Tom Hartley ready to perform in India after England take ‘bit of a punt’ on him

By Sports Desk January 11, 2024

Tom Hartley accepts England have taken a “bit of a punt” in selecting him for a daunting trip to India but the slow left-armer believes he has the tools to thrive.

England’s focus was not on Hartley’s 19 wickets at a modest 44.84 apiece in last year’s LV= Insurance County Championship when they named him in their squad for the upcoming five-match Test series.

Instead, they are banking on Hartley harnessing India’s spinning surfaces in a manner comparable to Ravindra Jadeja and especially Axar Patel, who was England’s nemesis on their last Test tour in 2021.

Hartley’s only previous excursion to India was with Lancashire four years ago although an England Lions training camp in Abu Dhabi a couple of months ago has given him some confidence for the weeks ahead.

“With the conditions being completely different to English conditions, they’ve really analysed what has done well in India and what will do well,” the 24-year-old told the PA news agency.

“It’s nice to see people recognise that I might be the bowler to go out in India and do well. When people have confidence in you like that, it’s fantastic.

“I just feel all that confidence has been passed on to me and I can’t wait to go out there. My stats might not be the best in championship cricket but I bowl very similar to Axar and Jadeja.

“They’re taking a bit of a punt but I feel like I’ve proved myself in the training camps that I’ve been on and I deserve to get a go.”

Hartley suspects he will have a supplementary role if he is given the nod for a series which begins in Hyderabad on January 25, with only Jack Leach among England’s four main spinners capped more than once.

But Hartley, whose international career has comprised of just two ODI appearances against Ireland last year, has given plenty of consideration on how he intends to bowl to the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

“Although I haven’t played much cricket out there, I’m going with a feeling of what I need to bowl,” he said. “I see a lot of similarities between my white-ball bowling here and red-ball bowling out there.

“I feel like the pace, the revs you want to put on it and the shape of the ball will be very similar to white-ball areas – you just want to bowl that little bit fuller.

“As much as Indian’s batters are good players of spin, the conditions should be in my favour. You’ve just got to try not to over-complicate things and keep things simple and keep the stumps in play.

“India’s spinners are great but can we perform as well as them? There will be a lot of fight in us. I won’t be playing as a frontline spinner, so there won’t be tons of pressure on me.”

Hartley, who could also extract extra bounce from a 6ft 4in frame, has been taking on board advice from Graeme Swann, revealing the former England spinner’s straightforward approach is a breath of fresh air.

As for whether he has a similar outgoing demeanour as a spinner who took 255 wickets in 60 Tests and is now a consultant bowling coach, Hartley prefers to keep his cool but is not frightened to speak up.

“Once I’m in a battle or someone’s p*****g me off a bit, I’m not afraid to say what I want to say,” Hartley added, ahead of linking up with England on Thursday for a 11-day training camp in Abu Dhabi.

“That really has to be in the moment sort of feel but I’ve done a bit of both and found that just staying as relaxed as possible and having as little emotion as possible works for me.”

Related items

  • Livingstone says England have grown into World Cup ahead of India clash Livingstone says England have grown into World Cup ahead of India clash

    Liam Livingstone is hopeful England are coming good at the perfect time ahead of their T20 World Cup semi-final against India, having grown into the tournament after a slow start.

    The defending champions almost succumbed to a humiliating group-stage exit, with only old rivals Australia keeping them in with a dramatic victory over Scotland.

    Having finished second in Group B, Jos Buttler's team did likewise in Group 2 at the Super-8 stage, a resounding victory over the United States sending them through at West Indies' expense. 

    England now have a chance to reach their fourth T20 World Cup final and their third in the last four editions, while a third triumph at the tournament would take them clear of the Windies for the outright record. 

    All-rounder Livingstone says England have a chance to prove tournaments are not about how you start, but how you finish. 

    "In tournament cricket, sometimes it is better to sneak up and nick it at the end," said Livingstone. "Hopefully that is the way we will go. 

    "A lot of lads have been contributing in the last few games which should stand us in good stead going forward. We've hopefully got two more massive games."

    Livingstone sustained a torso injury while batting against Namibia in the group stage but has shrugged that problem off to play all of England's matches.

    He has yet to truly hit top form, taking two wickets and scoring 13 and 33 in his two innings with the bat in the middle order, but he is confident a big finish is coming.

    "As a kid I always wanted to be involved, that's the reason I started bowling a few years back," he said.

    "So batting at seven and maybe bowling one over, that's where the hard bit comes as you want to be involved.

    "Thankfully the last two games I struck the ball well against South Africa and bowled pretty well [against the USA], so I feel I'm in a good place."

  • Rashid: T20 World Cup semi-final berth a "dream" for Afghanistan Rashid: T20 World Cup semi-final berth a "dream" for Afghanistan

    Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan hopes the team's "dream" run to the T20 World Cup semi-finals will serve as inspiration to young people across the country.

    Afghanistan will face South Africa in their first World Cup semi-final on Wednesday after edging out Australia to escape the Super 8s with an eight-run win over Bangladesh.

    This is Afghanistan's seventh participation at the T20 World Cup, with the first three all ending in the group stage before they reached the Super 10s in 2016 and the Super 12s in 2021 and 2022.

    Speaking after finishing with figures of 4-23 in Monday's dramatic, rain-affected win over Bangladesh, Rashid said: "I think the semi-final is going to be a massive, massive inspiration for the youngsters back home in Afghanistan. 

    "We have done it at under-19 level, but at this level we haven't done that. Even the Super 8s was the first time for us. It's an unbelievable feeling. 

    "It's like a dream for us. It's all about the way we had started the tournament. The belief came when we beat New Zealand [in the second group match].

    "I don't have any words to describe my feelings. Definitely back home everyone is so, so happy about this."

    While Afghanistan will go into the semi-finals as underdogs, Rashid sees no reason why they cannot go even further.

    "We are capable, as long we keep things very simple, and I think in the whole competition so far we kept things simple," he said. 

    "There were some tough times but we didn't let ourselves down and we always tried to come back stronger."

  • Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke

    Former England strikers Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have defended their criticism of the Three Lions' "terrible" displays at Euro 2024 after Harry Kane said pundits should be more supportive. 

    England have four points ahead of their final Group C fixture against Slovenia, though they were uninspired as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Serbia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

    Their performance in the latter match was fiercely criticised, with Lineker describing the display as "s***" on his 'The Rest is Football' podcast.

    England captain Kane hit back at those comments on Sunday, pointing out ex-players like Lineker failed to win international silverware and telling them to be more "helpful".

    On Monday's edition of the podcast, Lineker said of Kane's response: "I thought he answered it fine.

    "There was one bit there where he says we have responsibilities as ex-England players, that we should know better and that we never won anything or words to that effect.

    "Fine, he's absolutely right. But I will say one thing; the last thing in the world we want to be is downbeat and critical. 

    "We want the England team to perform well on the pitch. The best punditry of all is when England play well."

     

    Shearer was also scathing of Gareth Southgate's team after the Denmark game and has refused to back down, saying: "It's important we never get personal. That's the most important thing.

    "They were terrible and we have to say that. If England were brilliant we'd say they were brilliant, that's the way it is.

    "As a player you always get the right of reply on the pitch. I have no problem with what we said, I wouldn't take anything back we said.

    "England were really poor. I think the vast majority of the country, and even the boys in the squad, will know they were awful against Denmark. There were hardly any positives."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.