Crane enjoys dream debut for Hampshire

Mason Crane celebrates a wicket while playing for Worthing last season
Mason Crane celebrates a wicket while playing for Worthing last season

MASON CRANE had a dream debut for Hampshire Cricket Club in their NatWest T20 Blast match against Surrey on Friday evening.

The 18-year-old leg-spinner, from Worthing, dismissed Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara for his first-ever 1st XI wicket and then later had former England one-day player Vikram Solanki stumped by wicketkeeper Adam Wheater.

He finished with 2-35 from his four overs as Hampshire won by 29 runs.

After being called into the squad late on, Crane, who plays for Worthing, said: “I was told I was playing just before we went out to warm-up which was probably the best preparation as I didn’t have too much time to think about it.

“I was quite nervous at the start but it helped that we batted first as it got me into the game.

“It was awesome to make my debut with a massive crowd and the buzz you get off it.

“I would love to go out there again and do it all over.”

On dismissing Sangakkara, Crane said: “I was nervous bowling to him as I knew he could hit me anywhere but it doesn’t matter how they come. It is a great first wicket and I’ll never forget it.

“It was all a bit surreal but he hit one to long-on and Joe Gatting took a really good catch.

“I didn’t expect to get through my four overs as we had six bowlers playing but I bowled them straight through.”

On how his season has gone, Crane said: “It’s been going quite well. I’ve bowled quite well in the 2nd XI games and took five wickets against Sussex in a three-day game on Thursday, which was ideal preparation for Friday.

“I was happy to be given the chance and now I’ll keep working hard and hope to play a few more first team games.”

Crane, who attended Thomas A’Becket and Lancing College, admitted that his experience with the England Development Programme has helped his game.

He said: “Playing with the best players of my age has really helped my game. I’ll keep looking to play well and improve my game now.”

Crane has kept his eye on Worthing’s results this season as well and said: “I’m hoping they can put together a few wins on the bounce and go up. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fit in a game or two as well later in the season.”

Worthing chairman Tim Dunn said: “Everyone at the club was very proud on Friday and Mason got two great wickets in Sangakkara and Solanki.

“Mason came down to the club on Saturday evening and there were lots of congratulations.

“He’s been with the club since he was in the under-ten age group and has played in every age group. He’s our under-19 captain this season but, now he’s played a 1st XI game for Hampshire, the rules state he can no longer play in that competition.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get him to play a first team game or two sometime during the rest of the season, though, if his Hampshire commitments allow.”

Crane was also part of Hampshire’s 14-man squad for their T20 match at Gloucestershire on Tuesday but was not named in the final 11. He now hopes to be involved tomorrow evening, when Hampshire are in action against Sussex, where Crane played youth cricket, at Hove.

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