Josh Baker admitted he had experienced a week “that dreams are made of” after claiming a wicket on his senior debut for Worcestershire CCC in the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Warwickshire at New Road.
The 17-year-old had taken a hat-trick for the Seconds against Nottinghamshire, signed his first rookie professional contract with the County and then dismissed Warwickshire batsman, Sam Hain, to claim his first Championship scalp.
Baker showed plenty of control against Worcestershire’s local rivals, and his arm ball trapped Hain lbw immediately before the players left the field for rain with the total 245-4 from 77.4 overs.
It was a proud day for Josh’s father, Paul, and his grandparents, who witnessed the debut of the former Malvern College pupil.
Baker said: “I got told yesterday (Saturday) by Joe Leach (Club Captain) that I was playing. He came over and shook my hand, and said congratulations.
“I knew I was in the squad after the second team game against Nottinghamshire. Joe came up to me and said, ‘we think it’s going to be a turning wicket, so we’d like you to be in and around the squad.’
“I made sure I went to bed early Saturday night, but I didn’t get that much sleep – about six hours – but it was good nerves!”
Baker came into the attack after just ten overs, and his three spells brought figures of 1-35 from 12.4 overs.
He said: “It was nice to have an early bowl; it filled me with confidence. I was glad that I landed all of the first over on the strip, not full-bungers. I was pleased with how it (the ball) came out.
“Was there much turn? No, it was pretty flat, not much out there. A little bit later in the day. Ish (Sodhi) got a few to turn out of the footholes.
“The first and second sessions were tough, but then Ish got the breakthrough, and we sort of tumbled a few wickets from there.
“The message was to keep going, keep the pressure on, just try and make them do something they don’t want to do because it is quite flat.”
Baker struck immediately before rain brought a premature close in the latest positive twist in his career.
He said: “Absolutely delighted with the wicket. Just a little slide on, and he (Hain) was trapped on the back foot. Really happy. I pushed it through a bit quicker.
“I tried to vary my pace, because it was not turning, to try and deceive the batsmen a little bit, a few quick ones.
“I hadn’t played a second-team game until April-May, and then played a bit of Academy, a bit of second team, and then I did pretty well in the Seconds, and now I’m here, which is quite a shock.
“Not look fazed? No, I think that is key, just trying to do my job, do the basics well, and just enjoy it really.
“The lads have been excellent with me today, really made me feel welcome, and it was really nice.
“I didn’t really feel out of my depth which is a good thing, I guess.
“It’s been a good week with the contract and the hat-trick for Seconds, although I didn’t realise at the time because it was spread over two overs.
“The week couldn’t have gone much better. It is what dreams are made of. Very special and nice that my dad and grandparents were here.”