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Yardy bigs up Briggs

Icc World Twenty20

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Michael Yardy, a World Twenty20 winner in 2010, sees one of his successors, Danny Briggs, as a potential star of the current tournament in Sri Lanka.

Yardy and Graeme Swann formed a fiendish spin alliance as England swept all before them from the Super Eights stage onwards in the West Indies.

Now it could be another left-armer, 21-year-old Briggs, partnering Swann - who is ranked the second-best T20 bowler by the International Cricket Council.

Briggs has competition from Samit Patel, but the former’s fine return of 3-15 from four overs in Wednesday’s warm-up defeat of Pakistan may have tipped the balance for England’s opening game against Afghanistan at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium today.

Briggs, a domestic t20 winner with Hampshire in 2010 and this year, only made his Twenty20 international debut versus South Africa at Edgbaston last week but boasts 68 competitive 20-over wickets at an average of 18.22.

Danny Briggs & Mohammad Hafeez

Danny Briggs, left, who took 3-15 versus Pakistan, is a "very good young bowler who seems to have a cool head as well", according to Michael Yardy

“His record suggests that he’s an excellent Twenty20 bowler,” Yardy told ecb.co.uk.

“It’s not as if he’s just bowled at certain times. He’s opened the bowling, bowled in the middle, bowled at the end for Hampshire.

“I think he’s a very, very good young bowler who seems to have a cool head as well. He could be one of the stars of the tournament if he does get to start in that team.

“It’s going to be difficult because Samit Patel has batting as well. It’s a tricky dilemma, but a good one to have.”

Yardy would not be averse to seeing Briggs and Patel playing alongside Swann, who took 10 of the duo’s 14 wickets in the 2010 competition.

“If they could play all three, that would work pretty well especially because the pitches do turn a little bit,” he added.

“It’s great to bowl with Swanny because he doesn’t just put pressure on and squeeze batsmen, he gets wickets at crucial times as well which makes it easier bowling at the other end.”

While Yardy, who played the last of his 14 T20 internationals in January 2011, takes a strong interest in England’s latest spinners, he does not overstate the dominance of slow bowlers on the sub-continent.

No longer are Asia’s pitches alien to visiting sides. In England’s case, those who have played t20 for their counties will have had a taste of what lies ahead according to Yardy.

“I think England have a very good chance. A lot is made of sub-continent conditions but I think in the short form of the game it’s not so relevant,” he said.

“Some of those Twenty20 pitches you play on over here, especially when it was 16 games, a lot of them were played on worn, slow, low, turning pitches. More and more in England now you’re seeing those kind of pitches. I think the keys is they’ve got quality spinners.”

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