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Cricket: SPIN STAR EARNS COUNTY CALL UP; City bowler Ben selected for Lancs.

Byline: By TIM JOHNSON School Sport Correspondent

THE APPARENT LACK of a top quality English Test match leg spinner to rival the likes of Shane Warne has been bemoaned by cricket followers for decades.

But Liverpool Cricket Club have accidentally discovered a 12-year old exponent of the secret art who is already being said to be a better spin bowler at the same age than either Graeme Swann or Gareth Batty.

This has also been recognised by Lancashire and he has become the first player from Liverpool to be selected for the county under11 team.

Veteran cricket coach John Wylie told Junior Xsport: 'Ben Wilson came to the club four years ago when he was eight years old. I was told he was a promising wicketkeeper and this indeed proved to be the case.

'He played in the club under11 side for three years and was a member of a cup-winning side twice.

'He kept wicket for Liverpool Schoolboys for two years and kept once for the under-13 Liverpool side when the regular wicketkeeper was unavailable.

'When Ben was in year six,' continued the former headmaster, 'we were practising at the club and he was bowling. This was the first time I had seen him bowl and I immediately told him that he should stop keeping wicket as he was now a bowler.

'He bowls leg spin and is the most promising lad of his age I have seen, and I saw Batty and Swann, when they were 11, playing for their county sides against the Lancashire side I managed.

'Ben protested for the rest of the season, saying he would rather keep wicket than be a bowler. His bowling has to a large extent been responsible for the Liverpool Cricket Club under-11s winning the MYA league title 'I recommended Ben for Lancashire trials. He reached the final trials and played at Rainford last week. He was the best spin bowler on view and was selected for the under-12 side.

'He would rather bowl now than keep wicket. He is in year seven at Merchant Taylors and is captain of their year sevens.

'Against King's School, Macclesfield, he took seven wickets in three overs, so he has obviously made his mark.

'Ben is the first boy from Liverpool to win a place in the Lancashire under 11 side.'

These days the Woolton lad is quite happy bowling.

He said: 'I came t o spin bowling by watching Shane Warne bowl on TV, and I just copied what he did. I still have a lot to discover and I am learning to bowl the googly and the other variations.

'I need to work on batting. I have a highest score of about 30 and usually I field close in at slip or point. I also play rugby at school and I play football as a goalkeeper
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2005
Words:475
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