Durham captain Paul Collingwood has backed Scott Borthwick’s growing claims for an England chance.
Borthwick’s outstanding form as a number three batsman this summer must surely put him in the frame for a Test opportunity, given Nick Compton’s struggle in the role in recent matches.
Sunderland-born Borthwick was given his Test debut in England’s last tour to Australia, playing in the fifth Test in Sydney in January 2014 as a spin option, but he has not been given a chance by the England selectors since.
Borthwick’s batting has improved markedly in the last three seasons and he has already passed 1,000 first-class runs this year, including around 600 for Durham, with three Championship centuries, and plenty of runs for Wellington in New Zealand in the winter.
Compton has been given the nod to continue in the final Test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s next week, but another disappointing performance could mean the axe for the Middlesex man, with Borthwick surely next in line for an England call-up.
He averages 38.46 in first-class matches, an average diminished by his time down the order in the early days of his professional career.
Collingwood, reflecting on the 26-year-old’s imperious 188 not out in the Trent Bridge draw with Nottinghamshire, which ended yesterday, said: “He’s had a magnificent game, what a match he’s had, not just with the runs that he’s scored but also with the ball, he’s landing it pretty well and took some important wickets.
“His batting has been superb for the last few years, so it’s no surprise to us what he can achieve and this was a fine example against an international attack.
“I think his time will come again (with England) – he’s in confident mood and, if he keeps scoring runs, he’ll knock on that door and hopefully he’ll get that opportunity some day.”
Sunderland-born former England fast bowler Bob Willis, now a Sky Sports pundit, reckons Borthwick is “on the cusp” of a recall.
Willis said: “He has had a very good return over the last four Championship seasons, including this one, and the pitches in Durham aren’t like the Test match pitch so you have to work hard for your runs.
“He is a whole lot better than when he had that slightly embarrassing debut - he has shown good character to come back from that and is right on the cusp of getting into the side.”
On yesterday’s drawn clash with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, Collingwood added: “I thought we were going to be in for a dry day and thought we might be in for a run chase at some point but they didn’t seem to want to declare at any point and didn’t seem to want to give us a go.”
Notts batsman Brendan Taylor completed a second century of the match before rain brought an early end to the game.
The Zimbabwean said: “I’m delighted because I’ve been building hard on something I’ve been working with technically with Peter Moores.”
“It’s a nice feeling to know it’s all heading in the right direction. Obviously the weather was frustrating and you can’t control that but I think there’s a lot of positives for batters and bowlers to take, over this past couple of days because we gave ourselves a winning chance.”
“I was ready to declare at lunch (on 82 not out) but the captain and coach said I’d got five more overs afterwards to go out and get as many as I could.”
“It’s nice to contribute to the club and if me contributing means we’re all doing well then it’s exciting to see what lies ahead.”