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Crane follows Imran Khan with New South Wales debut

Mason Crane has moved from Sydney grade cricket to the New South Wales XI Getty Images

Mason Crane, the Hampshire legspinner, has become the first overseas cricketer to play for New South Wales in more than 30 years after being handed his debut against South Australia.

There was some thought that damp weather in Sydney would hamper his chances of being named in the XI, but on Tuesday morning he was handed his NSW cap by former Australia legspinner Stuart MacGill, who Crane has worked closely with during his stint playing grade cricket for Gordon where he caught the eye of NSW selectors.

At the end of a rain-affected first day, Crane had his first Shield wicket. Despite only bowling five overs, he had Tom Cooper caught trying to clear the infield as South Australia stuttered to 5 for 169.

His spell in Australia had been arranged through the ECB's overseas placement scheme with help from Hampshire team-mate Will Smith, a previous Gordon player, and 20-year-old Crane is the first overseas player for NSW since Imran Khan in 1984-85.

"Australian State teams don't pick overseas players lightly, especially New South Wales, as their record shows," Peter Such, the ECB's leading spin-bowling coach, said. "So to force his way in through weight of wickets, and also the impression he has made in their practice sessions, is a tribute both to his ability and the hard work he has put in.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo last month, Crane highlighted his time with MacGill - "there can't be many better blokes to talk about that with" - and said the volume of overs he had bowled had been ideal for him.

"I've bowled nearly 500 match overs out here, and there's really no substitute for that," he said. "I'll leave here very cricket-fit, and in great rhythm."

Ahead of his NSW debut, Crane had 45 first-class wickets at 40.75.