Legend Warne leads praise for leg-spinner Crane

Mason Crane made his England debut in the fifth and final Ashes Test. Picture by Dave Vokes
Mason Crane made his England debut in the fifth and final Ashes Test. Picture by Dave Vokes

Australian leg-spinning legend Shane Warne was full of praise for Worthing’s Mason Crane following his England debut in the fifth and final Ashes Test.

The 20-year-old former Lancing College pupil dismissed Usman Khawaja – finishing with figures of 1-193 from his 48 overs – as Australia recorded a resounding innings-and-123-run win at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Crane’s Test call marked a remarkable rise for the Shoreham-born spinner.

A year before his appearance in the final Ashes Test, Crane collected 45 wickets during a successful stint with Sydney side Gordon. A string of impressive performances were enough to warrant a call to represent New South Wales – Crane becoming the first overseas player to feature for them since Imran Khan more than 30 years ago.

And despite his difficult welcome to Test cricket, a number of former players were quick to praise Crane’s efforts.

Former Aussie leg-spinner and leading Test wicket-taker of all-time Warne said: “His action is nicely balanced, there is nice momentum and he explodes through the crease which is good.

“He’s very aggressive. He is feisty, looks to get into the batsman’s space. He won’t back down from the challenge.”

Australian Mike Hussey, told BT Sport following Crane’s opening bowl in a Test match: “I actually saw Stuart MacGill here (who Crane had been working with in the build-up to his debut).

“I asked him about working with Mason and he was as excited as he was. Stuart (MacGill) had a front-row seat, ready to watch him and invest in him.

“I thought he bowled beautifully, I must admit. For a young 20-year-old to come in on Test debut, on the SCG where there is a lot of pressure, his control was excellent.

“You expect from a young leggie to get a fair bit of loose stuff but no, he bowled very, very well.”

Crane started his career at Worthing and joined the club at the age of nine.

Current chairman Tim Dunn, whose son Harry remains good friends with Crane, knew the leg-spinner was going to be something special from a young age.

He said: “It’s quite an achievement, everyone involved with the club is proud of what he has achieved so far. Mason came to Worthing at the age of nine. In my time of knowing him all he’s ever wanted to do is make it as a professional cricketer.

“I think what happened at Sussex made him hungrier to go on and make it in the game. You could tell from a young age Mason was special. He took five wickets on his debut for the first team at the age of 14. Mason hit an unbeaten century in a development game against Findon – he’s such a talented player and fully deserves to be where he finds himself. Mason came through the ages with my son (Harry Dunn), Nick Ballamy and Martyn Swift. All of those are currently in the first team and they stay in touch now.

“Mason’s parents still live in Worthing and whenever is he back he always makes an effort to come down to the club.”