Uncapped duo ready for the challenge - Thorpe
Graham Thorpe admits to a sense of excitement ahead of Nick Compton and Joe Root’s potential Test debuts in India.
The duo were called up to the senior squad for the first time ahead of a four-Test series starting on November 15 in Ahmedabad, with the former making his England debut in this week’s tour match against India A.
Although Compton registered a duck in his only innings at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium, Thorpe – the ECB’s Lead Batting Coach – is confident both the Somerset batsman and Yorkshire opener Root have the ability to prosper at the highest level should they get the opportunity to replace the retired Andrew Strauss.
Speaking at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, Thorpe told ecb.co.uk: “I’m excited for both of them.”
“Obviously Nick has been a very consistent performer; he had an outstanding year in county cricket (finishing as the leading run-scorer in LV= County Championship Division One) and he was selected for the Lions as well.
“It shows where our England players can come from – it’s not just about coming through a pathway underneath, but also the county game. Having said that, Nick was involved with the programme probably four or five years ago, before I got involved.
“He’s scored very heavily and he’s done it in a good manner as well. I don’t think you can ignore that.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes in India, if he gets the opportunity. He’s obviously shown that ability to not give up as well and a desire to score runs and perform, so we wish him all the best this winter.”
Moving on to the inclusion of Root, who has worked closely with Thorpe on the England Performance Programme over the last 18 months, the veteran of 100 Tests said: “He’s a pretty mature lad; he’s got a decent technique and he’s really progressed.
“He has scored runs at all levels he has played at, and that’s exciting. You’re trying to identify guys who have that resilience.
“We hope he will be able to go forward in the manner which we think that he can. He’s certainly got a lot of talent.”
Thorpe draws encouragement from Root’s efforts for England Lions on the sub-continent earlier this year, when his unbeaten 110 underpinned a series-clinching 50-over triumph in Sri Lanka.
“He scored a hundred in Colombo last year, which was an exceptional innings for a young lad up against four or five Sri Lankan spinners,” added Thorpe.
“Temperatures were warm; it was the last game of a one-day series, which was two-all, and he scored runs when it mattered and showed a good method.”
Widely regarded as England’s finest player of spin during his playing career, Thorpe is well aware of the task facing Alastair Cook’s side this winter.
“The challenges for England when they go to the sub-continent are always huge,” he concluded.
“The opposition they are playing against simply play in their own environment a lot more, so you’ve got to put a lot of time and preparation into it.
“I’m sure no stone will be unturned and then you hope on the day that England turn up and perform well.
“The England players will know at the back of their minds, if they can go and do something special in India it will be a hell of a performance.”