As part of the selection reshuffle that the ECB announced last week, national selector Ed Smith will leave his role at the end of the month with England coach Chris Silverwood taking “overall responsibility” for England Men’s squad selection moving forward.
He has assistance of course, with Alec Stewart and John Emburey two of the 11 scouts that will form part of the team led by James Taylor.
Those 11 will file scouting reports, which will then be used by ECB analysts to provide data that will inform the selection process.
But who could have caught the eye over the first few weeks of the County Championship season? We’ve highlighted five players that may be in Silverwood’s thoughts…
Having spent so much time over the past six to 12 months as part of the England bubble but seen few opportunities to impress, it’s fantastic to see Matt Parkinson back enjoying his cricket and taking wickets.
With 15 wickets already, the leg-spinner is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the competition despite only playing two games while the majority of the field have played three.
Parkinson spun Lancashire to victory against Kent at Canterbury over the weekend, finishing with figures of 7/126 in the second innings.
He’s clearly a player that England like and he’s showcasing exactly why at the moment.
It’s been nearly five years since the last of Haseeb Hameed’s three Test appearances and though that period has had its ups and downs, the top-order batsman looks back in form.
Hameed left Lancashire to join Nottinghamshire in 2020 and has been in impressive nick for the Trent Bridge outfit in the past two games – following up a half-century against Warwickshire with two centuries against Worcestershire.
Hameed faced the most deliveries in any County Championship game ever against Worcestershire (635) – just the sort of patience and grit you want from your opener.
In Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, and Zak Crawley, England aren’t exactly short of talented opening options but the 24-year-old could put his name back into the mix if he continues this form.
James Bracey has been a part of the England bubble over the past year but is yet to make his Three Lions debut, though that may not be far off given his impressive recent performances.
Gloucestershire have shocked many by making an unbeaten start to the County Championship season, claiming the scalps of both Surrey and Somerset already, and Bracey has been key to their success.
The wicket-keeper batsman is the seventh-highest run-scorer in the competition with 343 runs at an average of 68.60, having hit 50s against both Surrey and Hampshire, as well as a first-innings 114 and a second-innings 83* in the West County derby win.
England are hardly short of fast bowling talent but Ollie Robinson could well get another chance in the Test arena this summer if he continues at his current rate.
The Sussex quick is the leading wicket-taker in the County Championship with 20 at an average of 14.35 and produced surely the bowling performance of the season so far when he blew away Glamorgan in Cardiff, finishing the second innings with figures of 9/78.
He’s also chipped in down the order with some runs, adding 57 against Lancashire and 67 against Glamorgan.
With Ben Stokes set to miss the start of the summer due to his fractured finger, Silverwood may well be on the lookout for a potential replacement and Ryan Higgins could be just that.
Only Robinson has taken more wickets than his 17 in this year’s County Championship, while his 73 against high-flying Hampshire over the weekend illustrated his quality with the bat.
If he’s not already on the list of potential Stokesy replacements, he surely will be soon.