Somerset seamer Craig Overton, who featured in the 2019 Ashes, has asserted that he is itching to get back into the England Test side and is keen to help the Three Lions win the Ashes Down Under. With 32 wickets in 5 games, Overton is currently the highest wicket-taker in the ongoing County season.
A tall medium pacer who is a master at seaming the ball around, Craig Overton has, unfortunately, to date, not been able to crack the international cricket code. The 27-year-old featured in both the 2017 and 2019 Ashes, after tearing domestic cricket through his performances, but injuries meant that he could never get an extended run in the side. The Somerset man has not featured for England since Ashes 2019, but, in the meantime, has yet again been tearing the County Championship apart.
Since the start of last season, Overton has scalped a remarkable 62 wickets at an average under 14, and this season is currently the highest wicket-taker, having taken 32 wickets in just 5 games, at an astonishing average of 13.96. England are expected to rest some of their all-format stars in the Tests against New Zealand, and Overton is keen to find his way back into the Three Lions’ setup. Not just that, the right-armer is hopeful of getting picked for The Ashes and helping England win Down Under for the first time since 2011.
“I want to be getting back into the England side. I feel like I’ve been okay when I’ve played for England. I’ve not been the best that I can be but I feel like I’ve not let myself down that much. I hope to get into the side and have a decent run of fitness and actually prove that I can be there. All my games have been against Australia so actually to be there, Down Under, and win the series would be nice,” Overton told Talksport.
Someone who has already been at the receiving end of an Ashes drubbing Down Under, Overton understands the challenge of playing Australia in Australia, but the 27-year-old is hopeful that experience ‘England Lions’ garnered last year will come to the players’ aid later this year. In early 2020, the Lions completed an extended tour of Australia and remarkably exited the country unbeaten, winning three limited-over games and an unofficial Test against Cricket Australia XI and Australia A respectively.
“They’re a good side, especially Down Under, aren’t they. They know how to win games over there. We’ve had that one series where we won otherwise we’ve scratched around there trying to win games.
“We had a good Lions experience the Winter before and we beat a strong Australia A side in a day-night game at the MCG. It was good for us and gave the younger side the confidence that we can go to Australia and win games of cricket. It gives us confidence that we can go back down there and win a few more games.”
In the same Talksport show, former English pacer Steve Harmison also vouched for the selection of Overton. Harmison described Overton’s domestic exploits as ‘phenomenal’, and asserted that the Somerset man would be a handful on bouncy Australian wickets.
“We talk about players who are on the verge of playing for England or close to playing for England or being away with England, and Craig Overton is right up there. He’s got 61 wickets at an average of 13 since the start of last season in the Championship. That’s phenomenal figures for anybody. He’s 27 years old now - body is developing after a lot of injuries as a young man. With a winter coming up in Australia, where the ball bounces, somebody who is 6’6 or 6’7 could be a handy weapon to have, when you’re touring Australia. I’m sure he is in the forefront of the selectors’ mind,” Harmison said.