Essex v Surrey, Chelmsford, 1st day May 25, 2014

'I can do England spinner job' - Batty

Vithushan Ehantharajah at Chelmsford
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Surrey's 36-year-old offspinner Gareth Batty, fresh from taking a career best 8 for 68 against Essex at Chelmsford, believes he is the man to replace Graeme Swann as England's lead spinner.

Batty's last appearance for England came in a rain-affected ODI defeat to West Indies in March 2009, while his last Test match was much further back, in June 2005, against Bangladesh at Chester-le-Street. Since his last game in an England shirt, Batty has taken 145 first-class wickets at an average of 38.72. While those figures are not spectacular, Batty feels he is at a place in his career where his confidence in his ability is at an all-time high.

"I think my skills are good enough," Batty told ESPNcricinfo. "I look around, as an offspinner and batting, I don't see anybody who can do it the way I can. I truly believe that. It's the first time in a very long time.

"I think sometimes you just understand the positions your body gets into and you know what reaction you get at the end of that. I think I am relatively comfortable now at saying, 'This ball I'm going to do this' and I can execute it."

Batty's seven Tests came mostly as back-up to Ashley Giles, with 11 wickets to his name and a modest bowling average of 66.63. Giles eventually made way for Monty Panesar, before Graeme Swann made the role his own from the end of 2008 until his retirement just before the 2013 Boxing Day Test, taking 255 wickets at 29.96.

Scott Borthwick was England's spinner in their most recent Test but, with uncertainty as to who will fill the role against Sri Lanka in the series beginning on June 12, Batty is keen to put his hand up.

"I think in patches over the last few years I've bowled really well," he said. "Swanny was the best England spinner ever and I was not going to oust him. Now, I think I'm good enough to do it. I'd say it's the first time in my career that I would actually say that to people - easily, I can do the job."

Batty's was the first eight-wicket haul for a Surrey spinner since Anil Kumble took 8 for 100 against Northamptonshire at The Oval in 2006. Having just recovered from a broken hand, Batty came into the side to replace Stuart Meaker and is keen to build on his impressive start to push his England claims.

"If I'm going to get picked, first and foremost, I've got to play for Surrey. It's been nice to get a game and take a few wickets. I felt I'm bowling as well as I ever have done, all this year really. I didn't quite do what I wanted to do at the end of last year, but I have rectified a few things and it's just nice when you get a few poles."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY markatnotts on | May 26, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    Re - Batty, I agree top character turns the ball significantly. But I saw him in SL 2003 alongside Giles at Galle. In a drawn Test only Murali for them and Giles for us had exceptional economy whilst taking wickets. Batty was far to loose on a track good batsmen shouldn't score quickly on. Ok at 36 the control may be better, but if so why hasn't he been on the radar as a stand in for Swann?

  • POSTED BY grahaam on | May 26, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    Ridiculous suggestion...make Root do the Job, and bolster with another all rounder, either seam or spin in the bowling side of all round. Forget Gerney now...nice bowler, but nothing more. Each player in the future must be at least 2 dimensional at this level.

  • POSTED BY neil99 on | May 26, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Tredwell? batty? We truly have hit an all time low.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 26, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    england selectors should look for a borthwick or kerrigan.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 26, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    i think England have many options than batty who is 36 years old they should look for a young spinner in kerrigan, borthwick and tredwell.

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | May 26, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    @Yorkshire-86; The worst cricketer to play for England in the last 15 years? Aftab Habib, Darren Maddy, Gavin Hamilton, Chris Schofield, Ian Ward, Richard Dawson, Kabir Ali, Martin Saggers, Sajid Mahmood? Long queue for that title; though no real contenders since at least the last 5 years.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | May 26, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    No no no please God no! The worst cricketer to play for England in the last 15 years recalled at 36 on the back of one freak innings?

  • POSTED BY bexleylion on | May 26, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    'Young' Gareth Batty for England? I suggest he is the spin bowlers temporamental equivalent of KP? And Surrey have them both...more tears soon?

  • POSTED BY hambat on | May 26, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Still dont understand why Essex is persevering with Greg Smith. He's been a passenger for far too long. And Grayson has the audacity to complain about Essex not scoring enough runs in the first innings.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | May 26, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Great, Batty has the confidence to play for England. Now all he has to do is get 10 years younger and a lot better and he'll be a dead-certain pick.

