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County Championship 2021

Wisden’s under-24 team of the 2021 County Championship

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

The County Championship season has come to a close and we’ve decided to take a look at the young players who impressed across the summer.

We’ve come up with an XI of youngsters – all of whom were under the age of 24 when the season began on April 8, 2021 – who thrived in the red-ball arena.

Tom Haines – Sussex

1,176 runs @ 47.04, 3 hundreds, 6 half-centuries

The 22-year-old opener took his game to another level in 2021, putting aside his side’s struggles to finish as the leading run-scorer in the competition.

Rob Yates – Warwickshire

793 runs @ 37.76. 4 hundreds, 2 half-centuries

It was boom or bust for the 22-year-old left-hander – four tons were joined by 14 single-figure scores. He closed the competition with a brisk unbeaten 132 against Somerset to help Warwickshire to their first County Championship title since 2012.

James Bracey – Gloucestershire (wk)

715 runs @ 37.63, 1 hundred, six half-centuries | 33 dismissals

His returns tailed off after he returned from England duty, but Bracey’s entry into the Test arena came after a stellar start to the season: his first five matches of the season included one century and four half-centuries as Gloucestershire secured four early wins. Managed the heavy workload of batting in the top three and keeping wicket too.

Ollie Pope – Surrey

861 runs @ 78.27, 3 hundreds

Lifeless surfaces at The Oval certainly helped Pope – all three of his hundreds came at the ground and his season-ending 274 was on a surface that produced 10 wickets across four days – but his numbers are just too good to ignore. His ruthlessness is particularly impressive: four of his 12 first-class centuries have been doubles.

Josh Bohannon – Lancashire

853 runs @ 53.31, 2 hundreds, 5 half-centuries

Bohannon was Lancashire’s leading run-scorer as they fell just short of a first County Championship title since 2011 and kicked off their Division One campaign with a knock of 170 from No.3 against eventual champions Warwickshire.

Dan Lawrence – Essex

640 runs @ 53.33, 1 hundred, 4 half-centuries

While he was unable to establish himself a permanent fixture in England’s Test line-up this summer, Lawrence still thrived for Essex, finishing as the county’s leading run-scorer in the Championship despite missing four fixtures.

Kiran Carlson – Glamorgan

928 runs @ 48.84, 3 hundreds, 5 half-centuries

It was a fine summer for the 23-year-old, who captained Glamorgan to one-day glory and discovered consistency against the red Dukes. After averaging just 14 in last year’s Bob Willis Trophy, Carlson began and ended this summer with first-class half-centuries and found time to hit two hundreds in one match against Sussex in April.

Dom Bess – Yorkshire

28 wickets @ 32.57, 2 five-fors

A solid if not spectacular first season at Yorkshire for the England off-spinner, who delivered career-best figures of 7-43 against Northants in July.

Ben Aitchison – Derbyshire

34 wickets @ 23.29, 1 five-for

After making his first-class debut last year, Aitchison finished this season as Derbyshire’s leading wicket-taker in the County Championship. Durham fell victim to his career-best figures of 6-28 in May.

Ethan Bamber – Middlesex

52 wickets @ 20.84, 1 five-for

A metronomic seamer not too dissimilar to his senior colleague, Tim Murtagh, Bamber claimed a half-century of first-class wickets in a summer for the first time in 2021.

Sam Cook – Essex

58 wickets @ 14.43, 3 five-fours, 1 10-wicket haul

An excellent campaign – only Luke Fletcher and Chris Rushworth took more wickets in the Championship – came to a staggering end: in an innings win over Northants inside four sessions, Cook followed up first-innings figures of 5-21 with a second-innings haul of 5-20.

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