'I back my ability, 100%': Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory ready for international stage after superb England debut in final warm up game
Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory has insisted he is ready for international cricket after some explosive hitting in England’s final warm-up game before Thursday night's first T20 against New Zealand.
Gregory smashed an unbeaten 29 from 11 balls on his senior debut as the tourists racked up 188 for five.
And although he was later eclipsed by Colin Munro, who butchered 107 not out from 57 to lead a New Zealand Cricket Board XI to an eight-wicket win, Gregory’s fireworks boded well for the five-match series starting in Christchurch.
Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory (pictured) has insisted he is ready for international cricket
With Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali all rested for these T20 games, Gregory is vying with the Curran brothers, Sam and Tom, as well as Chris Jordan, for the temporary tag of England’s leading all-rounder.
And the 24 runs he hit in one over from seamer Anurag Verma, including two sixes, suggested he could slot straight in to the big-hitting template laid out by captain Eoin Morgan as England prepare for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
‘I back my ability, one hundred per cent,’ said Gregory. ‘If I get a crack, I’ll go out there and perform. I feel I’m mature enough to be able to deal with it. There’s more than just a slogger in there.
Colin Munro put on 107 to help a New Zealand Cricket Board XI beat England by eight wickets
‘I back my ability one hundred per cent,’ said Gregory. ‘If I get a crack, I’ll go out and perform'
‘This series is a great opportunity for any of the guys to put their hands up and go: “Look at me, look at what I can do”. They’ll be pushing to stake a claim for that T20 World Cup.’
Gregory admitted his seam bowling had ‘cobwebs’ as he conceded 27 in two overs and he apologised to fellow debutant Matt Parkinson after dropping an outfield catch off his bowling during an impressive performance from Lancashire’s leg-spinner.
Selection for England’s Test squad against Ireland earlier in the summer was an early indication that Gregory — at 27, the oldest of the tourists’ batch of new faces — is regarded by the selectors as a multi-format cricketer.
Lewis Gregory and Joe Denly of England walk from the ground at the end of the first innings
But while Munro was blazing nine fours and seven sixes around Lincoln’s picturesque but chilly Bert Sutcliffe Oval, adding 138 in 11 overs with Anaru Kitchen, England’s bowling looked especially vulnerable.
Tom Curran began tidily but Pat Brown took his figures across the two practice games to 7-0-80-1 and Saqib Mahmood was unable to stem the flow. At least Parkinson looked the part, raising hopes he could yet form an intriguing two-pronged leg-spin attack with Adil Rashid.
After removing Anton Devcich with his third ball in England colours, Parkinson was somehow denied an lbw decision when Munro had 26, then had Kitchen dropped on 17 by the contrite Gregory. Defeat came with nine balls to spare.
Gregory is vying with the Curran brothers, Sam and Tom (pictured), as well as Chris Jordan, for temporary tag of England’s leading all-rounder during this tour
Earlier, James Vince top-scored with 46, while Joe Denly accelerated sweetly during an unbeaten 39. But England will be mildly concerned than Somerset opener Tom Banton followed the 11 he made on Sunday with just six here, before miscuing a lofted drive.
More concerned, that is, than his county team-mate. ‘I’m not sure there’s too much going on up top with Bants so I’m not sure he’s going to be too worried,’ said Gregory.
‘He had an absolutely fantastic Vitality Blast. I watched him in the nets the other day, and he was striking it pretty well, so if that opportunity comes, I’m sure he’ll take it.’