As an eight-year-old only child watching the 2005 Ashes series, Mason Crane was inspired by the bewitching displays of Shane Warne. From that moment he wanted to be a legspinner. Twelve years later he made his England debut in Twenty20 cricket and to cap the summer, at 21, he was chosen for England’s Ashes tour party.
Life had not always been that rewarding. When his home county, Sussex, left him out of their Under-14 squad he was bereft – for many a lad that would be the end of the story – but he was fortunate enough to be a pupil at Lancing College whose cricket master, Raj Maru, was a former Hampshire left-arm spinner and involved with the county academy. With the help of Maru and the Hampshire academy spin coach, Darren Flint, he soon won England call-ups at England U-17 and U-19 level.
Crane made his Hampshire 1st XI debut against Surrey at the Ageas Bowl and took 2 for 35 as he dismissed Kumar Sangakkara – quite a first wicket – with a rank full toss and Vikram Solanki, stumped in more orthodox fashion. A few weeks later, against Warwickshire at the Ageas Bowl, Crane became the youngest Hampshire player to take a five-wicket haul in the Championship.
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