A rangy legspinning allrounder, Matt Critchley loved a step forward summer time in 2021. A tally of 1000 first class runs, along 32 wickets, noticed Critchley’s identify input discussions as a possible candidate for England’s heart order. It additionally alerted different counties to his possible, and he due to this fact became down an advanced contract be offering from Derbyshire, the place he had spent seven seasons within the first group, to soak up the problem of Department One cricket with Essex.
Critchley was Derbyshire’s youngest century-maker in simplest his 2d first class fit, and his promise as a spinner was once underlined through reward from Stuart MacGill, who touted him for England after mentoring him on an ECB placement in Sydney. He was once known as as much as England Lions – the primary Derbyshire participant to win such popularity – in 2018 and demonstrated his skills as a T20 finisher the similar yr when blasting 19 runs off the general over in opposition to Yorkshire to seal victory in a Blast fit at Chesterfield.
Critchley started lifestyles as a Lancashire age crew participant and his father was once a Stage 3 trainer – he as soon as put his construction right down to “a large number of hours within the chilly, bowling at my dad”. However he did not win a spot on the Outdated Trafford academy, with Matt Parkinson and Rob Jones forward of him, and moved to Derbyshire.
His first class debut got here in 2015, and every week later he scored 137 no longer out on his house floor in opposition to Northamptonshire. His emergence was once an extraordinary shiny spot for Derbyshire as a tender facet struggled. A unique efficiency at Lord’s attracted headlines in 2018 when he was Derbyshire’s youngest century-maker on the floor, outdoing Stan Worthington whose file had stood for 90 years. He starred with the ball, too, with ten wickets within the fit in opposition to Northants (once more) to lend a hand Derbyshire pull off their first win at Chesterfield for 10 years.
The wicket of Steven Smith in an Australia excursion fit was once an extraordinary spotlight in 2019, when he struggled with bat and ball, however a sequence of spectacular all-round showings within the Bob Willis Trophy the next summer time set him up for a career-defining 2021.