Reece Topley on why he had to leave Essex for Hampshire

Reece Topley

Reece Topley - Credit: PA

Former Essex bowler Reece Topley says the prospect of playing Division One cricket at a Test venue was too good to turn down.

Topley, 21, joined Division One Hampshire last month, the south coast side, who play at the Ageas Bowl, escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth last season.

Ipswich-born Topley, who recently won his first England caps for the country’s one-day and T20 sides, hopes playing at the highest level with Hampshire will raise his profile even further at international level, but admits it was not easy to depart Essex.

The former Royal Hospital School pupil, who goes on tour with the England senior team for their One-Day and T20 internationals against Pakistan, in UAE, next month, exclusively told the East Anglian Daily Times: “I wanted to play Division One cricket.

“It was the right time to move and progress. I am still young, I am still hungry and have the best years ahead of me. If I can have them on the big stage, that would be ideal and I would get the most recognition.

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“Playing at a Test ground was vital to becoming a better bowler, because you are playing on international wickets.

“I’m not saying the wickets aren’t as good elsewhere, but the facilities and grounds are going to be better and you want to put yourself in that international environment.

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“I am excited to be joining Hampshire, they are a team that I have never enjoyed playing against, simply because they are so good at one-day cricket and they are progressing in the four-day game.”

On leaving Essex, he added: “My time there was probably cut short because of where the club hadn’t gone in the last five years, but I gave everything for the club in every game and loved playing alongside every one of my team-mates.

“There are a lot of people to thank at Essex. I wish I could have Chris Silverwood (bowling coach) with me for every game, he was brilliant and helped me a lot.

“Paul Grayson (Ex-Essex head coach) became a good friend, while Connor Browne (strength & conditioning coach) and Chris Clarke-Irons (physiotherapist) were phenomenal with me last year and really patient, and got me back from my injury.

“Due to them I gained some more pace, which probably resulted in me being called-up for England.”

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