Confident Crane hopes to get Ashes chance
MASON Crane’s Ashes ambitions are at a level even he could scarcely have believed 12 months ago.
It is just a year since the leg- spinner, still a teenager then, arrived in Australia with a handful of professional matches on his CV hoping to impress and develop with Sydney- based Gordon Cricket Club.
His upward curve last winter took him far beyond that as New South Wales noted his progress sufficiently to break the Australian mould with a rare overseas drafting into their Sheffield Shield team.
Before Christmas, Crane was being mentioned in dispatches by England’s Australian coach Trevor Bayliss – and eight months later he was named in Joe Root’s Ashes squad. Crane is not about to settle for that alone either, bold enough after his two wickets in the tour- opening draw against a Western Australia XI in Perth to pronounce himself ready to help retain the urn.
“Everyone’s main aim is to go home having won the Ashes,” he said.
“Any way I can contribute to that, and play as many games as I can, that will be great.”
Crane was included at the WACA after first- choice spinner Moeen Ali injured his side, and with the all- rounder still unavailable for this week’s day- night match against a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide, opportunity may knock again for the 20- year- old. “I’ve got to be realistic,” he added. “Mo is obviously a brilliant bowler, and he bats a lot higher than I do. But I’ll keep working hard.”
He intends to put last year’s Australian adventure to good use too. “I loved it out here,” he said. “It was great fun ... and I was very lucky to get a game under my belt as well for New South Wales at the SCG.
“I hope I can use that experience on this tour.”
Crane’s leg- spin education began when as a child he saw Shane Warne in the 2005 Ashes.
Although the Australia great played, like Sussex- born Crane, for Hampshire, he has yet to benefit from a full- on tutorial with Warne.
“I’ve met him in England, very briefly. He just said ‘ keep spinning it’, like he does to most people,” Crane said.
“There has been a crack at trying to tee up [ a longer meeting]. But he’s a very busy man, and I’ve got to get used to that. I hope one day I can have a bowl with him.” England bolwer Mason Crane