The ODI second spinner debate

With the call up of the destructive and exciting Jos Buttler, there’s been less interest in the call up of Danny Briggs to fight with Samit Patel for the second spinner spot. Brigg’s is undoubtedly a talented young cricketer, but his limited overs record is underwhelming and with another left arm spinner in the squad it seems like his presence has little use to it.

Patel is perfectly reasonable as an ODI bowler, he can be a little expensive but does seem to have a knack of picking up wickets. Briggs seems the opposite, he is fairly economical but doesn’t pick up enough wickets. Another option the selectors may have considered was Monty Panesar, but his ODI record doesn’t back him up and the notion that he just wheels away on the same line and length, which is easy to score from in one day cricket, has yet to be fully dispelled.

Briggs probably won’t play all of the ODIs and if he’s unlucky may not get a game at all on this tour. It’s clear that partly he’s there for the experience. The England selectors need however to avoid making the same mistakes as they did with Adil Rashid, taking him on tours too early and not letting him finish developing at county level. It’s a pity that Rashid’s championship form was so poor all last summer, because he seemed to do well in the CB40, and he should be just about the perfect choice. At his best he’s a better spinner than Briggs and as good a bat, although not as destructive, as Patel.

If the third spinner in the party is there to gain experience and is for the future, not the present, Briggs is a decent choice, but if they’re looking for a man for the present, Samit Patel seems to have the spot by default, but Rashid should be eyeing his place enviously.

Originally published 8-Feb-2012

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