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Hants pair in England frame
NO-one will be more pleased to see Michael Carberry make his home England debut than the man who brought him to The Ageas Bowl.
It is nearly eight years since Paul Terry signed Carberry from Kent. The 32 year-old has since blossomed into one of Terry’s best signings (Sean Ervine is another) and will surely add a first T20 international cap to his solitary Test appearance, against Bangladesh in Chittagong three years ago, at West End this evening.
If he and/or Danny Briggs play tonight, they will be the first Hampshire players to represent England at The Ageas Bowl after Kevin Pietersen, who never captured the hearts of the county’s members as Carberry and Briggs have done. Suffice to say, tonight’s match has a different dimension to any of England’s previous 14 Ageas Bowl internationals (11 ODIs, one Test, two T20s). Terry, Hampshire’s manager from 2003-08, will be watching at home in Perth as the batsman he signed steps out of the home dressing room with three Lions on his shirt.
Carberry started his career on the fringes of a very strong Surrey side but was 25 and desperate just to play first-team cricket when he first arrived at the Ageas Bowl in October 2005. “He’d scored a hundred against us in pre-season so I kept an eye on him, but he didn’t play a [Championship] game for Kent that year,” recalls Terry. “I just couldn’t understand it because he looked a really good player. “So I spoke to [former Surrey coach] Keith Medlycott to find out what sort of bloke he was and the boxes were ticked.” Carberry scored more than 2,000 first-class runs in his first two years with Hampshire, going on to make 7,287 at 44 in seven seasons.
“He wanted an opportunity and knew he was going to get it with us,” continued Terry. “It was a tough wicket to bat on at the time, particularly for a top-order batter.
“Now you probably haven’t done that well if you don’t get 1,000 runs in a season but it was an achievement to get that then.
“Carbs was always there or thereabouts and he’s since developed his one-day cricket massively. “He was always a good one-day player but sometimes he wasn’t as fluent as others and got bogged down.
“Now he knows his game, which happens when you get into your thirties. People sometimes write you off at that age but it’s often a period of time when you play your best cricket.”
Carberry’s call-ups to England’s limited-overs squads (he could also play in the one-day international against Australia at the Ageas Bowl on September 16) are reward for a prolific season in both formats.
He has scored 502 t20 runs at 55.8 for Hampshire this year, with a strike rate of 142.6.
“What I like about Carbs is that he’s always been his own man, he knows what he wants and how he wants to train,” continued Terry.
“When I’ve watched him on television in recent seasons I’ve noticed he’s changed his stance a little, holding his bat in that cocked position which obviously works for him – his runs-per-ball ratio’s gone up massively in the last few years.”
Carberry enjoys opening in all formats but if he plays tonight it will be interesting to see where he slots in.
Lumb-Hales-Wright has been England’s top three in their last seven Twenty20 internationals and there are only eight games before the World Twenty20.
Carberry has opened the batting for Hampshire in all 19 of the t20 games he has played since recovering from the blood clots that were discovered on his lung three years ago, a setback that would make a home debut tonight even more heartwarming.
He has also batted in the top three in 53 of his 66 t20 appearances for Hampshire, but from 2007- 2010 he played anywhere in the top six to accommodate Michael Lumb, another Terry signing.
“Carbs and Lumb will probably be fighting for the same position because I think Alex Hales will probably play,” said Terry.
“Lumby was the one who dominated in the time I was there, when Carbs opened he probably didn’t know his game as well. “Carbs always had all the shots but you need that confidence to play those shots and he and Vincey have done that brilliantly together.” While Carberry has not had the best of first-class seasons, a strong finish to the campaign could help him complete a memorable hat-trick, by following his T20 and ODI call-ups with an Ashes tour place.
But Terry, who played two Tests against the West Indies in 1984, fears Carberry will not get the chance to add to his solitary Test cap from March 2010.
“I think Joe Root will be opening for the next ten to 15 years, he looks a special player and the top five looks settled,” said Terry. “And although they’re looking for a No 6 they’ll probably go for [James] Taylor or [Jonny] Bairstow.
“They aren’t as good as Carbs but England can afford to have a younger guy in there at six because the other five spots are hammered down.” ENGLAND: Broad (Notts, capt), Bopara, Briggs, Buttler (wkt), Carberry, Dernbach, Finn, Hales, Lumb, Morgan, Rankin, Root, Tredwell, Wright.
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