All-round good egg but is he Wright pick?

Wherever Luke Wright goes he is followed by a ray of sunshine. He is a cricketer who exudes happiness in his approach. He likes playing, it shows every time he steps on to the field, in every discipline he undertakes, and for that reason the desire for him to succeed is heightened.

But that joie de cricket can diminish but not conceal the heart of the issue. That Wright is an accomplished player there is no doubt – he hits the ball long and hard, bowls quickly and runs forever round the boundary – but it remains to be seen whether he is quite good enough in either of the main departments.

If the criterion for an all-rounder is that he must be worth his place in a team as both a batsman and a bowler – and it is not one that has been met by many down the years – then he is clearly short of the requirements. But if the bar is set lower, where it is all right to bat a bit and bowl a bit, then he fits it at present like a glove.

For weeks on England's recent tour of South Africa it had been expected that Wright would fill an all-round role in the side, as the seventh batsman and fifth bowler. He was, the indications were, somebody who could do a job and might become better.

Fairly late in the day – although the selectors might say that they had never definitely made up their collective mind – they opted for a six batsmen and four bowlers policy.

Wright has been picked for the whole tour of Bangladesh and he appears to have been embedded in the one-day team of late as the last seamer and a slugging batsman only too willing to meet the needs of the game, whatever its state. This is a hard thing to do at any level of the game.

"I try to be a genuine all-rounder, I try to be both," he said. "I'm personally not worried about the idea that I might not be thought of as good enough at either. I believe I'm good enough. I started to show that last year in the Championship when I got a run together. I haven't played loads of Championship cricket. With playing the England one-dayers I've missed out on different games and not always played the longer form and that's something I was improving at."

This is not the self-deception of the eternal optimist. There is truth in it. He has played 45 Championship matches for Sussex over seven years and 2009 was much his best summer. He scored more runs (527) and took more wickets (21) at better averages than in any previous summer and compiled his first centuries and took his first five wickets in an innings.

Wright clearly has something but whether it is quite enough remains a case for conjecture. Maybe he must be given a go to find out and since he turns 25 later this tour, that needs to be soon. The present management obviously like him but then he is easy to like. His obliging character and potential cricketing weapons see to that.

"I certainly hope the Test chance hasn't passed me by," he said. "There were times when I thought I was going to get close and other people stepped up. I certainly became a better player from the experience of being around the Test squad in South Africa."

He can knuckle down at the crease – witness the repair job, admittedly to no avail, that he and Tim Bresnan constructed in Centurion last October when England slumped to 101 for 6 against Australia in the Champions Trophy semi-final. He can bowl with discipline – remember that last over of a tight match (the only one he bowled) against New Zealand at Napier in 2008 when seven were needed but only six came, thanks to his nerve.

Wright should play today for England, who have come too far with him now, and he is growing into the role. At a floating seven he gives them options, as he does as a bowler capable of hurrying batsmen.

To translate that to higher achievement, and to Test level indeed, are the next steps. Wright is certain to negotiate them with a sunny smile.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine