The Overtons

Craig is probably a better player. Jamie could be much better in Tests.

Jamie Overton is probably not ready for Test cricket. It was only last year he was having trouble hitting the cut strip. And if you wonder what that means, he averaged 76 and was unplayable for Surrey.

Today he starts his Test journey. And found Devon Conway’s (always in play) inside edge.

There is talk about his run up and the slight technical changes he has made. But he wasn't missing the wicket because of a slightly long jog. It was a mentality thing. One thing Surrey - Azhar Mahmood directly - worked on with him was just getting him thinking about cricket correctly.

There is no doubt that someone at his height, with pace and some swing is a Test quality player. But there always seemed to be a lot of moving parts to JOverton. Tall bowlers can sometimes develop later, but when they are quick, that seems to happen more often. It's usually just a coordination thing.

But the combination of swing and pace is hard for any bowler to control. It's one reason why the wobble ball has become more popular. Telling a bowler to come in and hit a spot is much easier than having them try to find the right length, not over pitch, and not lose control of the ball when it does swing.

And for tall bowlers, swing is really tricky. For most large seamers (not Kyle Jamieson) when you bowl full the ball floats a bit more and batters pounce on it. And to get swing, you need to pitch it up. It's one reason why taller bowlers tend to like to bang it into the surface and look for seam.

So while JOverton has some excellent skills on his own, assembling them was a little messy.

Yet his twin, Craig Overton, popped out the womb a near-complete package. COverton will never be a superstar at international level, but he was a near-automatic pro. There was never much that could go wrong for him. He isn't fast, there is little swing, and because he is a seamer he can hit a slightly shorter length meaning he's more accurate.

I was asking cricket friends the other day if they could name many brothers at international level, where one is a bowler, and one is a batter. (Snd if you have some, leave them in the comments. We have many Albie/Morne Morkel types where one is an all rounder, and the other is a bowler. But I mean specialists.

But while the Overtons are both bowlers, seamers, and tall, within that, they are nothing alike.

Also, Craig can bat. I mean not really. Not sure why anyone would ever try push that line. He doesn't look like in numbers or by the eye tests.

He averages 21 at first class level. That is already a red flag, and it's not from a small sample size, he's played over 100 games. And in all of them he has made a single hundred. Although there is a reason he has not made more big scores, it's because he mostly bats at eight and nine.

This is another tip he will not make runs at Test level.

Then there is my favourite bit, he has batted at number seven in 18 matches, which is a fair sample size, and there his average drops to 15.

So at best in Tests you would guess, he is a number nine who can hang around a bit. Which is also a handy skill. But we need to be realistic with what he can actually do.

JOverton can bat too, yet weirdly his allround skill is barely mentioned despite also having one first class hundred and averaging almost as much as his brother. He made 93 this year - and I happened to be there - he's a more expansive player. His career strike rate is higher. And he's mostly been a career number nine, ten and eleven. But there is not much in his record, or what I saw of him, to say his batting is much worse than his brother's. Or much better. The main difference is his brother can hang around, and Jamie whacks them a bit more.

In the bowling it really is mostly about pace and accuracy. COverton is such an accurate bowler, there doesn't appear to be much special to his bowling. But accuracy at that pace, with any lateral movement, is a really good bowler in England.

The problem is how that translates when he is on the road. In nine first class matches when not in Europe, his average is ok. This isn't as bad as you't think. But in Tests he has been poor.

Considering the era he has bowled in, and the Dukes ball, it's a really high number.

The main problem with COverton is probably less than he hasn't really turned his first class record into something better in Tests. It's that England have other guys similar who are better. Ollie Robinson is tall, slow and skilful, but just looks a lot better. And Stuart Broad also plays a similar game.

Does England have another tall bowler who is fast and swings it? Olly Stone isn't that tall, Brydon Carse doesn't swing it, and Jofra Archer is more of a seamer. JOverton does actually tick a lot of boxes that they need. Or at least, want.

He may not be quite as quick as they'd like, or quite as polished as they need, but he's back in form. And they are so down their depth chart now that Ryan Sidebottom might play soon. Or they could go back to Toby Roland-Jones (who might skip over COverton soon, as the last two years TRJ has 60 wickets at 18).

There is little risk in picking COverton, he's a floor raising player, he will maintain some pressure even on the days he doesn't take many wickets. His batting his handy. And he will happily bowl from the terrible end, because when he was growing up his brother got first choice.

JOverton is way different, his floor is real low. A bad Test, a good batter, he could get absolutely hammered and might not recover for the second innings. But his ceiling is way higher. England have taken a chance on him, but they've done so because he has all the skills to dominate Test cricket.

JOverton is not currently a better cricketer than COverton, but if he ever gets it right, he could be far more important to England.