The Specsavers 'One to Watch' shortlist today announced the inclusion of Middlesex's Nick Gubbins alongside five other contenders for the 2016 title.
Gubbins began the latest round of Championship fixtures as the leading run-scorer for Division One leaders Middlesex, with 767 Championship runs already to his name at an average of 63.91.
The shortlist also includes two contenders from Lancashire, Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone, who have both been nominated by a panel of coaches and journalists, on the basis of their contribution to Lancashire’s successful return to Division One in the Specsavers County Championship this season.
Hameed, an opening batsman from Bolton, is the youngest player on the list, having played for England Under-19s last season, while Livingstone is one of two nominees to have made their debuts for England Lions in their recent Tri-Series, with Northamptonshire’s Ben Duckett.
Duckett is one of three players from Division Two on the shortlist. He is joined by Jamie Porter, whose wickets have fired Essex to the top of the table, and Shiv Thakor, who has made an impressive all-round contribution for Derbyshire.
Two more players will be added to the list in September, allowing a number of other strong contenders more time to press their claims - and then it will be over to county cricket fans to choose the winner, through a vote hosted by ecb.co.uk.
Contenders had to be 23 or under at the start of the Specsavers County Championship season in April, and not to have represented either England or England Lions at that point.
Somerset opener Tom Abell won the equivalent award last season – after missing out on the original six-man shortlist, and being added in September.
The other previous winners were Alex Lees (2014), Rory Burns (2013), and Joe Root in 2012.
Specsavers One to Watch - shortlist
Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire, 21)
Nick Gubbins (Middlesex, 22)
Haseeb Hameed (Lancashire, 19)
Liam Livingstone (Lancashire, 23)
Jamie Porter (Essex, 23)
Shiv Thakor (Derbyshire, 22)