Hampshire new-boy keen to Topple perceptions

Hampshire new-boy Reece Topley is keen to show his ability in all three formats of the game and warned: I hate it when people label me as a white-ball bowler.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 8:00 am
Hampshire bowler Reece Topley Picture: Sarah Standing

The 6ft 7in left-arm seamer has been capped by England in both one-day and T20 cricket and played his part as the Three Lions finished runners-up in the T20 World Cup in India last Sunday.

But the 22-year-old insists his switch to the Ageas Bowl is to realise his ambition of playing Test cricket and that those who class him as just a limited-overs bowler are mistaken.

Since making his debut for Essex in 2011 – the club he joined Hampshire from – Topley has taken 125 wickets in first-class cricket at an average of 25.78.

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And he is keen to build on that record on the south coast, although whether he plays a part in Sunday’s County Championship division one curtain raiser with Warwickshire remains to be seen.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are yet to make a final decision on Topley’s availability following his World Cup endeavours, although new team-mates James Vince and Liam Dawson, who were also involved, are cleared to play.

Topley said: ‘I hate it when people label me as a white-ball bowler.

‘I like to think I can contribute to any team that I play in in all formats.

‘My first-class record isn’t that bad either.

‘Luckily Hampshire have that belief in me as well.

‘I want to contribute to wins in the four-day game and not just the one-day game or T20s.’

Having been at Essex since the age of eight, the switch to Hampshire was not as difficult as perhaps first appeared for Topley.

Indeed, his burning desire to represent England in red-ball cricket made the decision to join the Ageas Bowl outfit a simple one.

‘Hampshire is a side I have admired from afar for quite a while,’ said Topley.

‘As an outsider looking in at Hampshire, they have been a very successful club.

‘They have a test ground and I think it holds value if you can get wickets at a test ground.

‘Hopefully that will help get me where I want to be in the future which is playing Test cricket for England.

‘That is a while down the road but hopefully this is a stepping stone to helping me achieve that.

‘For now, I am so eager to just get out there and play my first game for Hampshire.

‘You’ll have to wait and see whether I’m involved on Sunday or not, though.

‘It is up in the air at the minute.’