England news March 9, 2012

Dernbach bullish over Test chances

Jade Dernbach wants to use Surrey's return to Division One of the County Championship to bowl himself into contention for a call-up to England's Test side. Dernbach hopes strong performances in the opening championship matches will help his cause for selection against West Indies in May.

Dernbach, 25, bounced back from a disappointing tour of India in October, where England lost the ODI series 5-0, to play a large part in England's victories in the ODI and T20 series against Pakistan in the UAE. He now wants to push on and earn a first call up in Test cricket.

"We've got four championship games before the end of April and if I can take wickets ahead of the Test matches against the West Indies then that'd be great," Dernbach said. "Now we're in the first division, the standard's going to be that little bit better and there are players in the England set-up that are affiliated to Division Two clubs. Division One is held in a higher regard so if I can come and take wickets and prove that I've got the skills to be Test bowler than that would hold me in good stead."

He faces a challenge to break into a Test side brimming with high-quality fast bowling. James Anderson and Stuart Broad have become England's set partnership with the new ball and Steven Finn, with his highly-acclaimed one-day showings against India and Pakistan over the winter, and Tim Bresnan, who has batting ability to fill the allrounder's slot, are considered the main options to complete the attack.

But Chris Tremlett's absence from the West Indies Tests because of injury eases Dernbach's potential route into the England side. He will have the chance to play in five matches before England's first Test of the season on May 17. "I'm pretty premature in my international career so there's a lot to learn," he said. "But hopefully at the start of the season I'll put my name forward for Test honours."

He feels he has developed his cricket since taking a large knock in confidence after England's drubbing before Christmas. "India was at the end of what was a very long summer and things just didn't go right," he said. "Conditions were alien to a lot of us younger guys who hadn't necessary played there before and India were ready for the backlash after the summer over here. We didn't really envisage things going that way but we've learned from our experience."

Dernbach took 1 for 168 on that tour. Suddenly the tattoos and arsenal of slower balls looked less threatening. He turned to David Saker, England's bowling coach. "David's been brilliant to me ever since I've been involved with England. It was just a matter of talking to him and Andy Flower and formulating a plan."

After the debriefing from the Indian tour, Dernbach took some time off. "I totally got away from cricket and spent some time with the family and had a holiday which was great to clear my mind," he said, before describing how his cricket didn't exactly get back on track in Australia's Big Bash League. "I was unfortunate to be in a team that didn't necessary want me; these things happen. I'd love to have another chance to go back and prove that I'm capable."

But despite ambitions to break into England's Test side, Dernbach has a more modest modest yardstick for what will constitute a successful season. "If I can have what I had last year, wickets and trophies for Surrey than that would be fantastic."

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on March 12, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    This is a bit of a loaded headline anyway. I am quite sure that Jade Dernbach was asked about his Test prospects and the last thing that he wanted to say was anything to make it look like he lacked confidence in his ability or willingness to give it a go. It makes a difference. The reason why Tim Murtagh didn't get into the Irish side earier is, apparently, that he just didn't appear desperate enough to be picked for the Irish to want to try him over a player from within their setup.

  • Mark on March 12, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    Munkeymomo, totally agree. I watched Gloucestershire come back from 58-5 chasing 170 to win last season and, to be honest, was not greatly impressed by the Surrey pace attack. Once the shine was off the ball they did not exactly inconvenience the batsmen much. Jade Dernbach's first class record is pretty poor. Why he and Stuart Meaker are even mentioned as possibles is beyond me! I suspect that it is a case of good one-day bowlers being seen as potential Test bowlers, without a thought to their records. They really need to bowl out a few sides this season in Division 1 and, even then, I would not put them ahead of Anderson, Broad, Finn, Bresnan, Tremlett, Woakes, Shazad, Onions, etc. However, it has given our mate Randy a chance of a good laugh, bless his little heart.

  • Simon on March 12, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    He's not good enough for a test spot, simple as that. His short form success is based on a wide variety of deliveries. In tests accuracy and consistency are key. Lets face it, averages nearly 33 in FC cricket for a reason.

    Anderson, Broad, Finn, Tremlett, Bresnan and Onions are probably the best we have right now, with Harris and Woakes up and coming. Dernbach doesn't come close to the list.

  • Randolph on March 11, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    You'd think he'd be a shoe in with Flower considering the Southern African connection and the umpteen others in the squad. Not only are batting stocks in England so poor they have had to import the likes of Strauss, Prior, Pietersen, Kieswetter, Trott, etc but now it seems the bowling is drying up and the imports have started coming in. The next Ashes team truly will be the United XI. Pietersen, Trott, Strauss, Morgan, Kieswetter, Dernbach, Prior....wow.

  • Mark on March 10, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    He is fast becoming a staple in the ODI and 2020 sides but I'm not convinced he would do as well in tests, he may, he has good pace and a bit of swing so who knows but from watching him a few times against Glamorgan and Gloucestershire in CC2 cricket it didn't look like he was troubling anyone greatly.

  • Michael on March 10, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Well a "test call-up" for Dernbach isn't impossible, but it's far more likely as cover than actually to get a place in the team. Without expressing an opinion as to Dernbach's quality relative to other bowlers, the way England operate these days is to make very few changes unless they are enforced through injuries. Bear in mind also that even apart from the established squad bowlers (Broad, Anderson, Bresnan, Finn, and Tremlett), there are also other bowlers who England have used in the past or developing bowlers who they are currently looking at (e.g., Onions, Shahzad, Meaker, Rankin, etc). Dernbach is most likely to get an opportunity to play test cricket via an epidemic of stress fractures in the England ranks, and I'm sure he wouldn't want to wish that on anyone.

  • Mark on March 10, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Jade Dernbach could step in during an injury crisis and do a decent job. However, he is a very English kind of bowler and, although I can imagine him being occasionally very effective in a home Test, it is hard to see him as a success in Tests at present. It is unfair to give him illusions (more than delusions) of a Test career when his record in CC2 has been modest. Last season he tookl 22 wickets @ 39.6, putting him 10th in the Surrey bowling averages. Overall, he has 182 wickets @ 32.6 in First Class cricket. This is all way short of Test class. In fact, he is probably no more than about 10th in line for one of the (maximum) 4 pace slots. There is a natural London bias in the media and he plays at The Oval, but he needs to have a massively better season this year to be a serious option for the Test side.

  • John on March 10, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    I think that it's great that Dernbach wants to push for a Test spot because having that to aim for will only help him push himself to achieve his best. I don't really see it happening though. He has copped a lot of flak as he didn't really live up to expectations, especially in India. Not many England players did do well in India though, and his performance in UAE was much-improved. If he can continue in that vane then he will be a valuable asset to the England limited-overs teams. You'd have to see at least two of Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Finn to go down before they'd be looking for another fast bowler though, and then a fit Tremlett and Onions would likely be ahead of him. That may change if he has a blinder of a first-class season though.

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