‘Would be slightly frustrating if Hartley, Bashir weren’t given enough opportunities’: Brendon McCullum

Written by Mohan Sharma

Ahead of the fifth and final Test at Dharamsala, England’s head coach, Brendon McCullum, opined that it would be “slightly mad” if the spin duo of Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir didn’t get the opportunities to play in the County Championship.

Hartley and Bashir have been outstanding with the ball in the ongoing Test series against India. Prior to this tour, the duo had no international experience and had played minimal domestic cricket.

There were many speculations about how Ben Stokes would deal with such inexperienced spinners.

However, both bowlers have proven many others wrong. Everyone will remember how well they bowled. Despite their lack of experience, both bowled incredibly well and caused significant problems for Indian batsmen.

Hartley is the leading wicket-taker in the ongoing Test series, with 20 wickets in the four matches he has played so far in the series; on the other hand, Bashir has 12 wickets in the two matches at Rajkot and Ranchi.

McCullum asserted that it would be slightly frustrating if Hartley and Bashir didn’t get opportunities in County Cricket.

“It will be a slight frustration of ours if they weren’t given opportunities at county level.

“There’s a very real possibility that might be the case, but without wanting to dictate to counties because they have their own agendas as well, when you see performances like we have out of those two bowlers throughout the series, I think you’d be slightly mad if you didn’t give them more opportunities in county cricket,” McCullum said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

The former New Zealand skipper further stated that England will give the opportunities to both players as they are good enough for international cricket.

“It would be nice to think they’d get plenty of opportunities so that they can improve at a quicker rate. Whether those opportunities are with counties or with England.

“I think we’ve just got to keep trying to get cricket into them. Whatever opportunity we can, we’ll try and give it to them because there’s two guys there more than good enough for international cricket. They’re also tough characters,” the head coach added.

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Mohan Sharma