Welsh youngster Kiran Carlson is one to watch.
ROLE: Right-hand middle-order batsman, off-spinner
WHO THE HELL? The Welsh youngster made his debut for Glamorgan last August, taking 5-28 against Northants. Two matches later he scored 119 against promotion-chasing Essex at Chelmsford, making him the youngest player in the history of county cricket to take a five-fer and reach three figures. He followed it up by hitting an unbeaten 74 in the final fixture of the campaign against Leicestershire.
WHAT’S HIS STORY? Born and bred in Cardiff, Carlson attended Whitchurch High School – the same institution that has seen Gareth Bale, Sam Warburton and Geraint Thomas walk through its doors. He was a handy rugby player himself, playing fly-half for the Welsh Academicals representative side. Last season he was playing regularly for Cardiff CC in the South Wales Premier League and his weight of runs for Glamorgan’s second XI towards the end of the summer gave him his chance in the first team. This winter he’s been out in Australia playing club cricket for Hampton CC in Victoria.
GOOD TIMES? It’s hard to imagine a much better start to a career than Carlson’s. His five-fer at Wantage Road represented the best figures by a Glamorgan spinner on debut, while his century made him the county’s youngest first-class centurion, beating Mike Llewellyn’s effort from 1972.
CHALLENGES? The key for Carlson will be to show that last season’s achievements weren’t a flash in the pan. If he can maintain his current averages of 32 with the bat and 30 with the ball over a full season he’ll be a very useful cricketer indeed. Glamorgan’s County Championship form may hinder his hopes of higher honours – the Welsh county came one-from-bottom in Division Two last year, with only winless Derbyshire below them. However, Carlson is part of a young cohort which hints at a bright future.
FINAL WORD: “We had a chance to blood a few youngsters last year and these players really put their hands up when it mattered. Kiran’s contributions, including a five-fer on his first-class debut and becoming the club’s youngest centurion, were outstanding, but we’ve got a good production line of homegrown cricketers with talent and promise rising through the ranks at the moment. If Kiran and the others can continue to develop and challenge to push for their place in the team it bodes well for an exciting future at the club.” Robert Croft, Glamorgan head coach