1) Toby Roland Jones – Middlesex
Few players made a greater impression in a shorter time than Toby Roland-Jones who took 38 wickets at an average of a shade under 20 including 5 wickets in 26 balls against County rivals Surrey. While Tim Murtagh and Steven Finn may get the headlines for Middlesex, it could be the 23-year old fast medium bowler who could be the real story at Lords this summer.
2) Joe Root – Yorkshire
With Jacques Rudolph gone, Yorkshire have a void to fill. Where as some would look overseas it is a credit to Martyn Moxon and his staff that they have such faith in their young talent that promising batsmen Joe Root is reckoned to be the man to step up. Developed through the same club as Michael Vaughan and with a fine record for England’s U-19s, his pedigree is beyond doubt.
3) Scott Borthwick – Durham
While Ben Stokes deserves plenty of praise for his potential, the young leg spinner could well be the one who catches the eye this year. Bowls with decent economy for a leggie while maintaining a real wicket-taking threat. While Durham’s spin resources have hardly been their strength during the years of dominance, Borthwick promises to be the answer to that.
4) Chesney Hughes – Derbyshire
Usman Khawaja and Martin Guptill may be the eye-catching young names of the Derbyshire batting line-up but it could be young Chesney Hughes who will be the foundation which their potential success is built upon. A powerfully built left-hander likened to Matthew Hayden by former opening partner Chris Rogers he will be keen to build on a fine opening season.
5) Chris Wood – Hampshire
Danny Briggs is the young star, James Vince perhaps the most crucial to his team in the middle order but Chris Wood is the one to watch. A left-arm seamer with good control, a decent record in one day cricket last season. In a land hardly flush with left-arm seam bowlers, Wood at 20 is a real dark horse for the T20 champions.
6) Shiv Thakor – Leicestershire
These are boom times for the Leicestershire academy. Having struck gold first with Stuart Broad, then latterly with James Taylor, Nathan Buck and Josh Cobb, now they have unearthed another potential gem in Shiv Thakor. A 17 year old who has scored heavily for the Academy teams since he racked up the youngest ever century for their under 9 side, if his progress continues he could be a potential star of the future.
7) Chris Jordan – Surrey
Touted as the next big thing after making initial waves on his first appearances for his county, it’s fair to say time has not been kind on the young Caribbean all-rounder as he has suffered badly with multiple injuries. Now back on the comeback trail after a year out, his fast bowling and more than handy batting could be a real boost for a Surrey team looking at promotion.
8) Joss Buttler – Somerset
With Craig Kieswetter off starring in the World T20’s last summer it was reckoned that Somerset would struggle, though given the impression that Joss Buttler made last season few would have wondered why. A big hitter, wonderful fielder and producer of big scores almost on demand, if he can avoid the pitfalls of second season syndrome then surely he will follow his team-mate Kieswetter into full England honours.
9) Moin Ashraf – Yorkshire
Yorkshire’s young attack caused quite a stir last season with Hannon-Dalby and Patterson more than filling the void left by Bresnan and Shahzad’s England exploits, Moin Ashraf’s late arrival almost stole the show. Nine wickets in two County matches at 11.79 including a five-for against Kent marked this 19-year old quick bowler out as something really special.
10) Andy Carter – Nottinghamshire
With Ryan Sidebottom gone and Stuart Broad likely to be pre-occupied this summer, a potential opening has emerged in the Champion’s seam bowling attack. Developing Andrew Carter, much in the Notts mould as a strong and dependable fast medium bowler, could fill that void. Made quite an impression while on loan at Essex last year and with plenty of room to develop he could force his way into the starting line-up later his year.
11) Jaik Mickleburgh – Essex
Essex is fast emerging as the breeding ground for young England batsmen with Ravi Bopara and Alistair Cook still playing regularly and Graham Gooch on the coaching staff and in young Jaik Mickleburgh their conveyor belt shows no signs of slowing down. Technically sound both in his shot selection and also mentally attuned for four-day cricket, his innings of 174 against champions Durham was one of the innings of last season and impressed plenty of on-lookers including some influential one’s too.