John Turner: Meet England's newest fast-bowling recruit who has been compared to Glenn McGrath

2 months ago 7

England, fresh from their miserable 50-over World Cup defence, have sent a refreshed squad to tour the West Indies for three ODIs and five T20 internationals in December, with 22-year-old fast bowler John Turner eager to earn a debut cap.

Turner's selection is reward for some dazzling white-ball displays for Hampshire this summer, most notably a return of 21 wickets in just 11 Vitality Blast matches for the country - having only made his T20 debut six months ago.

He describes his pace as his "major strength", though one former coach of his - ex-Durham and South Africa cricketer Dale Benkenstein - has likened his action to Australian great, and chief England tormenter in the Ashes, Glenn McGrath.

Glenn McGrath (PA Images)

Image: John Turner has drawn comparisons with Australian fast-bowling great Glenn McGrath

"It was very nice of Benky to say that, it's a massive pat on the back for me," Turner told Sky Sports.

"I don't know if I see that comparison with McGrath myself. But if I can be half the bowler he was, I'd love that.

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"Action-wise, [Hampshire bowling coach] Graeme Welch has put it more towards Anrich Nortje of South Africa, there's a bit of resemblance there.

"If I could have a bit of both, I'd be in quite a good space going forward."

The Johannesburg-born Turner, who qualifies for England through his Zambian mother born to English parents, also hopes to replicate the fiery fast-bowling of his idol growing up, Dale Steyn.

Dale Steyn , former South Africa fast bowler

Image: Former South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn is someone who John Turner idolised growing up

"The way he bowled with the aggression, the pace, the ability and everything... he wore his heart on his sleeve and that's something I probably do, to a certain degree," Turner said in a further interview with the PA news agency.

He added: "I'm not necessarily a traditional English bowler that's going to try to swing it away and nick you off.

"I'm just going to try and hit a hard length, be consistent there and bowl as fast as I can."

England's failure at the recent World Cup, finishing seventh after only three wins in nine, has led to suggestions that it might be the end of an era in terms of the core group of players that famously led the team to victory on home soil in 2019.

England's 15-man squad in India contained only four players under the age of 30, and the touring party for the series' in the West Indies is much changed.

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"All I can do is give my best performances and make life hard for the selectors… it definitely gives me some focus," Turner said.

"Naturally after a World Cup, there will be some form of change - some years more than others. There's an exciting crop of players coming through. It's quite an exciting time for English cricket.

"Obviously the World Cup was massively disappointing for everyone but, with disappointment, it opens the door for new opportunities and new ways for things to be done."

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Turner's England bow could have come a couple of months sooner, selected for the T20 series against New Zealand at the back-end of the summer, only for a side strain to rule him out and delay his debut.

He has spent the past couple of weeks on an England Lions winter training camp in Abu Dhabi and could be handed his first international cap in Sunday's first ODI in Antigua.

"My goal going into this season was to play one or two games in the Blast and County Championship, so to have the season I had is unbelievable," Turner told Sky Sports.

"That initial call from [England Men's selector] Luke Wright to be selected for that New Zealand series was unbelievable. If you had asked me this time last year if I saw that happening in the near future, I would have definitely said no.

"It's been a whirlwind year but I've thoroughly enjoyed it."

He added: "It would be a really proud day for myself and my family [to make my debut].

"Growing up you always want to play international cricket and on the biggest stage in the world. If that does happen, it's something I'll remember and cherish for the rest of my life."

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