Oval Invincibles head coach Tom Moody has backed Gus Atkinson to shine with England but warned against judging the fast bowler exclusively by his speeds.
Atkinson has regularly exceeded 90mph in The Hundred while his 10 wickets in 114 deliveries helped the Invincibles collect their maiden men’s title after defeating Manchester Originals in Sunday’s final.
His breakout summer could continue with a first England cap this week as their white-ball schedule gets under way with a four-match T20 series against New Zealand, starting on Wednesday at Chester-le-Street.
An ODI series against the Kiwis follows then the 25-year-old is set to go to India for England’s World Cup defence, and Moody feels the Surrey paceman has the tools to make the grade at international level.
“I think he’ll do very, very well,” Moody told the PA news agency. “Given the opportunity, I see him continuing to spend more time in an England shirt than a Surrey or an Oval Invincibles shirt.
“He clearly has good ball speed and has a grounded character and personality. He’s an exciting talent. Those types of bowlers don’t tend to come along that often.”
Atkinson has been fast-tracked into England’s set-up amid Jofra Archer’s problems with his right elbow, with the pair likened to one another because of similarly smooth actions which generate breakneck pace.
Archer’s briskness has been frequently discussed in the past and Moody believes Atkinson will have to get used to his speeds being a topic of conversation – even if they are not the be-all and end-all.
“It’s the demands of international cricket and the expectation,” Moody said. “When someone sees someone that can bowl at a certain pace, everyone expects them to bowl that pace all the time.
“But at times that’s not possible purely from a physical standpoint and also conditions may not allow you to run in and let fly at that pace consistently.”
Atkinson has significantly enhanced his reputation in recent weeks, as have a number of other domestic talents because of the exposure that comes with every match in The Hundred being televised.
There remains scrutiny on the competition’s future plus its ability to draw in the top names, with Rashid Khan, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy withdrawing from the third edition – albeit due to injury.
But Moody thinks the quality he has witnessed is justification enough for The Hundred to attempt to slot behind the Indian Premier League as the second best domestic tournament in the world.
“To me that’s a no-brainer for English cricket to try to strive to achieve that,” Moody added. “The IPL is the IPL and that’s a separate beast altogether.
“But there’s a number of other franchise tournaments around the world that want to be the second best and there is no reason that England can’t achieve that given the infrastructure and talent they have.
“There’s a lot to like about The Hundred, it seems to have gone from strength to strength.
“The standard of cricket is a very high standard and I think a lot of that is to do with the domestic talent. In England at the moment, there is a lot of high-class white-ball cricketers around.”
Originals head coach Simon Katich agreed with his fellow Australian and argued having just eight teams as opposed to the 18 first-class counties forces the cream to rise to the top.
“There’s so much good talent here in England, particularly in white-ball cricket,” Katich told PA.
“Condensing the talent pool to eight teams has been a real win because it’s going to fast-track the development of a lot of young players to hopefully go on and play for England in the years to come.”
The 100-ball format is still only played professionally in the UK but Katich added: “I think it’s got a lot of merit to it being played in other parts of the world.”