Crane backed to be Hampshire’s secret weapon

Bowler Mason Crane. Picture: Steve Bailey
Bowler Mason Crane. Picture: Steve Bailey
Dale Steyn was the pick of Hampshire's bowlers on day one against Yorkshire. Picture: PA Images

Dale Steyn shines on the opening day for Hampshire against Yorkshire 

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Mason Crane has been backed to be Hampshire’s secret weapon after his big t20 impact.

The 18-year-old made his first-team debut in the vital Natwest T20 Blast win over Surrey on Friday night and pressed his claims to stay in the side for the trip to Gloucestershire today (2.30pm).

His two for 35 included the vital wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Vikram Solanki as Hampshire finally got back to winning ways after six straight defeats.

And the teenage leg-spinner has been given a glowing reference by wicketkeeper Adam Wheater, who also starred in the success after moving up the batting order to number three to hit 78.

Wheater said: ‘He was brilliant against Surrey.

‘He spins it big and has great control and pace for someone so young.

‘Teams may not know all that much about him and I think that can really help us.

‘He was flying around at a million miles per hour out in the field and then did really well with the ball.

‘I really rate him, I think he has a really big future in the game.’

Crane himself admits he does not yet know if he has done enough to retain his place.

But even though Chris Wood, Jimmy Adams and Sean Terry are all included in a 14-man squad, there is plenty to be said for naming an unchanged line-up.

Crane said: ‘I don’t know if I will play at Gloucestershire.

‘It’s down to the coaching staff but I will be ready if they need me.

‘I want to play every game I can, in limited overs and four-day cricket. So I will just try to take it as it comes.

‘Before the Surrey game, I was quite nervous but I tried to enjoy every ball.

‘They just told me “good luck, go out and do your thing. You are good enough so do your stuff”.

‘I felt I could do a job but I also know we have got some top quality bowlers in the team.

‘Danny Briggs is a high-class performer, especially, so I know it is always difficult to get a game as a spinner.

‘But when you do get a game, you have to take your chance.

‘It was a massive game but I was delighted with how it went.

‘Hopefully, I will get another chance.’

Skipper James Vince said: ‘It was a much needed win against Surrey and we did it in pretty good style in front of a good crowd.

‘It was good to see Adam Wheater move up the order and get some runs and Mason Crane came in and did a good job too.

‘It was pleasing to move up the league table and Gloucestershire are hot on our heels so every game is like a four-pointer now.’

Meanwhile, Yorkshire seamer Moin Ashraf has joined the club on a one-month trial.