13 Days Remaining

Saturday 12th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

England captain Joe Root warned yesterday against burdening Mason Crane with expectation after the leg-spinner earned his first Test call-up.

Crane was a surprise inclusion for next week’s Test Series opener against the West Indies, the first Test in Britain to be played as a day-night game with a pink ball.

Whether or not he gets the nod depends on whether England revert to picking two spinners or stick with the formula that brought success against South Africa the Oval and Old Trafford. But to earn selection after just 25 first-class games hints at a special talent.

There is, of course, something endlessly appealing about a young wrist-spinning prospect and while Root cannot hide his own enthusiasm, he hopes the 20-year-old will be given room to develop.

“It’s exciting as a captain because he is a very talented young cricketer and he’s got a very bright future,” Root said.

“But it’s important we don’t put too much pressure on him or expect too much from him at such a young age.

“He is fully deserving of the opportunity he’s got in this squad and I’m very excited to see him go about his business. He’s a very confident young man and hopefully he has a lot to offer England.”

Crane comes into the squad at the same time as Surrey’s Mark Stoneman, replacing the out-of-form Keaton Jennings as the latest candidate to audition for England’s problem opening slot.

If both feature against the Windies that would be a total of five debutants since Root became captain at the start of the summer, following Tom Westley, Dawid Malan and Toby Roland-Jones.