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T20 Blast 2021

Archie Lenham, the 16-year-old leg-spinner making waves in the T20 Blast

archie lenham
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

One of the most intriguing storylines to have emerged so far in this year’s T20 Blast has come from Sussex, who have given game time to Archie Lenham, a 16-year-old leg-spinner.

Born on July 23, 2004, he wasn’t even alive when the first T20 was played a year earlier.

How has he performed?

Three appearances so far this season have resulted in four wickets at an average of 14.75, with Lenham stealing the show in front of the Sky cameras in his second match, against Hampshire, with figures of 3-14.

After dropping a straightforward catch at short third man, Lenham bounced back moments later when he dismissed Tom Alsop with his first ball of the match. Lewis McManus was the next man to go, and Lenham then found turn to have Joe Weatherly stumped for his third. With Sussex cruising to a nine-wicket win, he was named the Player of the Match.

Family ties

Lenham has a strong family connection with Sussex. His father Neil hit more than 10,000 first-class runs for the club in the Eighties and Nineties, while grandfather Leslie made 300 appearances for the county, amassing nearly 13,000 runs. Scott, his 19-year-old brother, featured in a warm-up match against Surrey earlier this year and has played for Sussex’s seconds.

The youth vote

Lenham is one of many youngsters currently coming through at Sussex – as County Championship and 50-over cricket head coach Ian Salisbury told Jo Harman earlier this year: “Don’t put barriers on kids. Don’t think they can’t do it because they’ll believe they can.” Earlier this month, 16-year-old Danial Ibrahim was handed a first-team debut in the County Championship against Sussex and delivered a half-century in his maiden innings before dismissing Tom Kohler-Cadmore with the ball.

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