Hampshire spinner Mason Crane is one of five uncapped players – Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Tom Curran the others – in contention to make his international debut in Wednesday’s Twenty20 international against South Africa.
So what do we know about the leggie? Here’s a quick overview…
Full name: Mason Sidney Crane
Born: Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex
Sidney? I knew there was an Australian connection…
Now, hold on. Crane is a proud Pom but did make a big impact in Australia this winter when he made history by becoming the first overseas cricketer since Imran Khan in 1985 to play for New South Wales in Sheffield Shield cricket after impressing former Australia leggie Stuart McGill. Tommy Cooper was his first wicket as he returned match figures of 5-160.
And just like that he’s in the England squad?
Not quite. Crane has been on the radar for some time having represented England at U17 and U19 level and dismissed Kumar Sangakkara, no less, on his first XI debut for Hampshire in 2015. A five-wicket return in his maiden County Championship match, against Durham, followed – match figures he bettered the following campaign with 6-89 as he took 31 scalps in the campaign.
So has he lit it up this season?
Pre-season went well – Crane impressing as he helped the South to a 3-0 win over the North, rattling the northern folk in the third match by taking four wickets for one run in 10 balls. He followed up with 4-95 to all but spin the MCC to victory over Middlesex in the Champion County clash in the UAE where he found impressive drift and turn.
I sense a ‘but’ coming…
You’re right. after Hampshire couldn’t find room for Crane in their side for the first three County Championship matches of the season – Liam Dawson fulfilling the spinner’s duties instead – and it was only a successful run in the Royal London One-Day Cup, where he claimed 14 wickets at 27.43 apiece, that he got a go in the four-day side.
Did he make his point?
Not so much against Essex, who crushed Hampshire by and innings and plenty, but it was a different story against Somerset as he returned 5-40 in the second innings to help secure a 90-run victory. Five more wickets followed as Warwickshire folded at the Ageas at the start of June only for Crane to wheel through 21 wicketless overs against South Africa A.
Ominous. I notice we haven’t even mentioned T20…
Small sample size. With Dawson and Shahid Afridi giving it a tweak in last summer’s NatWest T20 Blast, Crane played only two matches – taking his number of T20 games for Hampshire to five – but clearly he has something about him and deserves a shot. After all, Pakistan gave Shadab Khan a whirl and look how that turned out…
Watch England take on South Africa in three T20 internationals – starting with the first T20 live on Sky Sports 2 this Wednesday from 6pm.