Former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes pace bowler Matthew Potts is an exciting Test prospect for the country and if he is carefully nurtured by stalwarts Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, he could serve the national team for years to come.
Potts, 24, has played a vital role in England whitewashing New Zealand in the recently-concluded three-Test series and also was pivotal in the home team putting India on the mat on the opening day of the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston on Friday, taking the wickets of Hanuma Vihari and Virat Kohli as the tourists struggled at 98/5 at one stage before Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja resurrected the innings with a 222-run partnership.
However, Hussain added that Potts will also have to score some runs at the backend of the innings to further cement his place in the Test side.
“Now Potts has two exceptional bowlers to left-handers in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad to learn from and maybe he could sit down and talk to them about it. They both tend to go round the wicket to the lefties whereas so far Potts has tried both round and over and it is just an area he will have to work on now he is at the highest level,” opined Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.
“Otherwise there is much to be excited about. Potts has a big heart, he’s good in the field and he is better with the bat than we have seen with England so far. He will have seen how Jamie Overton made 97 in the final Test against New Zealand and will realise he has to contribute some runs to be confident of cementing his long-term place in this England side.”
Hussain added that confidence in his abilities made Potts the right candidate to serve England Test cricket for long.
“There are small things, too, that mark Potts out. He’s a confident lad. That might not sound the most important thing and people might say ‘what difference does that make?’ but his attitude strikes me as someone who feels he belongs at this level. He wants to be here and is not shy and doubting himself.”
With so many England fast bowlers injured and Broad and Anderson coming towards the end of their careers, the Three Lions will have to keep unearthing good young talent and Hussain felt Potts fits the bill.
“(England director of men’s cricket) Rob Key said before the New Zealand series (that) Potts could be a point of difference in this attack and you can see what he means even though he’s not express pace. The speed gun will tell you he’s bowling at low 80s but actually batters are rushed by him because of that slightly different trajectory and he’s a little bit skiddier and catches you in that in-between length.
“Potts is always at you and has been mightily impressive in his debut season of Test cricket. And that’s a massive tick for the new England management,” added Hussain.