Jamie joins Craig in England ODI squad
Somerset pace bowler Jamie Overton has been called up to the England ODI squad for the remaining two matches in the five match Royal London ODI series against New Zealand. He replaces Liam Plunkett who has been ruled out with a thigh strain.
Jamie joins his twin Craig in the squad. The 21 years old brothers are both uncapped at England level.
The twins are relishing the prospect of an unexpected reunion after receiving separate call-ups into the England one-day squad in the space of 36 hours.
The brothers were together on the Somerset team coach heading for a match in Glamorgan on Saturday afternoon when Craig took a call on his mobile from James Whitaker, the National Selector, asking him to change direction for Southampton.
So when Whitaker called Jamie’s mobile on Sunday night passing on a pleasingly similar message, the younger of the 21-year-olds – by all of three minutes – didn’t waste any time before speaking to his brother.
“I gave Craig a ring and said I’d see him in Nottingham,” said Jamie, who was set to play for Somerset’s Second XI in two T20 matches against Middlesex in London today.
“Then I spoke to our parents, and obviously they are very happy as well. It was a bit different when Craig got the call on Saturday because he didn’t have the right kit with him, so he had to ring up Dad and arrange to get picked up and taken down to Southampton. It’s been an interesting week for all of us.”
Jamie was the first of the brothers to receive a senior England call, during the one-day series against Australia late in the last Ashes summer of 2013 when they were only 19, although he did not make it into the final XI.
Craig then earned a place on the Lions tour of South Africa but was forced home early with a calf injury at around the same time that Jamie arrived in Potchefstroom to train with the England Performance Programme.
The pair have both started the 2015 season impressively: “Craig’s been bowling fantastically, and his call-up was rightly deserved,” said Jamie. “I saw a stat the other day that he’s the only player in the country who’s taken 20 wickets at less than 20 as well as scoring 200 runs, which shows he’s one of the best all-rounders in the country.”
Craig was happy to return the compliment. “Jamie has been bowling quick,” he said. “None of the boys have been looking forward to facing him in the nets, put it that way – especially me, because he always gives me a bit of extra brotherly love.”
Yet when they shared a spectacular last-wicket partnership of 76 from 35 balls against the county champions Yorkshire at Taunton last month, it emerged that they have only played together in nine first-class matches.
“Most of the time with Somerset it’s seemed like only one of us has been picked, or one or other of us has been injured,” added Craig. “But we’ve been playing together since we were about 5 years old, so we still know each other’s games pretty well.”
“We started off together at North Devon, which was our dad’s cricket club,” Jamie explained. “We came through the age groups together and then we both signed for Somerset at about the same time, just before we went off to the Under-19 World Cup.”
Now they are closer than ever to wearing the Three Lions together again, this time at senior level. “Mum and Dad came down to Southampton yesterday and although Mum can’t make it to Nottingham on Wednesday, I think Dad will be coming up again, just in case,” Craig added. “We’re both pretty happy. We’ve only spoken briefly but I’m looking forward to meeting up with him.
“I think we’re in single rooms with England, but Somerset usually split us up anyway. We get on pretty well, but you know what brothers are like.”
New Zealand lead the series 2-1 with the next match at Trent Bridge on Wednesday before the series concludes at Emirates Durham ICG on Saturday.