Grayson says Suffolk’s England star Reece Topley is ‘big game’ player

Reece Topley

Reece Topley - Credit: Matthew Lewis

Former Essex head coach Paul Grayson says he never had any doubt Reece Topley would make an impact on the international stage.

Grayson, along with bowling coach Chris Silverwood, played a huge part in Topley’s ascent to the first team at Essex, and he is now delighted at watching the 21-year-old’s progress from afar, as Durham University’s new MCCU coach.

Topley has taken five wickets so far in England’s one-day series with Pakistan, helping them to a 2-1 lead, and is in the team for the final 50-over game between the teams today.

The Ipswich-born, former Royal Hospital schoolboy is hoping an impressive display in Abu Dhabi will see him make the plane for the England one-day team’s tour of South Africa in the New Year.

If he does make the cut, Grayson is confident the left-armer, who will also be in the squad for the forthcoming T20 series against Pakistan, will make a positive impact.

“Reece is a very talented bowler and the biggest thing with him is that he likes the big stage,” explained Grayson.

“He is a big game player and he has got a chance of being a consistent performer on the international stage.

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“He was often Essex’s best player in our various quarter-final and semi-final games. He has a great character and attitude.

“I hope he does make South Africa. He has done himself absolutely no harm with his performances.”

Grayson and Topley have both left Essex since the end of the season, with the latter moving to Division One side Hampshire after his deal expired at the County Ground.

Playing at a higher level should bring him more attention from the England hierarchy and Grayson hopes the rising star can become a valuable international asset in all formats of the game.

“I always thought he would force his way in to the England setup with the white ball,” Grayson, who also played for Essex, and England’s limited-over side, revealed.

“I hope at some stage he can make an impact in Test cricket and he does not just want to be a one-day bowler. Reece has gone to work with England at various levels in the past and has always impressed.”

On Topley’s departure from Essex, the 44-year-old added.

“It’s disappointing from Essex’s point-of-view that he decided to leave at the end of his contract and the club deserves a lot of credit for giving him his first opportunity.

“He was very close with Chris Silverwood and they worked well together.”

As for Grayson, he is revelling in his new role at Durham.

“I am working with some very hungry cricketers and I hope to help them be successful,” he said. “I had a fantastic 19 years at Essex but it was time for me to move on and try something different.”