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Royal London Cup team of the season: Who joins Cheteshwar Pujara in our XI?

Following Kent’s victory over Lancashire at Trent Bridge, The Cricketer looks back at the best players in the Royal London Cup

Stephen Eskinazi (Middlesex)

Named before the start of the Royal London Cup as a player who was truly unhappy not to have landed a cent contract, Eskinazi made his point in remarkable fashion. There have been four centuries – among them Middlesex’s highest List A score and a world record for three consecutive efforts over 130 – in a spell that derided both a tricky home surface to Radlett and the decision of eight Hundred teams to overlook him.

He made his debut for the England Lions shortly before the start of the competition and finished it as top scorer despite Middlesex – whose batting formation have fired throughout – not being out of his group.

Ali Orr (Sussex)

A solid and unspectacular first game when he entered the Sussex team as a red ball player, a subtle change in the movement of the trigger and a growth in confidence led to an eye-catching change in the game of Orr.

In the absence of Tom Haines, who missed much of the tournament with a broken hand, the big southpaw gave Sussex a sense of authority at the top of the sleeves, reaching his second List A century and turning it into a co- third. -the highest A-list score ever in England. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of the Royal London Cup, a 21-year-old with a double cent over 50 is nothing to sniff at. A possible bolter for a place in the Lions of England this winter.

Ollie Robinson (Kent)

Sent on loan by Kent in the T20 Blast at a time when County couldn’t fit him into their white-ball plans, he made that assessment extremely stupid when he entered the Royal London Cup with a double cent against Worcestershire which put Kent on the path to the group stage for a run that would ultimately end in the final at Trent Bridge.

It wasn’t Robinson’s only major contribution: he was lost to heroism by Darren Stevens, but it was the 23-year-old’s 95 after Kent lost two power-play wickets that finally allowed his team to win the semi-final. at the Ageas Bowl. At 23, he is a good player with an exciting future and promises to be a significant loss for Kent if, as expected, he leaves at the end of the season.

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Jack Taylor had a remarkable tournament for Gloucestershire (Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Cheteshwar Pujara (Sussex)

While Eskinazi was clearly the standout player in the first half of the group stage, it’s hard to shake off the idea that Pujara was the player of the tournament: 624 points in nine games, averaging 89.14, only tell part of the story.

The scale of his contribution is more nuanced than that, however: his runs alone were vital in Sussex’s run to the semi-finals, but his teammates – Orr, Tom Alsop and Tom Clark – were all lifted by beating at the sides of the great Indian. , while Ari Karvelas told The Cricketer it was simply “a privilege” to be captained by the 34-year-old. His composure got the most out of a young side which, for a moment in the semi-final against Lancashire, looked set for the final.

Wiaan Mulder (Leicestershire)

An excellent tournament for the versatile South African, for whom his conclusion was followed by a recall to his country’s Test team. There was a century to go with five more scores over fifty – only Eskinazi and Pujara scored more runs – not to mention 14 wickets, a run only bettered by nine more. It would be a mistake to call it groundbreaking competition for the 24-year-old overseas player, but he played for Leicestershire with an authority and sense of responsibility that perhaps belied his years.

While in the crease, anything was possible – in the tournament opener, he guided them to their seventh-highest List A score with 116 not eliminated; in their quarter-final loss, the match was only lost once it fell for 81.

Jack Taylor (Gloucestershire)

Another established county pro who, like Eskinazi, might consider himself truly unhappy not to have landed a contract with Hundred, given his success at Gloucestershire in T20 cricket. But 401 runs in eight innings from the middle order was a fine effort, done in a way that should have drawn attention elsewhere.

No one in the competition has hit more six than their 23, and they only missed a hundred against Nottinghamshire when they failed trying to hit the milestone – and finish the game – with a six. He played the finishing role with remarkable consistency, averaging 66.83 and striking at 115.22, never once falling for a score below 22. Former off-spinner before he had problems with his action he took 11 wickets in 43 overs with his newly developed. leg circumference.

