Who is Harry Gurney?

England’s surprise inclusion in the provisional T20 squad has come through multiple injuries to become the rounded quick left-armer he now is. He is also the one of two players in the squad to have come from Leicestershire Premier League side Loughborough Town (that’s nearly 7 percent of the whole squad…). Are England purely playing follow the leader after the embarrassing Ashes defeat?

Do England need Harry Gurney, or are they just looking for an English Mitch? (PC: nottinghampost)

Do England need Harry Gurney, or are they just looking for an English Mitch? (PC: nottinghampost)

Gurney debuted for Loughborough Town 1st team in 2004 at 17 years-old and showed obvious promise, taking 3 wickets with an economy rate of under 3 in what was then called the Cockspur Cup. The tall left-armer is fairly quick and gets good bounce but his inclusion could purely boil down to England looking for an equivalent to Mitchell Johnson, after the moustached Aussie drove through the Barmy Army’s taunting to become bowler of the series in the recent Ashes tour.

It is not just in the left-arm quicks department that it seems England would happily follow Australia’s template. Michael Clarke made bold decisions in 2013’s Ashes series and ended up losing a fairly dull series 3-1. However, down-under his bold decisions were backed by confident, on-form players that followed them through. Suddenly calls from around the county is to appoint a bold captain, more likely to make the Clarke-like decisions than the safe Captain Cook. Suddenly Cook becoming the first England captain in 28 years to go and conquer India is distant in many memories…

The last whitewash England suffered in Australia was captained by this man, he didn't enjoy the tour that much... (PC: Daily Mail)

The captain of  England’s last whitewash in Australia (PC: Daily Mail)

Why England feel they have to copy any team that beats them is beyond me. You didn’t see the Australians hiring scientists and performing tests on players to see who sweats the least and would be best to shine the ball? They have a beer drinking, big bellied ex-player making the Australians fiery again because that’s how they play best. England play best with reserved captains that think about the game. Pietersen and Flintoff where the last bold captains we had, I’m sure no one wants to see a repeat of those series…

In Gurney’s case however, it may just be under-the-radar good form that has earned him a provisional spot on the plane. An impressive Twenty20 bowler with an average of 21.75 and 52 wickets in the 47 matches he has played. Despite probably being the most genuine No.11 in the world having faced just 6 balls in 3 innings in the format. A vastly improved bowler since joining Nottinghamshire, he has managed to steer clear of injuries which left him short of opportunities at Leicestershire. The other ex-Loughborough Town member of the squad, James Taylor, is very unlikely to be taken on the tour after being knocked further down the pecking order by Ballance and Stokes. He could be starting to wonder if his promise will ever be seen again on the International stage.

Tymal Mills, England’s young left-arm net bowler in the Ashes has been left out of the squad however. The young left-armer test inclusion seemed possible when England were struggling with Johnson in the Ashes because of his raw pace, but due to his lack of experience (just 3 overs in 4 games) in Twenty20 his exclusion from this squad is no surprise.

It would certainly be a bold choice to have Gurney on the plane, it will be a pointer as to whether Broad is more of a Clarke or Cook-like captain. It could even be a master-stroke…

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