Thursday, September 22, 2011

Danny Briggs: No Spin Required

Hype can get a little boring, but after a disappointing season for Hampshire which saw them relegated from division 1 in the LV= County Championship as well as being dethroned as T20 champions by Leicestershire, Royals fans will take anything they can get!
Hants spinner Danny Briggs, 20, is the real deal though; no hyperbole required here. In the 2011 season, Briggs became the second youngest bowler after Derek Underwood to claim 100 first class wickets in County Cricket history, and this week he has joined up with England’s senior squad for the first time after his inclusion in the squad for the T20 series against the West Indies.
Born on 30th April 1991 on the Isle of Wight, Briggs made his debut for Hampshire’s first team in 2009 at the age of just 18. Breaking into the one-day side first, he later claimed the prized scalp of Somerset’s Marcus Trescothic in his County Championship debut.
After a successful first season for Hampshire Briggs was called up to England’s Under 19 squad for the tour of Bangladesh in October 2009, before travelling to New Zealand in January 2010 for the Under 19’s World Cup. Briggs excelled on both tours, returning from Bangladesh as leading wicket taker with 8 scalps from 7 One Day Internationals and was man of the match against Afghanistan at the World Cup, claiming 3 for 11 runs en route to the quarter finals in New Zealand.
Now firmly on the ECB’s radar Briggs returned to Hampshire for the 2010 season taking 34 wickets in all competitions and was his sides leading wicket taker in the shortest form of the game as Hampshire lifted the Friends Life T20 trophy in front of a home crowd at the Rosebowl.
Briggs was then named in the England Performance Squad to tour Australia at the end of 2010, shadowing the senior squad on the Ashes tour. “I want to break into the Lions squad and the EPS (England Performance Squad) will help me do that,” Briggs said of his inclusion in the squad. “This trip (to Australia) is about showing the coaches what I can do and improving my game. I’ve had a great year for Hampshire and it gives me a lot of confidence. There are some solid cricketers out there and it will be good to pick their brains in training and see what they do to get them to such a high standard.”
The Performance Squad went on to win both their matches Down Under with Briggs again excelling, taking 4-9 against Queensland XI. ECB Director David Parsons praised Briggs’ performances in Australia, saying “It re-enforces his reputation as a young player of clear potential.”
A successful spell in Australia resulted in a call up to the England Lions squad for the first time to tour the Caribbean in January 2011. The Lions took part in the West Indies Cricket Board regional 4 day championships and again Briggs impressed, taking 15 wickets in 5 matches at an average of 24.
James Hildreth, Lions Captain for the Caribbean tour was full of praise for Briggs, saying “Every time I put Briggsy on to bowl he seems to get wickets, and he’s really good at keeping it tight. He knows his game really well. He’s obviously flourished in the 20 over format, but watching him bowl in four day cricket over in Australia and now out here in the West Indies, he’s been doing really well.”
Hildreth continued “He works hard in the nets and he’s one of those bowlers who has quite a simple philosophy really – he doesn’t try and vary it too much. He’s got subtle changes in pace and spin and that works. He gets a lot of people trapped at the crease LBW and bowled and he knows what fields he wants.”
Back home, the 2011 season may not have gone to plan for Hampshire, but Briggs’ form has remained constant, something that has not gone unnoticed. Briggs’ Hampshire team mate Nic Pothas is one that sees the potential in the young spinner. Speaking in his Southampton Daily Echo column recently he said; “Briggsy is very young for a spinner but is maturing very quickly. He has been outstanding for us in the Friends Provident T20. He has the X-factor that most good spinners have in being able to read what a batsman is going to do next. If Danny Briggs reminds me of anyone, it is New Zealand star Daniel Vettori.”
“We’ve always said he is like a left arm version of Shaun Udal, but he is also very quiet and Vettori-like.”
After successful spells with England’s Under 19s, EPS and Lions teams in the past 12 months, the next step for Briggs was always going to be the full England squad, however the speed at which Briggs has made that step up – he is still only 20 after all – has been quite phenomenal.
He has the potential to be a top spinner for England and he will only develop by training with the senior England players, guided as he will for this two match series by the best English spinner of his generation, Graeme Swann.
Briggs knows that he has to keep doing the simple things well to continue his remarkable ascendancy up England’s ranks. “A good ball is a good ball to any player. If I can just carry on and keep it simple, the better I can be.” Hampshire and England will certainly hope the man from the Isle of Wight continues to do just that.
Tom Huelin for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Tom on Twitter @tomhue1

No comments :

Post a Comment