Harry Swindells on first-class debut
Academy graduate Harry Swindells fulfilled a lifelong ambition by making his first-class debut for home county Leicestershire CCC in the Specsavers County Championship fixture at leaders Lancashire CCC this week.
The 20-year-old made his T20 bow for the club against Lancashire Lightning at Emirates Old Trafford last summer, so was completing a double against the Red Rose county.
As is tradition at the club, Leicestershire CCC Head Coach Paul Nixon handed Swindells his Leicestershire CCC cap during the team’s pre-game huddle in Liverpool.
It was like a passing of the baton with Nixon having donned the gloves for the Foxes so successfully over four decades.
Swindells said: “Being a Leicester lad it is all I’ve ever dreamt of. To receive my cap off Nico [Paul Nixon] was a very proud moment for me and my family, and it will be a moment that I will remember forever.”
Nixon added: “I am very proud, for him and his family, and also from my side. You never think that you are going to be that old coach that gives the guys their well-earned county cap.
“He has a red fox for now and has a gold fox to work for down the line, and it is a very prized possession. He has worked his socks off for the last 12 months. It was satisfying for him to go out there and not just play, but to compete and do well.”
Swindells settled into the game quickly in contributing in the wickets of Haseeb Hameed, Dane Vilas, Rob Jones and Richard Gleeson as the Foxes bowled Lancashire CCC out in the first innings - but he was full of modesty.
“There were a couple of easy ones,” he said. “Bassy [Muhammad Abbas] deserved all the credit for that. He bowled brilliantly at the start and my job very easy.”
Coming in for his debut against the leaders of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two is no small task, but the Academy graduate was raring to go and compete against the best.
He said: “They have got some brilliant players and of course a few international players. But, we all want to challenge ourselves against the best and Lancashire are going to be up there at the end of the competition.”
Nixon was pleased with way Swindells took the game in his stride. He said: “This year Harry has had the opportunity to come in, and he has done well.
“I am delighted for him with the manner he played. He was a bit nervous early on which we all are on our debuts and he saw that through, played nicely and looked competent.”
Following his first testing day against a strong Lancashire CCC side, the young ‘keeper-batsman welcomed the challenge it provided.
“It is a different intensity, but I love being out there so there is no mental fatigue at all really. I just tried to soak in every minute and obviously there was a good crowd in today as well.”