5 reasons why young county players are struggling at the international level for England
Known to breed new, upcoming talents, domestic cricket plays a very important role in a country's growth in cricketing circles. It's from there the selectors can unearth new players who could go on to represent the country.
Every successful cricketer playing for his country has made it to the national side after years of dedication and hard-work in the domestic circuit.
In England, it’s a matter of pride and honour to represent a county. In times where T20 leagues are mushrooming and more weightage is given to performances of players in such leagues, England still values performances in county cricket when selecting players for their test, ODI or T20 teams.
However, recently, England have tried to build their test team’s batting line-up with players who have shone in the domestic scene such as Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Keaton Jennings and Dawid Malan. But the results thus far have created more problems for the team management leading up to the Ashes series.
Here’s looking at probable reasons why young county players are struggling for England at the international level.
#1 Lack of neutral conditions impacting their quality
County games are predominantly played in familiar conditions where the players are aware of what pitches are going to be offered to them. They then adapt themselves to succeed in such conditions. But does this come in handy when they get selected for their national team?
Well, not always. For obvious reasons, international players are expected to play in different countries where the conditions and the pitches will be drastically different from county cricket.
Ranji Trophy follows a similar pattern and that has proved to be beneficial. In India's domestic first-class tournament, it was decided that all the matches would be played in neutral venues, thereby making sure that there is no home advantage for one of the teams playing.
ECB should incorporate the same pattern in their domestic schedule as well. Certain pitches in England such as the one at Headingley, Leeds offers more swing for the bowlers whereas the pitch at the Oval is flatter and assists spin bowlers more.
Getting the young, domestic talents to step out of their comfort zones and play in varying conditions will help them grow as cricketers.