Whis­tle-stop tour starts with home re­turn for grad­u­ate Vince

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - By Richard Ed­wards

JAMES VINCE will en­joy some­thing of a home­com­ing when Eng­land touch down in Perth for the open­ing leg of their Ashes tour early next month.

It was here, at Melville Cricket Club, just out­side Free­man­tle, that a 17-yearold Vince ar­rived a decade ago.

Spend­ing his weeks at the Paul Terry Cricket Academy and his week­ends play­ing mostly Sec­ond Grade cricket for one of Perth’s most re­spected club sides, Vince de­vel­oped the kind of game that the Eng­land se­lec­tors hope will help him flour­ish Down Un­der this win­ter.

Melville has pre­vi­ous when it comes to de­vel­op­ing young English tal­ent. Mar­cus Trescoth­ick spent two win­ters there between 1997 and 1999, be­com­ing a pop­u­lar mem­ber of a club that Den­nis Lillee once called home.

The thread of fa­mous names has been con­tin­ued by Adam Vo­ges, the for­mer Aus­tralian star, who is now the club’s di­rec­tor of cricket.

Like Vo­ges, Terry has been part of the Perth fur­ni­ture since call­ing time on his play­ing ca­reer with Hampshire in 1996. And he tells The Cricket Pa­per that he’s look­ing for­ward to see­ing Vince back in Perth this win­ter.

“He was ob­vi­ously very young when he came here but I think you grow up fast as a 17-year-old in that en­vi­ron­ment,” he says.

“Melville is a club with a lot of links with Hampshire, with Dimi (Mas­caren­has), Liam Daw­son and my­self all hav­ing played there.

“James spent most of his time here play­ing Sec­ond Grade cricket be­cause the First Grade team was just so strong.When he did make the step up, he gen­er­ally went in fairly low down, at six or seven, but he showed what he was ca­pa­ble of.

“He prob­a­bly didn’t have as much op­por­tu­nity to shine as maybe he would have liked but it was a tough side to get into. At the Academy, he would be train­ing pretty much ev­ery day, whether that was fit­ness work or bat­ting work.We would catch up as much as pos­si­ble.”

A dou­ble cen­tury in Sec­ond Grade – a rare oc­cur­rence in any form of club cricket – pro­vided am­ple ev­i­dence of his prow­ess. His ap­petite for hard work and will­ing­ness to fit in also stood out as two of his defin­ing qual­i­ties.

It’s also telling that he man­aged to break into the Hampshire team in 2009 af­ter an­other win­ter spent work­ing with Terry in WA.

“I’ve watched him from afar since then,” says Terry. “I saw him play in Tests last sum­mer and I thought he han­dled that rea­son­ably well with­out go­ing on and mak­ing one de­cent score that might have given him a bit more of an op­por­tu­nity.

“He came over here with the Syd­ney Thun­der at the Big Bash and I know he im­pressed a lot of peo­ple dur­ing that. He now has that ex­pe­ri­ence to draw on, which will def­i­nitely be use­ful this win­ter.”

Vince’s se­lec­tion hasn’t gained uni­ver­sal ap­proval but the fact re­mains that he’s one of the coun­try’s most el­e­gant stroke­mak­ers. And with Eng­land’s open­ing match against Western Aus­tralia, there could be no bet­ter place for him to stake his claim for a Test place.

Fa­mil­iar ground: James Vince

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