  • POSTED BY markatnotts on | May 26, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    Re - Batty, I agree top character turns the ball significantly. But I saw him in SL 2003 alongside Giles at Galle. In a drawn Test only Murali for them and Giles for us had exceptional economy whilst taking wickets. Batty was far to loose on a track good batsmen shouldn't score quickly on. Ok at 36 the control may be better, but if so why hasn't he been on the radar as a stand in for Swann?

  • POSTED BY grahaam on | May 26, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    Ridiculous suggestion...make Root do the Job, and bolster with another all rounder, either seam or spin in the bowling side of all round. Forget Gerney now...nice bowler, but nothing more. Each player in the future must be at least 2 dimensional at this level.

  • POSTED BY neil99 on | May 26, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Tredwell? batty? We truly have hit an all time low.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 26, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    england selectors should look for a borthwick or kerrigan.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | May 26, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    i think England have many options than batty who is 36 years old they should look for a young spinner in kerrigan, borthwick and tredwell.

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | May 26, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    @Yorkshire-86; The worst cricketer to play for England in the last 15 years? Aftab Habib, Darren Maddy, Gavin Hamilton, Chris Schofield, Ian Ward, Richard Dawson, Kabir Ali, Martin Saggers, Sajid Mahmood? Long queue for that title; though no real contenders since at least the last 5 years.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | May 26, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    No no no please God no! The worst cricketer to play for England in the last 15 years recalled at 36 on the back of one freak innings?

  • POSTED BY bexleylion on | May 26, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    'Young' Gareth Batty for England? I suggest he is the spin bowlers temporamental equivalent of KP? And Surrey have them both...more tears soon?

  • POSTED BY hambat on | May 26, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Still dont understand why Essex is persevering with Greg Smith. He's been a passenger for far too long. And Grayson has the audacity to complain about Essex not scoring enough runs in the first innings.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | May 26, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Great, Batty has the confidence to play for England. Now all he has to do is get 10 years younger and a lot better and he'll be a dead-certain pick.

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | May 26, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Hats off to Batty for never ever giving in. That quality rightly earnt him some games for England, where it was comprehensively proven he just couldn't cut it at international level.

  • POSTED BY Jonathan_E on | May 26, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    So, Gareth Batty is seriously proposing the replacement of a spinner with a Test average of under 30, with one whose Test average is over 60, and who moreover happens to be a couple of years older? Pull the other one...

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Batty never was a Test offspinner and never will be, but given his personality his comments come as no surprise.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Dont keep your hopes too high!

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    Swann best ever! Underwood anyone?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    Swann best ever! Underwood anyone?

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Dont keep your hopes too high!

  • POSTED BY on | May 25, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Batty never was a Test offspinner and never will be, but given his personality his comments come as no surprise.

  • POSTED BY Jonathan_E on | May 26, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    So, Gareth Batty is seriously proposing the replacement of a spinner with a Test average of under 30, with one whose Test average is over 60, and who moreover happens to be a couple of years older? Pull the other one...

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | May 26, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Hats off to Batty for never ever giving in. That quality rightly earnt him some games for England, where it was comprehensively proven he just couldn't cut it at international level.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | May 26, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Great, Batty has the confidence to play for England. Now all he has to do is get 10 years younger and a lot better and he'll be a dead-certain pick.

  • POSTED BY hambat on | May 26, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Still dont understand why Essex is persevering with Greg Smith. He's been a passenger for far too long. And Grayson has the audacity to complain about Essex not scoring enough runs in the first innings.

  • POSTED BY bexleylion on | May 26, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    'Young' Gareth Batty for England? I suggest he is the spin bowlers temporamental equivalent of KP? And Surrey have them both...more tears soon?

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | May 26, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    No no no please God no! The worst cricketer to play for England in the last 15 years recalled at 36 on the back of one freak innings?

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | May 26, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    @Yorkshire-86; The worst cricketer to play for England in the last 15 years? Aftab Habib, Darren Maddy, Gavin Hamilton, Chris Schofield, Ian Ward, Richard Dawson, Kabir Ali, Martin Saggers, Sajid Mahmood? Long queue for that title; though no real contenders since at least the last 5 years.