VIDEO: Six-year-old cricketer Charlie Allison becomes an internet hit

CHARLIE Allison’s favourite cricketer said he could not believe his eyes when he watched the video of the six-year-old internet sensation.

The video of Charlie, who comes from Colchester, has been viewed more than 117,000 times since it was posted on YouTube on January 14.

The clip shows him batting in the nets playing his favourites shots – cover drives, pulls, hooks and even reverse sweeps – with a technique and control way beyond his tender years.

Essex all-rounder Graham Napier, who is Charlie’s favourite player, said that if he continues to develop with the right mentoring he could fulfil his dream of becoming a professional cricketer.

Napier, who was born in Colchester, said: “I saw the video posted on Facebook and was amazed that a six-year-old could have such a natural technique for someone of his age. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“If he continues to develop and gets the right mentoring who knows? In ten years’ time he may be signed up by Essex as a county cricketer and follow in the footsteps of players like Alastair Cook and myself.”

The video was posted by cricket coach Ben Stephens, an opening bowler who plays for Colchester & East Essex and last season made his debut for Suffolk in the one-day Minor Counties KO Trophy.

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News of Charlie’s batting prowess spread like wildfire, and he has since been featured on Sky TV and in national newspapers and even on Indian television!

After seeing the video former England wicket-keeper and batsman Alec Stewart tweeted: “Get him to the SCCC (Surrey County Cricket Club) ASAP!” before tweeting ex-England captains Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff plus ex-England coach and current Sky Sports commentator David Lloyd and television personality Piers Morgan.

Charlie has already been tagged ‘six-year-old Sachin’ after Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar and one punter has placed a bet on him breaking Test records.

After being bowled over by the video, the viewer commented: “I’ve just bet �50 on him breaking England all-time Test run scoring record. Got odds of 5,000-1.”

THE CRICKET coach whose video of Charlie Allison has become an internet sensation filmed the six-year-old in return for agreeing to give him some equipment.

The video was shot by Ben Stephens, who set up cricket bat and equipment manufacturing company Piripiri Cricket two years ago with Steve Parnell.

Charlie is the youngest of three talented brothers – Ollie, who is nine, and 12-year-old Ben – who are the sons of Wivenhoe cricketer Tom Allison.

Stephens, 25, said: “Charlie first came to my attention when Tom went to sign him up for a junior winter coaching course for under-11s that I was running.

“At first I said no, because he is only six-years-old, but Tom said he would be alright because he was used to playing against his older brothers in the garden, so I agreed Charlie could come along to the first session.

“He started bowling seam and he knocked the stumps over and I thought he was awesome for his age. When it came to his turn to bat and he had 11-year-olds bowling at him, I told Charlie to take his time as the ball would be coming at him quicker than what he was used to and to try to get in line and not to try any attacking shots. The first ball he faced he took a couple of steps down the wicket and played a good defensive shot. He then left the next ball, which was outside off stump and swung, and the next ball was a half volley outside off stump and he reverse swept it. I stood there in amazement. I said to Charlie ‘I said no attacking shots’ and he replied ‘It was along the ground’ and my chin just dropped.

“I coached him for the five weeks up to Christmas along with the under-11 group, and from what I have been told those sessions were the first real coaching he has had – he has just picked it up from watching on television and playing with his brothers and dad in the garden.

“The irony is that Charlie is not even old enough to play ‘hard ball’ cricket!”

Stephens said that Piripiri Cricket ran a sponsorship scheme for talented young cricketers and so agreed to sponsor both Ben and Ollie, who are already in the Essex county youth squads, and all three boys visited his shop along with their dad to buy some gear.

“Charlie picked up the smallest bat he could find and I said he could have it on condition I made a video, which we did a couple of weeks later.”

As a result Charlie is believed to be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, person ever to land a sports sponsorship deal.

Stephens continued: “I had never made a video before and I shot it on my iphone and then edited it before putting it live on the internet at 10 o’clock on the Saturday night.

“I tweeted it to a couple of celebrities and within the hour (ex-Essex captain) Ronnie Irani had retweeted it. When I checked at 11.30pm it had already received 450 hits, and it just took off from there. By the time I went to bed on the Monday night 12,000 viewers had watched it.

“That night my telephone started going nuts and I woke up around midnight to find Cricket Australia had tweeted it. The number of hits went from 12,000 to 42,000 overnight in just six hours!”

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