He may now be revelling in the glamour of international cricket, but 23 year old Matt Parkinson’s journey to England success included a stint at our very own Staffordshire cricket club.
He was part of Staffordshire Unicorn’s champion winning side in 2014, and played for the minor county team until 2016 where he started his first class career at nearby Lancashire.
The right handed leg spinner has achieved a lot while still only being in his early twenties, and toured the West Indies with England Lions in 2017. In September 2019 the Bolton born cricketer was named in England’s squad for their tour of New Zealand, and better yet, on 4th February 2020, made his one day International debut in South Africa.
Matt spoke to StaffsLive from the England camp in South Africa about his time there and said: “The experience in South Africa has been amazing, the fans at the grounds have been fantastic, and to be able to play for my country in a world series is a dream come true.”
Matt compared his time at his county club Lancashire to his new position with England. He said “It’s obviously a step up in the standard of cricket, you’re not only playing with the best players in England, but you are also playing against the greatest players in South Africa too.
“It’s a step up from Lancashire and the standards that are expected, fingers crossed I’ve met those standards and hopefully when I do go back to the domestic game I can take some things I’ve learnt from being in this set up”.
England are known for their formidable team spirit in the dressing room as well as on the field.
And Parkinson added: “I think it’s something that gets talked about a lot, the camaraderie between England players, and I would concur with that. Being a young player coming in, the lads are absolutely fantastic.
“There’s a reason why they won the World Cup and had a fantastic summer in 2019, it’s because they all do get on so well and I think that’s sort of environment it allows you to play to your maximum potential.”
Throughout England’s tour of South Africa, the England fans have been visibly and audibly loud and loyal. The legendary supporters’ group The Barmy Army have been present at every game, gallantly singing Jerusalem as the first over is bowled.
Parkinson explained how much influence the fans have on the England squad. He said: “The supporters make a massive difference, not only the Barmy Army but all the people that are just coming and watching normally, you saw in the Cape Town test how much of a lift it gives the players and the way it can change a result, it showed how crucial the Barmy Army are to England’s success.
“Just a massive thank you, that people would choose to come and spend their money watching England.”
“Fingers crossed the boys that played in the rest series entertained the crowd enough over the course of the three tests, I know they’re very grateful for the support”.
Matt will be hoping to be chosen as part of the England team tonight, where they play their second T20 match against South Africa at Kingsmead in Durban at 4pm.