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Steven Croft nearly dragged Lancashire to victory (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Steven Croft (Lancashire)

For all the Darren Stevens pre-final talk, Lancashire’s own veteran quietly enjoyed being one of the county cricketers of 2022. After finishing the T20 Blast as the fourth top scorer, he has produced 385 carries at an average of 64.16 as his county reached its second white-ball final of the summer, only to emerge second again. Had Croft beaten for another half hour at Trent Bridge – he and Keaton Jennings both had 72 – the result might well have been different.

But Lancashire might not even have reached the final had it not been for their century in the quarter-final against Nottinghamshire in Blackpool where, chasing 339 to win, they led the chase with 115 not eliminated – one of three unbeaten efforts of his competition, which also included an invaluable 87 in a debut win over Derbyshire.

It was the most difficult position to fill in this composite team, considering the number of points scored in all areas. Stevens was one option, Joey Evison another, while youngsters Toby Albert and Tom Lawes both had terrific and promising campaigns in Hampshire and Surrey.

John Turner (Hampshire)

There is a difference between a development competition, which the Royal London Cup is not, and a competition that provides development opportunities, which the Royal London Cup certainly is. Without it, there’s no way Turner – a student at Exeter University and a product of South African cricket – would have found his way into the Hampshire first team, given the presence of Mohammad Abbas, Kyle Abbott and Keith Barker. But with the trio mostly rested until August, Hampshire’s next generation seized their chance in spectacular fashion.

Nick Gubbins went so far as to compare some of Turner’s spells to Abbott after their semi-final loss to Kent, and those links were well founded. Turner, who is yet to make his County Championship debut, took 20 wickets at 16.7 apiece with five runs against Lancashire and Yorkshire. His youth comrades, Scott Currie and Jack Campbell, obtained 18 and 17 points respectively. They are well stocked on the south coast.

Ari Karvelas (Sussex)

One of the stories of the summer in county cricket: the Greece international who had to start early from a T20 World Cup qualifying event in Finland in order to reach Lord’s for his Sussex debut. It was in the County Championship, shortly before he became the focal point of his new club’s couture attack in the Royal London Cup. He won 20 wickets in nine matches including Eskinazi, James Bracey, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw.

After years of trying to earn his chance at 28, it’s hard not to feel pretty shocked for him, considering how things turned out. “I’m grateful to have this opportunity for as long as it lasts,” he told The Cricketer during the group stages. “I’ve waited a long time for this, so I’ll try to take advantage of it.” It is understood that a more permanent deal – his initial stint was essentially on a trial basis – may well be in sight.

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Jack Campbell started the season with Durham but joined Hampshire ahead of the Royal London Cup (Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Brett Hutton (Nottinghamshire)

Where Michael Hogan, Chris Rushworth, Ryan ten Doeschate and Ben Sanderson dominated in 2021, see Brett Hutton, Chris Wright and Olly Hannon-Dalby for the stable of 2022 County experienced tailors who ended up cleaning up in the Royal London Cup. Hutton finished as the first wicket-taker, helped somewhat – after an unspectacular start – by a remarkable run of seven wickets in a victory for Nottinghamshire against Leicestershire, where Wright also took six wickets.

This performance was followed by back-to-back three-wicket spells against Surrey and Lancashire, and suddenly he had more than doubled his tally for the remainder of the tournament. He was an experienced leader in a mostly young side who flew under the radar at times under captain Haseeb Hameed, before losing a high-scoring quarter-final to Lancashire.

Jack Campbell (Hampshire)

Almost the first man to reach the two-year Royal London Cup final in his current form, the left-arm was another youngster to impress in Hampshire’s bowling attack, a year after playing his part in the Durham’s campaign to lose. his place at Trent Bridge when the county chose to choose a few of his hundred returnees. Campbell then signed a contract with Durham, to leave earlier this season and return to his home in Hampshire.

The former England Under-19 tailor was a regular source of wickets for Nick Gubbins’ men, claiming four against eventual winners Kent and sparking the lower-order collapse against Northamptonshire that secured a crucial victory over Isle of Wight. He was one of three bowlers to finish with 17 wickets, tied with the experienced Leicestershire duo of Chris Wright and Beuran Hendricks.


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