Pace bowler Mark Footitt, who learned his trade at Papplewick and Linby Cricket Club, has been selected for England’s Test tour of South Africa next month.
The 29-year-old, who has just joined Surrey from Derbyshire, is regarded by many to be the quickest bowler on the county circuit and, with pacemen Mark Wood and Steven Finn both missing the series through injury, this could give Footitt his big chance at last.
He is still fondly remembered at Papplewick and club captain Jim Rhodes said: “He is still in touch with us and I think this is brilliant for him.
“Mark came to us as a young lad and you could see straight away he had a lot of pace.
“He was just too quick. He used to go for a lot of runs for us as the Premier League batsmen couldn’t get an edge on him, but when they did it flew for runs.
“But you could see he had more pace at that age than anyone you’d ever seen and he used to hurry top class batsmen.
“I remember one game against Welbeck, they had Malcolm Brown opening, a very talented batsman, and Mark just destroyed his helmet and the other opener suffered a broken thumb. We knew then he was something special and if he could get his accuracy he could go a long way, which he has.”
The 6ft 2ins Footitt grew up as an integral member of Papplewick’s successful youth policy and was nurtured so well by them that he went on to join Nottinghamshire CCC as a 19-year-old in 2005, though never quite made the grade at Trent Bridge, struggling to match that pace with consistency and control.
But after joining Derbyshire in 2010, Footitt appeared in 64 first class fixtures for the county claiming 251 wickets at an average of 25, including 14 five-wicket hauls.
His performances for the club earned him his first international call up when he was named in England’s Test squad for the fourth Ashes Test this summer.
The 29-year-old also appeared in 34 List A and 13 Twenty20 fixtures for the county, picking up 58 wickets across the two formats.
Footitt has just signed a four-year contract with Surrey after five years at Derbyshire, who agreed to release Footitt, who had a year left on his contract, with immediate effect after agreeing compensation with Surrey.
This month he is at the England Performance Programme (EPP) for a ten-day training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa, working alongside seven other promising English fast bowlers.
He was initially overlooked for this winter’s EPP, even though some pundits suggested he would have been a worthy replacement during England’s Test series in the UAE, after Finn succumbed to a stress injury in his foot.
But now he has a call-up to the full squad alongside Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales and the first Test starts in Durban on Boxing Day.
England squad: Alastair Cook (cpt, Essex), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Nick Compton (Middlesex), Mark Footitt (Surrey), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).