Sport

Ashes 2017/18: Mason Crane relishing Test debut against Australia

Ashes 2017/18: Mason Crane relishing Test debut against Australia”

"When I was working with Stu, he was very keen on letting me know what a big deal it was to play for New South Wales", says Crane.

The 20-year-old is England's second spinner on the Ashes trip behind Moeen Ali but could make his debut in either Adelaide or Sydney, grounds where teams traditionally play two slow bowlers.

It was a winter of personal development (he is an only child who moved out of his family home for the first time upon his return) in which Crane's white-ball cricket came on in leaps and bounds, starting in the North-South series in March, when he took four wickets for one run in 10 balls to win the South the final match. Crane concentrated on the basics - his leg break rather than his variations - and was satisfied with his performance. Even Shane Warne never did well at the Waca, so unsympathetic is the cast-iron clay, so a couple of wickets for Crane was a commendable start. Mason Crane is a classic example. England expect to announce their choice this week, with Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook also in the mix.

The squad will need to be trimmed by two more before the day-night Test begins on Thursday.

Wrist-spinners, meanwhile, have proliferated in Australia, nearly like rabbits - two dozen of which were exported in the 19th century from a Somerset farm to a relative who had emigrated to Victoria.

Trevor Bayliss, England's Australian coach, often talks about players having "something about them".

Crane has yet to be given the benefit of Warne's advice, in spite of their shared Hampshire background. "There has been a crack at trying to tee it up, but he's a very busy man and I've got to get used to that", Crane said with possibly a hint of irony.

But Crane's real mentor is the maverick, wine-loving Stuart MacGill, Warne's old leggie mate, who took 208 wickets in 44 Tests.

"Absolutely, Stu's had a big influence", says Crane. "We had a great relationship, and he played a big part in me playing a Shield game".

"He was as passionate as anyone I've seen when they talk about bowling, that came across even when I spoke to him over coffee". He took five wickets against South Australia in Sydney, so he is already familiar with the fifth test venue.

England bowler Mason Crane says confidence in the squad is high as they aim to retain the Ashes in Australia.

With Moeen having been ruled out of England's opening two warm-up games with a side strain, Crane, who took two wickets in the tour opener against a Western Australia XI in Perth last weekend, knows he could at some point be thrust into the team as the frontline spin option.

"Kristen was unlucky to miss out on selection, with the panel opting to go with just the one leg-spinner in the side", national selector Shawn Flegler said in a statement.

'In the last couple of years, I've seen my role in the team as a leader, ' Anderson said. So Bosanquet's offspring are beginning to proliferate in England, if not quite like rabbits. Now a quartet of leg-spinners who give it a rip are appearing, in Crane, Josh Poysden, Matt Parkinson and Matt Critchley.



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