Matthew Potts, the fast who 'makes things happen', the latest on the Northeast Production Line

Matthew Potts, the fast who ‘makes things happen’, the latest on the Northeast Production Line


Mid-Thursday at Matthew Potts, Eoin Morgan came to shake his hand to congratulate him on his first call to the complete English team. With only 13 players selected to cover the first two tests against New Zealand, Potts is almost certain to make his debut at some stage in the series and has a good chance of playing at the Lord’s in two weeks.

He wisely decided to play a Championship match against Middlesex this week, playing 233.5 overs at the start of the season in six back-to-back matches – 20 more than any other player in the country this year. Instead, he was let go by Neil Killeen, Durham’s bowling coach, before absorbing the atmosphere of a four-day match at Lord’s for the first time (his only performance in his career there was in the hundred last summer).

Potts benefited from a crisis caused by injuries in England, a number of more experienced brothers-in-law were excluded from the first test and emerged from the left field at the back of the stunning start of the championship season: he scored 35 goals at 18.57 across. the first half dozen rounds, 11 more than the nearest bidder.

“Because these balls are a little softer and don’t last that long, the only thing I did was charge every single ball, I tried to hit the court hard and I tried to get what I could out of it,” Potts . he said after his 11-goal raid on Glamorgan last week.

Following Wednesday’s announcement, Rob Key, England’s chief executive, said he “liked Potts’ looks.” “I’m quite excited about what it has to offer. We see the difference in it. You see it running in, what it looks like when you’re facing it, you’re in the right competition … these are the choices I’m really excited about.”

Even in the Durham locker room, he found an influential admirer in the form of a new English captain. “Ben Stokes saw him closely,” Key said. “That’s one thing that really stood out when people talk about it: there’s a lot of people who can run in and get the ball down at different speeds, but it’s really a character.”

Potts acknowledged the importance of Stokes’ support. “It’s nice to have him in the locker room and in the middle of a break,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to talk to him, talk about ideas and how to get a batsman out. It’s nice to know you have someone in your camp. The future is bright for Durham: if you want to be an English cricketer, you have in the right man’s locker room. “

Potts is not a fast bowler, and although he never fought the pace – according to CricViz last summer he reached a top speed of 89 mph / 143 km / h – he believes he was able to keep up better this year. season. “I’m not necessarily faster [than last year] I don’t think so – maybe a fraction, “he said.” But the pace has been there for a long time; every spell is at this pace, rather than with a small drop. “

“It’s a good prospect,” said Mark Wood, his team-mate from Durham. “Honestly, he’s someone who got a little lost under the radar, but he’s the right pitcher – another from Durham Academy, so we’re doing well there.

“He’s a big, strong guy, built a bit like a tank. He’s really fit, he’s constantly running and doing things. What I’d say about him is that he has talent, if you think nothing’s going on, he gets Branka. That’s great talent. He’s a little bigger than me, and his injury is a little better: if he gets there, he might stay there. “

Potts has been on England’s radar for many years – in 2016 he played in the Super Fours in Loughborough for players under 17 and played several matches in the England under 19 jersey – but for a while it looked like he would become a pitcher with a white ball: he was reserve for the January T20I tour to the Caribbean and was an untapped backup overseas player when Lahore Qalandars won the PSL.

But after missing the selection for the Durham team, let alone the team, at the start of the 2021 championship season, he took significant steps. “I used to be just a white-ball bowler and I wanted to be something else: I want to be a bowler of all formats,” he said. “I’m on my way up in a red ball game right now.”

As Wood mentioned, his selection represents another success for the Northeast production line. Potts attended the same elementary school in Sunderland as Jordan Pickford, an English goalkeeper, and played for Durham from a young age. “We have good talent in the Northeast,” Potts said. “The future is bright for players who pass.”

Matt Roller is Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ mroller98

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