Chris Jordan: one to watch

Talent spotting is an inherently unreliable business. Mark Lathwell, Mark Ramprakash. Matthew Maynard and Graeme Hick are just four gifted batsman who, in their own way, were earmarked for world domination when I was a nipper. They all failed.

My cynicism grew further when Angus Fraser, my biggest hero growing up, penned in Wisden Cricket Monthly one issue that Paul Franks was destined for great things. How could Fraser be wrong about anything, I thought? But he was.

So it’s with decided trepidation that I read David Fulton’s crystal-ball gazing in The Times, though I can’t help but find the prospect of Chris Jordan anything other than fascinating. 18, born and brought up in Barbados, he has played just five first-class games for Surrey. Fulton says:

Jordan has the kind of natural fast bowling gifts that so characterised the West Indies attack of a previous era. Generating genuine pace with the smoothest of actions, this young man was born to bowl.

What sets Jordan apart from a lot of young speedsters is that he already looks like the finished article. He has command of line and length, an ability to work batsmen over – and out – and the capacity to dig deep on flat wickets. In the last round of county championship matches against Lancashire on a typically true Oval pitch, Jordan knocked over Lancashire’s tail in the first innings with the type of short-pitch bowling that gives lower order batsmen nightmares. More impressively he put in a mid afternoon burst in the second innings when Lancashire were cruising that touched 90mph and wouldn’t have looked out of place in Test cricket.

Jordon hasn’t decided which country to pledge his allegiance. And given the the calimitous state of West Indies cricket, I hope for his sake he chooses England. But wouldn’t it be great if we produced a quartet of terrifyingly quick bowlers in the next 12 months, all ready for Australia in 2009? (yes, it’s not that far away)

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