Newell tips Briggs for great things
England Lions coach Mick Newell believes it is only a matter of time before Danny Briggs plays for England.
Briggs, the 19-year-old left-arm spinner, enhanced his reputation considerably with a sparkling tour of the West Indies in which he finished as the leading bowler in the four-day domestic competition.
He flew home yesterday boasting a tally of 33 wickets at an average of 18.87, and with the words of an effusive Newell ringing in his ears.
“He’s got a very high chance of playing international cricket,” Newell told ecb.co.uk.
“He had a great tour and there’s much more to come from him. A bit more development with the Lions and he won’t be far away.”
Briggs’ impressive haul, on largely unresponsive pitches that favoured the batsmen, included match figures of 9-177 in the Lions’ last game, when Jamaica, nine wickets down in their second innings, hung on to secure a draw.
It was the latest example of the growing maturity of a player of whom much is expected by the England hierarchy and his county employers, Hampshire.
“He has got good control, a change of pace and he has spun the ball more as the tour has gone on,” added Newell. “He can perform any role, whether as an attacking bowler or keeping things tight.
“Against the Windward Islands he was our leading spinner,” he said, referring to Briggs’ second-innings haul of 6-45 en route a 258-run win in which Adil Rashid also played a key part.
“He has taken up the mantle. For a lad of 19, he’s a very calm character; nothing seems to phase him.
“I took Danny to Bangladesh with England Under-19s last year and I have seen the improvement since then. But he also improved over the course of this tour.”
While Briggs’ achievements were the most noteworthy aspect of a two-month tour, Newell was also keen to pay tribute to the contributions of several other members of a talented Lions squad.
Nineteen wickets at 15.63 apiece helped earn Jade Dernbach a late call-up to England’s World Cup squad, while James Hildreth, James Taylor, Andrew Gale, Craig Kieswetter and Jimmy Adams shared seven centuries.
The Lions’ failure to force the win against Jamaica which would have earned them top spot in the table - instead, they had to settle for third - was a source of obvious disappointment for Newell.
However, he can take much credit for his part in a tour which saw individual progress as well as team success.
“You want to win but you have to try and balance the two,” Newell said. “You want to give players a chance to impress. The players played at least three games and we finished unbeaten.”
Newell, as Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket, now turns his attention to their preparations for the new season, and hopes to put some of the lessons learned in the Caribbean to good use in his day job.
“I’ve missed some of Notts’ pre-season training, and I would normally be in Abu Dhabi at the moment for the MCC game,” he said.
“But from my point of view to work with different players is very useful. It’s not so much learning about specific players that Notts will come up against this season; it’s more about learning how to manage players.”