Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick tipped for Test cricket

Michael Di Venuto has tipped Durham's Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick for England honours

Durham batsman Mark Stoneman
Durham batsman Mark Stoneman

Michael Di Venuto has tipped Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick to play Test cricket for England after making light of his absence.

Stoneman and Borthwick top Durham’s batting averages in this season’s County Championship.

The former has flourished in the role of senior opener he took from Di Venuto, along with his fellow left-hander’s squad number. Responsibility clearly sits well with him, having also filled in as captain.

“I’d been saying for a long time what a good player Mark Stoneman was, but no one believed me, did they?” jokes Di Venuto. “It’s been really pleasing seeing him score a lot of runs this year,” he said.  and hopefully he finishes the back half of the season off as well as he started it. “Rocky’s had an excellent first half of the season and I know he’s impressed Colly (Paul Collingwood). If he can finish the season strongly there may be a Lions tour for him or something like that because he’d thrive in that sort of environment.

“It’s a great sign when you can take on extra responsibility and still perform, or your performance is even lifted. It’s good to have a young kid from the North East skipper Durham.

Stu Forster/Getty Images Lancashire keeper Gareth Cross looks on as Durham batsman Scott Borthwick hits out
Lancashire keeper Gareth Cross looks on as Durham batsman Scott Borthwick hits out
 

“He always asked a lot of questions about the game and was willing to learn. He had good ideas. It’s something the club always encouraged, that everyone had a voice, it wasn’t just the captain or the senior players who said something, it was important the younger players had their say. He’s always been one to do that and he’s got some good ideas.”

Borthwick jumped from eight to three in Durham’s batting order in April, With six games still to play, he is close to doubling his Championship runs total over last season.

“Scotty Borthwick’s always been a batter, and a good batter,” says Di Venuto, now Australia’s batting coach. “It’s good to see him stepping up and scoring some good runs. Hopefully in the second half of the season he can get a bit more of a bowl on the dry wickets.” It would be good to see him taking a lot of wickets as well because he’s a super-talented cricketer.

“Scotty’s already played a couple of (limited-overs) games for England, Stoneman and (Ben) Stokes are highly- talented cricketers. There’s three guys who seem as though they can all play for England together.” at one time or another.”

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