Use the force, Luke

I was a little sceptical about Luke Wright’s succession to the England 20-20 squad on the basis that he scored the most runs in this year’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 – I’m sure Wright will meet some worse bowlers at the 20-20 World Cup – but he made them look inept. Even Michael Atherton was purring by the end, shifting his stance from, “if you’re good enough for international 50 over cricket, you’re good enough for 20-20” to “if this lad’s good enough for 20-20, he should be good enough for 50 overs too.”

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 I’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.

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