in the past two seasons after making his debut in the early games of 2016. Last season his major breakthrough came when he was added to the England Ashes squad for Australia to act as cover for Jake Ball. Garton must have impressed those selectors so will be one to look out for when playing for Sussex and could be in the eye of the selectors as a possible end to their hunt for a promising left arm seamer who is of Test standard. Garton will be giving his all to keep impressing selectors and get some good results for Sussex.
Richard Gleeson (Northamptonshire)
Playing for Northamptonshire in all three formats, Gleeson is a right arm seam bowler who could be a key player for Northants this season in the County Champ. At the end of the 2016 season he won a three-year contract after showing very promising signs, so has plenty of potential to show his skills for Northants. He has also been called up for the England Lions, currently touring in the Caribbean as an injury replacement for Garton, so both players are on England’s radar it seems and have impressed. Gleeson’s two five-fer’s at the back end of last season have definitely helped his case.
These are just a few of the young players hoping to make their mark in the season and do all they can to earn success for their counties. Only 47 days to wait…