There are four contenders for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award and they all come from the second Test between England and West Indies at Trent Bridge.
Among them is last week’s winner Andrew Strauss, who hit 141 from 303 balls during England’s first innings total of 428; as well as his opposite number Darren Sammy, who delighted many by hitting his way to his maiden Test century from 140 deliveries. Marlon Samuels is another who was in exceptional form throughout, following up his 117 in the first innings by providing admirable resistance in West Indies’ second, in addition to picking up a couple of cheap wickets at the end of England’s first.
However, it is England all-rounder Tim Bresnan who is this week’s winner. The 27 year-old from Pontefract put behind him a relatively poor performance at Lord’s to return his best Test match figures of eight for 141. He also chipped in with a doughty 39 not out to prevent a collapse in England’s first innings.
Bresnan, who was named man-of-the-match for the first time in his Test career admitted to nerves before going up to receive his award. He also added that he was aware of the pressure on his place in the side, saying, “Every time you play you always have someone over your shoulder. I just want to continue to improve and to make a difference on the field. We have a fantastic crop of seam bowlers and it is great that the competition helps you perform.”
Over the past couple of years, Bresnan, although not quite an ever-present member of this England side, has quickly become the workhorse of the bowling attack and has allowed his more thoroughbred contemporaries – namely James Anderson and Stuart Broad – to have the best of the conditions, while at the same time making more than handy contributions with both bat and ball. His average after 13 games – all of which he has remarkably finished on the winning side – stands at 40.22 with the bat and 25.46 with the ball – considerably superior to two great England all-rounders of the recent past, Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff.
© Cricket World 2012