Essex academy graduate Tom Westley has had a whirlwind summer. The Englishman was key to Essex’s County Championship win, and has since received his first call up to the England test side that faced South Africa. Westley replaced the injured Gary Ballance and was thrown straight into the firing line, placed in the number three batsman spot.
Westley had a mixed debut, scoring 25 and 59, however playing an array of attacking shots against a world-class South African bowling attack. With such an assured performance, many cricket fans around the country expected him to be on the plane to Australia for the Ashes, given England’s injury woes. However, fast forward three months, and Westley is on the plane to Australia but with the England Lions
After a promising start to his career with Essex, Westley has struggled to progress. He scored just 109 runs in the four games since his debut, in a season that saw Essex win the County Championship. Westley came under visible pressure when he was dismissed for single figures four times in the three-match test series against South Africa.
‘Time’s running out’
The Daily Mail’s Cricket Correspondent, Paul Newman, was very critical of the Englishman’s batting technique, but stopped short of ruling out a return for England.
He said: “‘Tom Westley definitely has a chance of coming again as an England player but as his debut came when he was 28 he might be running out of time. The frustrating thing is he did so much right and I know the coaches and other players were impressed with him when he came into the full set-up.
“The trouble was his bottom hand, leg-side technique was quickly found out at the highest level and by the end he was a walking wicket and couldn’t really be taken to the Ashes. Australia would have had him for breakfast.”
Good Years To Come
Westley’s omission might benefit Essex though, as the 28-year-old looks forward to the new County season, with Essex as the reigning County Champions. Although Westley has struggled to impose himself with England, he looks to be a quality County Championship player. The Essex man has 18 first-class hundreds to his name and may still have his best years to come.
But there is no doubt that Westley is a driven individual, with his international debut coming a whole decade after making his first-class debut. Westley faces a key decision on the future of his international career. the Essex-man faces the prospect of missing out for England if he doesn’t change his batting technique.
Essex have a perfect situation with a player who is in desperate need for runs. When the County Championship returns in 2018 Westley will be vying to get big runs in the early season to get his name in the mix for the first test of the summer. However, Essex will be hoping Westley can reignite his 2017 form for the upcoming season, in a hope of retaining the County Championship.