Will Jacks: first look in Test cricket

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We don’t believe you can draw meaningful conclusions from players’ debuts – but we report on them anyway.

England have a long and rich history of travelling to the subcontinent and handing out caps to spin bowling all-rounders who they wouldn’t ordinarily pick for either their batting or their bowling.

These opportunities don’t ordinarily translate into long-term success for the beneficaries. Ian Blackwell didn’t get a second Test after appearing against India in Nagpur. Samit Patel got another five games after his debut against Sri Lanka in Galle, but they only brought seven wickets and no fifties. Liam Dawson looks to be stuck on three Tests, while Zafar Ansari’s three caps were enough to persuade him to give up cricket entirely.

Will Jacks’ first-class batting and bowling averages of 35 and 53 may hint at a similar outcome (a smattering of matches, not necessarily retirement). But potential is often measured elsewhere these days. Jacks also has a T20 strike-rate of 150 and a hundred in The Hundred to his name.

The slightly bits and pieces spin bowling England all-rounder is typically picked to ‘do a job’. So what job did Will Jacks do?

His first contribution was 30 off 29 balls. This was followed by 6-161 when he bowled, which is getting on for Jason Krejza territory.

Most of those six wickets were as a result of big shots. That’s normally a bit of a sneering thing to say – but just think of all the other bowlers who didn’t manage to profit from ambitious strokeplay. We don’t know how closely you were paying attention, but the batting in this match wasn’t defined by an overabundance of caution.

Jacks certainly wasn’t cautious when he batted second time around. His 24 off 13 balls crescendoed with consecutive deliveries that went six, six, six, out.

Not a normal debut. Not a normal Test match.

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  1. I’m having trouble spaking, although I think it’s probably the Covid (much like Pakistan, I held out as long as I could but eventually succumbed just when it seemed like the whole thing was over) as much as the result in Rawalpindi

    1. I think I spake for us all when I say I also carn’t spake. What the hell have we just done?! This is a seismic win, redefining what’s considered possible in test cricket. Fantastic stuff.

      1. That’s a reply to AP Webster, BTW. Although I do hope everyone feels better soon, even if you feel absolutely fine right now. Go ahead, feel even better.

      2. Thanks Bert, I hope you feel progressively better and better until it reaches a level where feeling any better would be a bit silly, really, and then you stay at that level.

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