Meschede latest on list of Somerset Academy graduates

Craig Meschede has become the fourth product of the Somerset Academy to be given his senior debut in a domestic competition this season.

The 19-year-old all-rounder was selected for the Clydesdale Bank 40 game against Lancashire at Taunton on May 15, although he didn’t get to bat or bowl in a comprehensive seven-wicket victory.

Meschede’s only previous first team experience came in last winter’s Caribbean Twenty20 tournament when he impressed with the bat in a couple of games.

He was born in Johannesburg, but qualifies as a non-overseas player with Somerset through his German father.

Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose rates Meschede a top prospect and likens his striking of the ball to that of Craig Kieswetter when he was developing in the county’s Second XI.

Rose is encouraging the youngster to bat for longer periods and Meschede’s selection against Lancashire followed a century in a drawn Second XI game with Middlesex at Richmond last week.

He made 105 off 144 balls, with 14 fours and two sixes, batting for almost three hours to help to save the game.

With Lewis Gregory, Adam Dibble and Alex Barrow already having tasted first team cricket in recent weeks, the Somerset Academy is proving its worth at a time when the first team squad is stretched.

Another product of it, leg-spinner Max Waller, was also called into the Somerset side for the first time this season against Lancashire and both he and Meschede are expected to be in the squad for this week’s LV=County Championship game against Sussex at Hove.

James Hildreth misses that game because he will be captaining England Lions against Sri Lanka, while Kieswetter is ruled out by a quad muscle injury and both Murali Kartik and Alfonso Thomas are still involved in the Indian Premier League.

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