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Full name Graham Richard Napier
Born January 6, 1980, Colchester, Essex
Current age 34 years 324 days
Major teams England, Central Districts, England Lions, Essex, Essex 2nd XI, Essex Cricket Board, Mumbai Indians, Wellington
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium
Height 5 ft 10 in
Education Gilberd School, Colchester
|Last First-class||Essex v Worcestershire at Chelmsford, Sep 23-25, 2014 scorecard|
|List A debut||1997|
|Last List A||Essex v Warwickshire at Chelmsford, Aug 28, 2014 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Surrey v Essex at East Molesey, Jun 14, 2003 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||Essex v Warwickshire at Chelmsford, Aug 2, 2014 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|2/18, 2, 5/54||Essex||v Worcs||Chelmsford||23 Sep 2014||FC|
|3/43, 4, 0/26||Essex||v Leics||Leicester||15 Sep 2014||FC|
|3/44, 62, 4/28||Essex||v Kent||Chelmsford||9 Sep 2014||FC|
|1/58, 21||Essex||v Warwickshire||Chelmsford||28 Aug 2014||LA|
|15, 3/11, 4||Essex||v Glamorgan||Swansea||15 Aug 2014||FC|
|7, 2/58||Essex||v Hampshire||Chelmsford||13 Aug 2014||LA|
|0/84||Essex||v Yorkshire||Scarborough||11 Aug 2014||LA|
|0/17||Essex||v Gloucs||Chelmsford||8 Aug 2014||LA|
|1/36||Essex||v Lancashire||Chelmsford||5 Aug 2014||LA|
|0/44||Essex||v Warwickshire||Chelmsford||2 Aug 2014||T20|
As a product of the Essex youth system, Graham Napier made his mark in county cricket as an allrounder of great promise, which he began to fulfil in the latter half of his career. In 2008 he wrote his name in the record books with an astonishing 152 against Sussex in a Twenty20, which included a world record 16 sixes; five years later, he took seven wickets in a 40-over match against Surrey, which included bowling Ricky Ponting through the gate before going on to take four in four balls.
Those efforts encapsulated the two sides of Napier's game, which make him a huge crowd favourite and a key player for Essex - particularly in one-day cricket, where his hard-hitting batting is complemented by a nifty line in seam bowling, which can prove frustratingly hard to dispatch in the closing overs of a match.
He appeared to be making a steady rise to prominence when, in July 2004, he was named in a pool of 30 players for the Champions Trophy. In 2003, he equalled the highest number of wickets taken by an Essex player in a one-day league campaign (33), and was subsequently selected for the ECB academy tour of Malaysia and India in early 2004. But injury problems mounted and he slipped down the Essex pecking order, to the point where he wasn't even sure of his place. A few difficult seasons followed, but his record-breaking Twenty20 Cup innings drew the selectors' attention, as well as that of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, and in 2009 he was named in England's World Twenty20 squad.
In spite of continuing good Twenty20 performances for Essex and Central Districts in New Zealand, he was left out of England's initial 30 for the 2010 World Twenty20. Napier stated his determination to prove the selectors wrong, but was then dealt a heavy blow when, in June 2010, he suffered a stress fracture to his back, ending his season. But he made a mark immediately upon his return to the county game, thrashing 196 against Surrey at Whitgift School - a knock which equalled Andrew Symonds' world record for the most sixes in a first-class innings with 16 towering blows.
Napier may not have earned an international cap but he is established as one of Essex's most popular players, enthralling Chelmsford in Twenty20s in a way reminiscent of a homegrown star at West Ham. In 2012, he enjoyed a benefit year at Essex. It also proved his best first-class season yet, averaging 33.50 with the bat and 22.95 with the ball. The following season, he took 50 first-class wickets for the first time, whilst averaging nearly 50 with the bat, emphasising his importance.
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