Worthing Cricket Club leg-spinner Mason Crane reflected on his call into the New South Wales team and said: “It’s one of the proudest moments of my career.”
The 20-year-old, ex-Lancing College pupil, became the first overseas player to represent the Sydney-based team since previous Pakistan skipper Imran Khan back in the 1984-85 season.
It proved to be a successful debut for Crane, who took match figures of 5-116 in New South Wales’ Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground last week.
It was the briefest of stays for Crane, though, as he had to board a flight to Dubai after the game as he is part of the North v South series, which started yesterday.
Despite such a short stay with New South Wales, the Hampshire leg-spinner believes it is a game he will never forget.
Crane said: “It was a privilege to have played for a state like New South Wales. They have such a great history, so to be given the opportunity was one of the proudest moments of my career. It’s a great stat that the last overseas to represent them was so long ago and such a legend of the game.
“Of course I’m honoured, but also thankful because these chances don’t come along very often.”
As an ECB placement player this winter, Crane also turned out for Gordon Cricket Club, playing grade games for them, while he has also received support and guidance from former Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill.
Speaking on the winter as a whole Down Under, Crane said: “I’ve loved every minute. My club, Gordon, have been absolutely amazing in hosting me and I’ve really enjoyed the cricket with them. Stu (MacGill) has been great too, I’ve learnt so much from him and it was such a great moment when he presented me with my New South Wales baggy blue.”
Commitments in the United Arab Emirates, playing in the North v South series, then featuring in the annual MCC versus Middlesex match, means Crane will not feature on Hampshire’s pre-season tour to Barbados.
After playing for them on several occasions last season, the 20-year-old is hoping to play a major part again this season.
He said: “From a personal point of view, I just want to contribute in any way I can. I want to keep focusing on playing games and contributing for Hampshire, as well as improving as a bowler and a cricketer.”
With an Ashes tour in Australia to come at the end of this year, Crane’s experiences Down Under could stand him in good stead should he receive a call, although that is something he feels is ‘highly unlikely’.
Crane said: “I think it’s anyone’s dream to play in an Ashes series, but I still think that’s a long way off for me. I still have a long way to go in terms of my development and learning.”
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