England in South Africa 2015-16 February 16, 2016

Vince expecting a battle for his place

ESPNcricinfo staff

It is a rare scenario for a Man of the Series not to be assured a starting place when the team he starred for next takes the field. But that's the situation James Vince finds himself in ahead of the T20 series against South Africa which acts as preparation for the World T20 in India next month.

Vince scored 125 runs in the three T20s against Pakistan in November but is not nailed on to start in England's first-choice XI. England juggled their options against Pakistan - and may do the same against South Africa - but will need to know their preferred line-up by the time they open their World T20 campaign against West Indies on March 16.

Vince's success came in the top three where there is a log-jam for positions alongside Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Joe Root. Hales, who was Man of the Series in the ODIs against South Africa and has England's lone T20I century, and Joe Root are assured of starting so Vince may have to topple Roy - who had a lean one-day series and has just 80 runs in his six T20Is - to make the final XI

"It's been a breakthrough year," Vince said. "It's only a start. I've had three matches, but they gave me some confidence going into this series. It is a very strong side and there are some exceptional players, so it is going to be tough to get in."

Vince's timing and placement stood out in the series against Pakistan, which are his strengths instead of the brute-force approach employed by some of England's powerful strikers. Vince is comfortable with his style and won't be drawn into any hitting contests.

"I can't hit it as far as Stokes and Buttler" he said. "Yes, I play more traditional cricket shots ... but I think that's why batting in the first six overs is good for me, when the field's up. Then as the innings goes on, I try to pick the gaps - and if there's one in my area, I try to give it a whack."

While it is in T20s that Vince is gaining his England chances so far - he was not part of the one-day squad in South Africa and his lone ODI was a rain-ruined outing against Ireland where he did not bat - it is his traditional virtues which are seeing him tipped for England honours in Test cricket.

It is that ambition to earn a call into the Test team which helped Vince make up his mind not to go into the IPL auction - believing his game was not quite ready for the tournament - and also a desire to put his energies into his first year as Hampshire's club captain.

"I'm not sure my game's quite where it needs to be to be picked up in the IPL anyway," Vince said as England prepared for the T20 warm-up match against South Africa A. "But it's my first season as club captain of Hampshire - so I want to go back there, score some runs and get their season off to a good start and try to push my case for the Test side.''

"My way in has been through Twenty20, but I'd like to progress to the one-day and Test sides."

Although Vince did not put himself forward for the IPL, he has had experience of franchise T20 cricket after a spell with Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League. He played seven matches with mixed results: a top score of 44 but also four single-figure innings.

"It was a pretty good competition, and I played quite a bit of cricket in a short space of time, so it was good preparation for what's to come in India. It was good to play as an overseas player and experience different people in the dressing room, that sort of thing.''

Vince will face South Africa A in Paarl with Root and Ben Stokes likely to be rested while Hales may also sit out. Liam Dawson, the Hampshire allrounder, who has been included for the World T20, is with the team in South Africa but is not officially part of this squad while Liam Plunkett, who picked up an injury on the Lions tour in Dubai after being named as a replacement for Steven Finn but won't be going to India, has stayed in Potchefstroom where he has been rehabilitating.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andy on February 18, 2016, 11:46 GMT

    Looks like Vince is most similar to Joe Root in terms of the role he plays. Can't see him getting in to the starting XI unless Roy fails to fire. But he's certainly one for England's future - I would very much like to see him given a run in the Test team.

  • Graham on February 17, 2016, 19:35 GMT

    De Bruyn batted well AGAIN. We should get him in the team....

  • nzcsupporter on February 17, 2016, 18:01 GMT

    Darkandlightblue I think play every game this whole series

  • markbrop on February 17, 2016, 17:02 GMT

    DSA - Spot on about Vince - he averaged 15 at a strike rate of 104 in the PSL.

  • markbrop on February 17, 2016, 16:55 GMT

    simplythebest... " It's what he does for his country which matters most anyway" - Billings is currently averaging 18 for his country in T20 internationals. Its hardly earth shattering and BTW Rashid has never dismissed KP in the BBL. The NatWest T20 Blast is fairly poor TBH. Flintoff was able to hold his own in it a couple of years ago and he hadnt even played cricket for about five years!

  • Alnot on February 17, 2016, 16:15 GMT

    What has Stokes done to deserve a rest? Why is Bairstow not playing?

  • Devinderpal Singh on February 17, 2016, 16:10 GMT

    @simply: If the PSL is no better than the Blast, explain why Vince hasn't dominated it, like he did as one of better batsmen in the Blast last year? Why hasn't Billings got quick 40's? I would love to hear why, lol. It isn't going to get easier against int'l bowlers, so if they can't adjust to changing opposition in alien conditions, one cannot expect them to perform against int'l bowlers, changing after each match, in an ICC event; the biggest event for the format. That is one of their biggest adjustments that they have failed to succeed in, in the PSL, so I do not rate their chances highly.

  • Devinderpal Singh on February 17, 2016, 15:57 GMT

    @simply: Those stats by markbrop say it all. If it was not for Vince's non-performance as an "overseas pro", Karachi, with their one-man wrecking crew in Bopara, would have qualified for the knock-outs by now. I think Vince and Billings will probably talk about them "getting exposure to T20 cricket via the PSL", but then they'll conveniently omit their performances in the same competition (because it reflects badly on them).

    Re: cricket legends: How is Ponting's prediction about Alex Doolan as Australia's Test number 3 doing? How about picking Finch instead of Simmons for the Mumbai Indians last year? Do compare their batting stats for the IPL 2014 and 2015, lol. I wonder if you buy what they sponsor too...after all, they are legends, right? They wouldn't mislead...

    Stokes in Tests is different to Stokes in T20s. Stokes in limited-overs cricket in Asia is awful. Lots of specialist fast bowlers fail in Asia, yet you think Stokes will not? Lol. Roy is a failure at the int'l level.

  • Kevin on February 17, 2016, 15:22 GMT

    @SIMPLYTHEBEST...OED..."pundit - an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called upon to give their opinions to the public". My point being that they may have done it but that doesn't give them the ability to have the best opinions...including that of "talent". @WEREYORKSHIRE...don't disagree but was talking of squad for WC which Plunkett and Overton, Craig or Jamie, are not selected for.

  • Clad on February 17, 2016, 15:20 GMT

    @markbrop. Haha, I was waiting for that! No doubt you were watching the PSL so you could see KP in action? The quality of the PSL from what I have seen is no better than the Natwest T20 Blast where Billings was a star performer last year. It's what he does for his country which matters most anyway, and he did a very good job in the UAE. All some people can think about is averages....

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