How Did The Class Of 2002 Fare?
On the opening day of the 2012 Under-19 World Cup in Australia, Daniel Grummitt takes a look at how many of England’s players from the tournament’s 2002 edition made the step up to become a member of the senior team’s currently number one ranked ODI side. The players involved ten years ago will now be aged about 28, an age when they should be at the peak of their career. How many made the grade and what happened to the ones that didn’t?
England’s XI for their final match in the 2002 Under-19 World Cup against South Africa: (tournament statistics in brackets)
Bilal Shafayat (139 runs at an average of 46.33, two wickets at 30)
Bilal Shafayat hasn’t lived up to the promise that he showed as a prolific age-group cricketer. While at Nottinghamshire, he was very much talked about as England’s next big thing, but he is now on his third county, Hampshire, having also spent time at Northamptonshire. His first-class record is not disastrous – he averages a shade under 30 from his 138 matches – but Hampshire, where he is essentially on a season-long trial, must surely represent his last chance to make the grade as a professional cricketer.
Kadeer Ali (150 runs at 25)
Kadeer Ali is in a similar place to Shafayat, in that he is currently on an extended trial with a county, in his case Leicestershire; has a first-class average of marginally less than 30; and is on his third county – the other two being Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. He also turns out for minor county Staffordshire on occasions and comes from a cricketing family – his brother Moeen Ali is a successful Worcestershire cricketer, while Kabir Ali is now at Hampshire and played a Test match for England.
Nicky Peng (200 runs at 33.33)
Peng was skipper of the side and had begun his career with his native Durham in fine fashion, hitting 98 on debut as a 17 year-old against Surrey. Unfortunately, things never kicked on from there and, after losing his first-team place at the end of 2005, he signed for Glamorgan. He suddenly quit playing in July 2007, saying, “This season I have lost confidence and belief in my ability despite trying 100 per cent. I have stopped enjoying the game.”
Kyle Hogg (127 runs at 25.4, six wickets at 37.83)
Regular Lancashire followers will be surprised to see Kyle Hogg batting as high as four, but he was very much a genuine all-rounder in his youth. He is a one-county man and came close to an England one-day debut at the beginning of the decade, when he was ranked as highly as James Anderson by the national selectors. He suffered with injury during the middle of the decade, but was a key part of Lancashire’s County Championship winning side last season, taking 50 wickets at an average of 19.
Samit Patel (97 runs at 24.25, one wicket at 141)
Patel is one of two players in England’s 2002 team to have made the step up to play Test cricket. After overcoming fitness issues, he was able to resume an international career which began during the captaincy regime of Kevin Pietersen but came to a halt at the beginning of Andrew Strauss’ and Andy Flower’s reign. He went back to Nottinghamshire, where he learnt his trade and for whom he has been an excellent performer over the years, and worked on his fitness and general game. In 2011 he was rewarded with a recall to England’s ODI side and debuts in both Test and Twenty20 Internationals.
Gordon Muchall (126 runs at 21, six wickets at 20.33)
Muchall has never quite cemented his place in Durham’s first-team and has never finished a season with a first-class average of more than 40. He is still contracted to the county, but has endured a difficult 2012 season. His best seasons were in 2010 and 2011 where he averaged more than 35. During the World Cup, he was used by England as an allrounder, but his medium-pace has yielded just 15 wickets from 137 first-class matches during his career thus far.
Mark Pettini (44 runs at 14.66)
Pettini has been one of the more successful members of the class of 2002 without quite earning international honours. He was named in England’s provisional 30-man squad for the 2007 World Twenty20 but that is as close as he has got. Always, more comfortable in the shorter forms of the game, his career highlight to date was probably leading Essex to the 2008 FP Trophy title. Unfortunately, he was forced to give up the captaincy in 2010 as his batting suffered, but his career is on the up now thanks to a solid 2012 campaign in all formats.
Stephen Pope (43 runs at 10.75)
Wicket-keeper Pope played only 14 times for Gloucestershire’s first-team, most of those appearances coming during the 2003 season. He lost the battle with Steve Adshead to replace stalwart Jack Russell behind the stumps and played his last match for them in 2003. He also played once for Surrey in 2006. He is now a level 3 qualified ECB coach.
Tim Bresnan (38 runs at 12.66, eight wickets at 31.25)
Bresnan really needs no introduction. He is currently a member of England’s Test side which is clinging onto its number one ranking against South Africa and was a key part of England’s Ashes winning side of 2010-11. His international career began in 2006 against Sri Lanka where he was one of several young England bowlers who were ruthlessly dispatched by Sanath Jayasuriya and co. He was discarded but recalled in 2008 and made his Test debut in 2009.
Chris Gilbert (five runs at 2.5, three wickets at 38.66)
Gilbert played one first-class match for Yorkshire in 2007 before being released at the end of that season. Oddly enough, after being a bowling all-rounder in 2002, he became almost exclusively a batsman in his later career and played 13 times for Yorkshire in the 2006 and 2007 Twenty20 Cups, scoring 107 runs with a top-score of 36 not out and not bowling. He moved to Australia in 2008 and now plays for Western Australian club side Scarborough CC.
Paul McMahon (one run, seven wickets at 29)
McMahon struggled for first-team opportunities at Nottinghamshire after impressing during the 2002 World Cup and was released at the end of 2006. He played second fiddle firstly to Stuart MacGill and then to Graeme Swann so was forced to develop his batting to try to earn a place as a second spinner. He did this successfully and finished with a batting average of 18.55 and a highest score of 99 from 21 matches. With the ball he took 52 wickets at an average of 37.46. He now plays for minor county Cambridgeshire and for Peterborough Town in the Northamptonshire Premier League.
Only two of England’s players from the 2002 edition made the ultimate step up to play international cricket. Now, while I expect more than that number to graduate from the class of 2012, if I were to pick two players from the side that played Australia today who are most likely to do so, then I would have to go for Kent opener Daniel Bell-Drummond and Essex wicket-keeper Ben Foakes, with the other likely candidates including Reece Topley and Jamie Overton.
Let’s have another look in 10 years time to see if I was right!
© Cricket World 2012