Spinner Mason eyes another first-team call

WORTHING Cricket Club’s Mason Crane is hoping for another call-up to the Hampshire first team squad, after impressing in the second team so far this season.

Mason Crane
Mason Crane

Leg-spinner Crane, 17, got named in Hampshire’s County Championship 13-man squad for the first time for their game with Worcestershire last month.

The Lancing College student did not make the final 11, although is hoping to be named in the squad again if he can perform well for the second side for the remainder of the season.

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On how his season has gone so far, Crane said: “It’s been going really well, I’ve bowled quite well for the twos and got rewarded with a call-up to the first-team squad and, hopefully, I’ll get another chance soon.”

Crane was part of the Hampshire team who played in the 2nd XI T20 Finals Day at Arundel Castle in June, when Andrew Flintoff was part of the Lancashire squad.

Hampshire lost to Somerset in the semi-finals, while Lancashire went down to Leicestershire, who won the competition, so Crane did not get the chance to bowl at the former England all-rounder, although he said: “We did well to get to the Finals Day and were unlucky to lose in the semis but it was a good experience, especially with Andrew Flintoff being there but, unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to play against him.”

Crane has bowled to Surrey batsman Jason Roy this season, though, and said: “Mainly, I just bowl to quite a lot of county second team players and the odd first team player when they come down. But I might see another big gun later in the summer as I’ve bowled to Jason Roy this season.”

Crane has been with Hampshire since he did not make the Sussex under-14 squad and has progressed into their academy team. His contract runs until the end of next year and he said: “When I didn’t make the Sussex under-14 squad, my coach at school, Raj Maru, who used to be involved with Hampshire, recommended me to them when he realised I probably should be playing county cricket.

“From that, I’m now in the Academy and it’s going very well, so I’m very grateful to him.”

With the hot weather, Crane’s job as a leg spinner becomes easier and he is reaping the reward of dry wickets, after taking his first five-wicket haul for the second team, in a game against the MCC Universities earlier this month. He said: “It’s difficult early on in the season but now the pitches are starting to dry out, it’s a lot more rewarding and I’m picking up a few more wickets.

“I got my first five-for last week so, hopefully, there’s more of that to come.”

On his aims for the rest of the season, Crane said: “Just to play regular second team cricket, which I’ll be doing for the rest of this year.

“Another first-team call-up soon would be good for me but I just want to keep performing at second team level.”