Brendon McCullum asks for more first-class games for Hartley, Bashir after India tour
By SMCS - Feb 28, 2024 9:40 am
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Brendon McCullum urged England cricket to look after Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley and focus on the development of the young spinners as well. Although England have lost their 5-match Test series to India, Bashir and Hartley did well. Hartley is currently the leading wicket-taker, having claimed 20 wickets from 8 innings, including a 7-wicket haul in the Hyderabad Test. Bashir, on the other hand, scalped his maiden 5-wicket haul in first-class cricket in the Ranchi Test as well.

Shoaib Bashir
Shoaib Bashir bowled a phenomenal spell

“It will be a slight frustration of ours if they weren’t given opportunities at county level,” McCullum was quoted as saying. “There’s a very real possibility that might be the case, but without wanting to dictate to counties because they have their own agendas as well, when you see performances like we have out of those two bowlers throughout the series, I think you’d be slightly mad if you didn’t give them more opportunities in county cricket.”

In 24 first-class matches until now, Hartley has claimed 60 wickets with 2 four-wicket hauls and as many 5-wicket hauls. Apart from being a handy spinner, Hartley also played as a handy lower-order batter. Bashir, on the other hand, came into the series after playing only 6 first-class games in which he got only 10 wickets as well. McCullum said that both of them have a bright future and can be star players if nurtured with care.

“It would be nice to think they’d get plenty of opportunities so that they can improve at a quicker rate. Whether those opportunities are with counties or with England, I think we’ve just got to keep trying to get cricket into them. Whatever opportunity we can, we’ll try and give it to them because there are two guys there more than good enough for international cricket. They’re also tough characters,” McCullum added.

ollie robinson
Ollie Robinson eventually dismissed Marnus Labuchagne

However, Brendon McCullum has said that no one is as disappointed as Ollie Robinson due to his poor performance in the fourth Test against India in Ranchi. McCullum also added that batting affected the right-arm seamer’s back, forcing him to bowl at a lower pace as well.

He stated, “Everything he did leading into the Test match suggested we’d see not just the Ollie Robinson we’d seen previously but a better version of it. For one reason or another it didn’t quite work out for him. Obviously he’s not just as disappointed as everyone else, he’s the most disappointed out of everyone. He actually twinged his back while batting, which is why in those initial couple of spells he was down on pace. It’s a tough game for him, no doubt, and he’s hurting a lot. We’ve just got to make sure we find a way to get the best out of him.”

“There’s times in games where we haven’t quite screwed down our method just yet. We’ve lost here, didn’t win the Ashes, but we’re a better team than 18 months ago and we’ve got an opportunity in the next 18 months to do some special shit. We’ll keep chiselling away at those rough edges. It’s not a bad time to be coach of the England team,” he concluded.