OWAIS Shah has backed James Vince to bat his way into the England team.
Vince shone with a 38-ball 68 in Hampshire’s latest T20 Blast win away to Middlesex on a day that saw England humbled by Sri Lanka.
Shah, who also starred with an unbeaten 49 from 26 balls, believes there is no better batsman in the country on current form.
He said: “I’ve played against James for a few years, he’s a talented guy who didn’t quite put up the numbers in the longer form of the game often enough to be considered for the next level.
“But this year he’s really been on fire in all forms, especially in four-day cricket and he looks a world-class player. There are some middle-order places up for grabs and I think he’s as good as anyone in England right now, the way he’s striking a cricket ball.”
Former Middlesex batsman Shah will play for Hampshire against his most recent county when Essex visit the Ageas Bowl on Friday.
But that is the last game of his three-match deal. With Michael Carberry and Glenn Maxwell expected to be available for Kent’s visit a week on Thursday, his future beyond this Friday is uncertain.
“I’m desperate to play more so hopefully I’ll get the nod to hang around a bit more,” he said.
Shah, who has played for several T20 sides on many continents, has been impressed with Hampshire in helping them to two wins in three days.
“Hampshire have a very good formula going with a new captain setting his standards very high and we’re following his lead,” he continued.
“They’re very well drilled, they swear by a formula that works for them and are going from strength to strength.
“All the good teams I’ve played for have a similar pattern; people are assigned a particular role and they do it well and Hampshire do that. Everything falls into place.”
Shah, who made an unbeaten 17 from 22 balls at Sussex on Friday night, batted more fluently yesterday. “I realised I had to play second fiddle on Friday,” he said. “You can’t hit ball in the middle very day of the week, you have to be able to adapt. “The wicket [at Merchant Taylors’ School] was OK for T20 cricket but we batted very, very well.”