Wednesday 18 June 2014 

Comment - Why Is Carberry Being Left Out?

Michael Carberry hits a shot
Michael Carberry has played twice for England this season, but should he feature more prominently?
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Why are the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) snubbing Michael Carberry after the Ashes series in Australia?

Carberry is a flamboyant opener who has an arsenal of attacking and classy strokes, and he was not afraid to put the full package on show during the disastrous series.

Carberry was one of the few bright spots for England during their 5-0 whitewashing at the hands of Australia.

While he only averaged 28.10, it is important to note that he did show flashes of brilliance throughout the gloomy series and was England's second-highest scorer behind Kevin Pietersen. It also seems unfair to judge someone after only one series, especially an Ashes series, where nerves can get the better of anyone, whether they be a debutant or a veteran of 100 Tests.

Many people also don't understand how tough Carberry's journey to international cricket has been. Carberry has not been shy to hide the fact that he considered quitting cricket when he was playing for Kent's second team nearly five years ago. If that seems bad, things took a turn for the worse when Carberry did get his career back on track.

In 2008, Carberry was selected to represent the England Lions in a match against New Zealand. Carberry batted extremely well and ended up making a century.

However, disaster struck after he finished completing his celebrations as he collapsed at the crease and had to be rushed to hospital. It was later revealed that Carberry was in the intensive care unit after two blood clots had been found on his lungs. These were Carberry's darkest days as he spent the next week hooked up to a drip, pondering whether he would ever be able to represent his country or even play cricket again.

Michael Carberry's Career Stats

6 Tests, 345 runs @ 28.75, HS 60

6 ODIs, 114 runs @ 19.00, HS 63

1 T20I, 7 runs @ 7.00, HS 7

161 first-class matches, 11,156 runs @ 43.24, HS 300*

154 one-day matches, 4,295 runs @ 33.03, HS 150*

90 T20 matches, 2,224 runs @ 30.46, HS 100*

Also played six Tests and 12 ODIs for England Under-19s.

Teams played for: England, Surrey (2001-2002), Kent (2003-2005), Hampshire (2006-)

After he was released from hospital, Carberry battled back and started showcasing all his talent in county cricket, which eventually earned him a spot on the national team's Test roster for their tour of Bangladesh.

Carberry made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Chittagong in March 2010 and opened the batting alongside current captain Alastair Cook. There were a lot of positives to be taken from Carberry's maiden Test match as he scored 30 and 34 respectively.

Despite proving himself as an opening batsman brimming with talent and potential, the ECB decided to drop him.

Carberry finally got his big break last year when he was included in England's Ashes squad for their tour of Australia. His selection came after he scored 889 first-class runs at a brilliant average of 46.78 with Hampshire. During that season, Carberry scored two centuries and six half-centuries.

After England's Ashes nightmare, Carberry launched a scathing attack against the ECB, saying that they had made a grave mistake by axing Pietersen. Carberry added that Pietersen had been "very helpful" during the tough series, both as a batsman and as a mentor.

Carberry also revealed that during the Ashes series, the Australian players had given him more credit and encouragement than the England management had.

"I've played against enough Australians to know they're very cagey with their compliments. So I must have shown a glimpse of something for them to say: 'Look, mate, you stood up through some tough spells'," Carberry said in April.

With Carberry on the ECB's blacklist, he has not been considered for any of the recent tours or tournaments the national team have played in although he did play the Twenty20 International and the second One-Day International against Sri Lanka in May, coming into the side as a late injury replacement for Cook.

Apart from that though, from England's limited overs tour of the West Indies to the ICC World Twenty20, Carberry has been snubbed time and time again.

However, the question on many people's minds is: how long can the ECB continue to leave him out?

The 33-year-old has already been excelling in the ongoing county season, scoring 504 runs in seven matches at an average of 42. In fact, Carberry has already equalled the amount of centuries he scored in last year's county season.

For a man that has been through so much hardship and suffering, are the ECB giving Carberry the respect and opportunities he sorely deserves? They are overlooking a diamond in the rough that has the potential to form a formidable opening partnership with Cook and play a major role in shaping England's future for the next few years.

Perhaps it is time for England to put the past behind them and open their eyes to reality and the man that stands before them.

© Cricket World 2014