January 10, 2020
• The 33-year-old took his first Test wickets in Cape Town• No 3 batsmen insists big score is ‘just a matter of time’
Joe Denly confident big runs will come as leg-spin proves a welcome bonus
Could Joe Denly become a throwback who reminds us of Ken Barrington or Bob Barber? No, this is not to burden him with being the great Mr Reliable in the middle order like Barrington (who averaged 58 with the bat for England) or another Barber blasting boundaries at the start of the innings in the 1960s while Geoffrey Boycott took the more discreet route. Instead this is a reference to Denly, the bowler.
There was once a tradition of English batsmen propelling leg-spin effectively enough to have an occasional impact on a Test match – especially overseas. Barrington took 29 wickets in his 82 Tests, Barber 42 in 28. Others were less successful; Keith Fletcher would bowl a few wrist-spinners and mustered two Test wickets. More recently Mike Atherton, who took quite a few wickets for Lancashire in his early days, also finished with two in Test cricket, though initially there were hopes he would take many more. So can Denly be more of a Barrington or Barber than a Fletcher or Atherton in this department?
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