County set - Worcestershire July 15, 2004

Mason makes it

John Westerby
Matt Mason is hardly the archetypal English seamer

Matt Mason is hardly the archetypal English seamer. He is Australian for a start and qualifies as a non-overseas player only through an Irish passport. But despite the circuitous route that has taken him to New Road, he is amply meeting the criteria expected of the leader of an English seam attack.

Since arriving in 2002 after drifting out of contention with Western Australia, Mason has clawed his way towards the front rank of Worcestershire's seamers. He played six games in his first season, taking 22 Championship wickets at 26.40 apiece. In 2003 he managed 13 games and his 49 victims cost 21.18 runs each. This year, having turned 30, he has been an ever-present in the first half of the Championship campaign and has been his side's leading wicket-taker with 34 wickets at an average of 23.38.

"He's coming down from 6ft 6in, hits the seam and can swing the ball, which is an ideal combination for English conditions," says Tom Moody, the director of cricket. "He's what you'd call a length bowler, who gets players to come forward but will occasionally get that bit of extra bounce."

Moody takes particular pride in Mason's success, having tempted him into playing county cricket in the first place. "I'd known Matt since he was 18 and he'd missed the boat in first-class cricket in Australia.

"I knew that county cricket was an option for him but the first time I suggested it he turned it down. I tried again and he went for it. He's made a lot of friends in Worcester, among supporters and players, so I don't think he's regretted the move."

Moment of the month Vikram Solanki, after taking one Championship wicket in four years, suddenly took five in 13 overs against Surrey