Wrist spinners have become the kings of white ball cricket in recent years yet they are being flayed so far in this World Cup in the UK.
Peter Nevill is what Australia has needed at number seven for some time – a grinder. A sensible and busy looking batsman who can be a safe pair of hands, especially when wickets are falling around him.
Since his debut in the 2015 away Ashes summer, Nevill has taken to the crease in 15 innings with already two nicely compiled half-centuries to boast.
Because of his most reliable glovework, we are unlikely to see him overtaken in the Test side for some time. Right now he stakes a better claim on the keeping side than any of Matthew Wade or Tim Ludeman, but there’s no hiding that failing to put scores on the board enough will leave the likes of Peter Handscomb and Sam Whiteman breathing down his neck with superior batting.
If Nevill can produce more innings of the sort we saw in Adelaide’s day-night Test in 2015, he is likely to be the favoured man behind the stumps for many years yet. His 66 in that match higher than any of his teammates, and ultimately crucial to his side being able to win the frantic game it was.
I don’t think he is being asked to emulate Adam Gilchrist or even Brad Haddin for that matter though. But at the present time he needs to see his current batting average of 24 lift well into the 30s. His first-class numbers prior to international selection were sublime, especially in the season before he was selected in the winter, highlighted by a brilliant 235.
In more recent times I don’t think it would be unfair to say his results with the blade have been disappointing. Nevill’s run of Test scores this calendar year show the numbers 7*, 32, 13, 2 and 9.
I have little doubt he is the ideal man to take the place at number seven in the Australian side. Hypothetically, if Australia is in a dire situation at 5 for say 60-70 on the first day of a Test match – which we have seen all too often in recent years – Nevill would be one of the most appropriate players to graft a handy score and get the innings back on track.
His style is perfect to help rebuild an innings and blunt bowling for long periods through his patience and temperament.
I’m yet to see any indication that Peter Nevill isn’t the best keeping choice, but there is still plenty more for him to contribute with the blade for now.