James Michael Vince
March 14, 1991, Cuckfield, Sussex
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
With a wide range of strokes and an ability to time the ball shared by few, it was understandable that England's selectors kept providing opportunities to James Vince.
Despite a supporting role in the World Cup triumph - he won a late call-up as first reserve batsmen when the team management lost patience with Alex Hales and went on to play three matches in the tournament - there was still a sense that, after more than 30 international appearances and despite his undoubted elegance, Vince has promised rather more than has delivered in several opportunities in the England side.
Vince was first given the summer of 2016 to prove that he had the ability to succeed at England level. Sadly, appearances - initially at least - proved misleading. In seven Tests, against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, he averaged 19.27 without a half-century and was repeatedly fallible on the drive outside off stump. Only one Championship hundred for Hampshire added to his mournful air. Vince did manage an ODI half-century against Sri Lanka and showed more promise in T20Is, but those who had lobbied long and hard for his inclusion were particularly disappointed with the outcome of his first international summer as his undoubted style was not matched by substance. Even then they insisted that statistics showed that his ill luck was that he tended to play and edge rather than play and miss.
But Vince was not to be denied so easily - or at least Vince's advocates weren't. He only averaged 33 in the Championship in 2017, but still found himself on the plane to Australia after England's selectors observed the failure of Tom Westley, and others, to make the No 3 position their own and turned to Vince once again. Simmering talent or habitual maker of soft 20s and 30s? It seemed that England were about to find out.
He began with an impressive 83 in Brisbane before he was run out, but only passed 50 once in his next eight innings. Despite 76 in Christchurch in a drawn Test in New Zealand, he was axed again in the English summer even though England were struggling for top-order options. England's new national selector, Ed Smith, seemed to want proof of desire at Hampshire. He responded with 201 from 437 balls against Somerset at Taunton but was overlooked all the same, he topped Hampshire's averages, and his 50-over cricket included a sublime 171 against Yorkshire but his defiance waned and he ended the season feebly with no score above 30 in his last nine innings.
A Wiltshire boy who found his way into the Hampshire set up, he was first tipped as a star of the future when the former England coach Duncan Fletcher, who worked with Vince at the Hampshire academy, said he was reminiscent of Michael Vaughan. Like Vaughan, an adherence to sound technique does little to temper his attacking instincts. To attract England's interest more regularly, though, he needed to answer a perception that he suffers a greater proportion of soft dismissals than a player of his ability should.
Vince has enjoyed one-day success with Hampshire, his red ball cricket has slowly advanced and he has been a regular in the England Lions squad, impressing with his methodical approach.
After he broke into the Hampshire side in 2009 he averaged over 50 in his first round of limited-overs matches before impressing again for England at the Under-19 World Cup. He became a First XI regular in 2010, and in August of that year confirmed his pedigree with an innings of 180 against a Yorkshire attack that included Ajmal Shahzad, Tim Bresnan and Adil Rashid at Scarborough. In that innings he added 278 with Jimmy Adams, breaking Hampshire's fourth-wicket record which had stood since 1970.
Vince went past 1000 career runs for Hampshire while still a teenager - the second youngest player in the county's history behind Phil Mead to do so. In 2012 he averaged 55.50 as Hampshire won the Clydesdale Bank 40, the second part of a one-day double. 2013 saw great improvement in the County Championship and he passed 1000 first-class runs in a season for the first time. That winter he toured Sri Lanka with England Lions and during the following close season in 2014-15, was picked for the Lions trip to South Africa.
Vince enjoyed a stand-out season in 2014 after being named Hampshire vice-captain. He made a mighty 1525 runs - the highest tally in the country - at 61.00 as Hampshire won Division Two of the County Championship and also made a superb 93 from just 51 balls to steer his side to victory in a T20 quarter-final at Notts.
His career progressed substantially in 2015 when he made his England one-day debut against Ireland in May and was named as captain of the Lions T20 squad to face Pakistan A in Dubai in December. He also assumed the Hampshire captaincy in all formats at only 24, hailed by his chairman Rod Bransgrove as "a genuinely gifted and creative captain with a maturity beyond his years."
Ahead of the 2015 season it was announced that Vince would become captain for both limited-overs formats, assuming the 50-over captaincy from Jimmy Adams. By the end of the summer, he had replaced Adams in all three formats only for his career to falter when England came calling.
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Debut/Last Matches of James Vince
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