Sunday People


Student is stunned by rapid rise to earn touring spot


ENGLAND were taught some tough lessons during their World Cup schooling in India.

But it is examinatio­ns of another nature that have kept John Turner occupied since the end of the domestic season.

Turner is in his third year of an economics and finance degree at the University of Exeter.

But the Hampshire quick has had his studies rudely interrupte­d by an England call-up for next month’s white-ball tour of the West Indies. “It has been interestin­g,” he said. “Up until this year it has been quite easy combining the two, but suddenly it has got quite a bit more difficult.

“I’m in Abu Dhabi with the Lions and then I’ll be heading to the Caribbean straight after. “That’s a monthand-a-half away from uni, so I’m not sure how I’ll manage it.

“I never expected to break into the Hampshire first team until leaving uni really. I didn’t plan for any of this to be on the cards. Initially it was a 50/50 balance between the studying and the cricket. Things have changed a little bit this year.”

He is not wrong. Turner’s elevation to the England side has been as quick as the Exocets he sent down for Hampshire in the T20 Blast and Trent Rockets in The Hundred.

Consistent­ly clocking 90mph on the speed gun, Turner has turned heads and ripped through top orders in the shortest formats.

As England look to rebuild following their calamitous World Cup campaign, he could soon be doing the same for his adopted country.

And having been picked in both the 50-over and T20 squad, he has the perfect chance to be at the heart of England’s white-ball future.

“The speed that everything has happened has been mind-blowing,” he said.

“During the season I didn’t really understand the extent of everything that was happening. I was just going from game to game.

“Once the season finished, I could take a step back and really reflect on everything and look at how my career was really progressin­g.

“It took a while for me to come to terms with everything.”

He will combine his time in the Caribbean playing cricket and watching online lectures.

Turner qualifies for England by virtue of his Zambian-born mother, who is the daughter of English parents. His father is an attorney back in Johannesbu­rg.

“It took a lot of convincing for them to let me come over and pursue cricket here,” Turner said. “It was probably during Covid my dad was like, ‘You know what, go over, give it a go – if it’s a year or two and it doesn’t work out, it’s fine’.

“Then probably the end of 2021, 2022, is when he started realising I might actually be good enough to make cricket a profession.”

Still only 22, Turner has the world at his feet. And a talent for bowling as quickly as anyone in world cricket.

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John Turner has shown his speed with Hampshire
FAST SHOW John Turner has shown his speed with Hampshire

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