Crane’s Aussie haul can give Parky a lift
MATT Parkinson will have big shoes to fill when he walks into the dressing rooms of Gordon Cricket Club in Sydney in two weeks’ time – but the club’s coach is confident that some of Mason Crane’s magic will rub off on the Lancashire leggie.
Crane was a revelation at Gordon last season, taking three seven wicket hauls and catching the eye of New South Wales, who whistled him up as a first overseas’ player in 32 years.
That promotion propelled Crane into the thoughts of the England selectors and ultimately played a major role in getting his Ashes call on Tuesday.
Former Australian Test star, Trevor Chappell, is the current coach of the Sydney Grade side and he tells The Cricket Paper that Crane has paved the way for Parkinson to enjoy a similarly productive winter Down Under.
“Mason took about 50 wickets in ten games, which was an amazing effort,” says Chappell. “We were all hugely impressed, not just with his bowling but the fact that he was a really good bloke and a very good cricketer, who bowls well, bats nicely and fields very well too. We were either looking for Mason to come back or to replacement him with somebody else.
“Lancashire and the ECB are involved with him (Parkinson) coming out and so they thought it would naturally be a good idea to send him out to the same place that Mason has been.
“It had worked so well the previous season and hopefully Matt can come in and have a similar impact. The wickets here aren’t massively spin friendly, in fact very few in the Sydney Grade comp are these days. It’s a very good batting wicket here at the moment, maybe there’s a bit in it for the quicks to start with, but Matt will have to work for his wickets, which is no bad thing.”
Parkinson took 14 wickets at a cost of just 20 in his five County Championship matches this season. Before the final round of matches, his average was more than half of the 41 it has cost Crane for each of his 16 wickets for Hampshire.
That return failed to dissuade the England selectors, with the 20-year-old one of three debutants in Joe Root’s Ashes squad. And both the ECB and Lancashire will be keeping a close eye on Parkinson as the Ashes action unfolds elsewhere.
“I think Mason’s success highlighted the weakness of Australian batsmen against the moving ball,” says Chappell. “Whether it’s swinging, seaming or spinning, they just seem unable to come to terms with it.
“I think Matt can come in and be confident of taking wickets. Certainly we’ll all back him to do exactly that. These are young guys and coming out here and having to fend for themselves is a fantastic experience.
“I had to do the same when I came over to play in the Lancashire League three seasons in a row. I saw enough bad weather then to last me a lifetime. I just hope Matt leaves the rain at home and doesn’t bring it with him.”
Matt Parkinson of Lancashire celebrates after getting Keith Barker of Warwickshire out