I was a little sceptical about Luke Wrightâ€™s succession to the England 20-20 squad on the basis that he scored the most runs in this yearâ€™s campaign, not least because Chris Schofield was picked for taking the most wickets. Graeme Swann must be uber-gutted! But while I am delighted the selectors have decided to go with a specialist squad, I had developed the opinion that Wright was just a slogger-got-lucky.
Not for the first time, I was dead wrong. His 60-ball hundred last night for Sussex against Gloucestershire was stunning. While there was the odd smear and hoik, almost every shot was orthodox, including a dreamy cover drive and on drive, all hit with terrible power and timing. Gloucestershire are not the very worst of attacks â€“ Iâ€™m sure Wright will meet some worse bowlers at the 20-20 World Cup â€“ but he made them look inept. Even Michael Atherton was purring by the end, shifting his stance from, â€œif youâ€™re good enough for international 50 over cricket, youâ€™re good enough for 20-20â€ to â€œif this ladâ€™s good enough for 20-20, he should be good enough for 50 overs too.â€
There were various comparisons, such as he grips and rips like Tendulkar or has the speed of hands through the ball as Ali Brown. Indeed, not since Brown have I seen an Englishman so dismantle an attack in the way Jayasuriya or Gilchrist do for fun. As a right-hander, he had something of Michael Slater about him, although Iâ€™ll go for a more modern Aussie as a comparison, who likewise has plenty more to prove. Shane Watson batted in a very similar fashion in the World Cup, matching power and timing with elegance. He bowls a bit too and has the same bottle blond hair. Time will tell whether Luke Wright can mix it on the same stage.