Not only is Rory Burns averaging 47.00 with the bat in this season’s Specsavers County Championship and 46.50 in the Royal London One-Day Cup, the 26-year-old Surrey vice-captain continues to be overlooked by the England selectors.
Given that he has notched up over one thousand first-class runs in each of the last three seasons and, in one-day cricket, averaged 52.00 in 2015 and 44.42 last year, Alec Stewart, for one, is surprised that Burns continues to fly under the radar.
“It’s a real frustration for me,” say Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket. “You’ve always got to be careful that you don’t sound too biased towards your own players, but I’ve seen Burnsey play from the age of fourteen. Every level he’s gone up, he’s always found a way of scoring runs.
“I had huge sympathy for him when the England Lions’ side and the Lions’ training squad was announced last October, that he wasn’t in either of them.
“I look at him in terms of the runs he scores and when he scores them. That’s how I judge a batsman. I just hope the selectors do take note and he gets some kind of recognition because I believe he can play.”
Stewart, who did not make his international debut until he was 26, added: “He might be one of those players, like me, who doesn’t play any England age group cricket or the equivalent of England Lions and ends up going straight into the first team.
“He just gets better and better. He is banging on the door. I just hope the selectors and the scouts are aware how good he is and how good he really could be. Burnsey has got a massive desire to be as good as he can be.
“When he’s in the gym at 6.30 in the morning, or he’s having an extra hit in the nets or he’s taking a few more catches it’s because he wants to make himself the best her can be, or to see how good he can be. But it all depends on whether others think similar.
Burns remains philosophical. After his recent 67 not out in the Royal London clash with Middlesex, against whom he renews hostilities at Lord’s today (Friday) in the County Championship, the left-hander said: “That probably isn’t a question you should be asking me. It’s for others to answer.
“I’ve been sent away by the ECB a couple of times – to the Darren Lehmann Academy and to Sydney – but the performance squad call hasn’t come yet.
“It’s in the back of my mind a little bit. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. But I know what I’ve got to do for Surrey – put in performances and playing good cricket. I’ve got to do that first, and, if I do, there’s still time for the performance squad to happen, hopefully.”