While England’s selectors are still weighing up how best to fill the void created by James Taylor’s premature retirement, Cuckfield’s James Vince certainly has some big-name support.
The discovery of a serious heart condition meant Taylor was forced to retire aged 26 in April and, with a bumper summer series against Pakistan to come, the most unfortunate of circumstances will breed an opportunity for someone.
And, having scored a century against his team in this season’s County Championship, Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow believes Vince is the man for England.
“We played against Hampshire earlier in the year and he played very nicely and we know the quality of Vincey,” Bairstow said.
“As for this summer, anything is possible.
“It’s a great opportunity for people with the loss of James and with that there’s an opportunity for someone to come into that middle order, so there’s places up for grabs.”
Vince has been solid if unspectacular against Sri Lanka, with knocks of nine and 35 helping England to a 2-0 series lead.
But Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel agrees 25-year-old Vince is worthy of adding to his haul of England caps.
“The shot making he has got, he has the ability to take the game away from people, especially if he bats in the middle order,” said Patel.
“There will come a crunch time where you want to take the game away and I think he’s got the capabilities alongside Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. Stick another one in there, like Vince, and anything could happen.”
Vince will hope to continue to catch the eye of the selectors when Hampshire kick off their Royal London-One Day Cup campaign against Essex at the Ageas Bowl on June 5.
They are set to take on Middlesex, reigning champions Gloucestershire and Surrey before the end of the month, followed by matches with Kent, Sussex and Glamorgan before concluding against Somerset.
The top four teams in each group will reach the quarter-final stage with the ultimate goal a place in the final at Lord’s on September 17.
And Bairstow, 26, believes it’s hard to pick a winner with the tournament set to be one of the most competitive ever.
“There are a lot of very strong teams, it’s an open competition, literally anyone could win,” he added.
“I’m pretty sure at the start of last season not many people would have said Gloucestershire would win it but everyone can beat everyone in this competition on your day.
“That’s what makes it exciting, you have got to be on your game all the way through the competition and when it comes to those latter stages it’s knockout competition if you’re off for an hour or even a couple of overs you can get knocked out of that competition.”
As proud sponsors of the One Day Cup, Royal London is giving away match tickets to see the action live. Visit royallondoncricket.com to enter
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