Adam Edward Nicholas Riley
March 23, 1992, Sidcup, Kent
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Beths Grammar School, Bexley
The abrupt retirement of Graeme Swann during an Ashes whitewash in Australia in 2013-14 left England examining their spin bowling resources and realizing with trepidation that the cupboard was almost bare. They settled on Moeen Ali as a spin-bowling allrounder, but as they gazed around the counties for promising young talent many eyes settled on Kent's Adam Riley. Peter Such, England's spin bowling coach, was among those who held him in high regard and there was hint of Such, too, in the flight he sought from an upright action.
But he was an inexperienced spinner and reality soon dawned that he had some way to go before he had learned his trade. There was talk of remodelling his action and of bowling faster. He became the forgotten men among young England spinners - and there weren't many to forget. So when in 2018 he celebrated his first Championship wickets for three years in a Kent victory against Derbyshire in Derby (7 for 146 in the match) it was cause for relief.
James Tredwell's absences with England during 2013 had allowed Riley to advance his offspinning career in his third year in the Kent first team. The young Kentish Man took 7 for 50 against Hampshire and averaged a respectable 27 with the ball in Championship cricket. He was a regular in both the FL T20 and YB40 sides, claiming 16 wickets altogether in the short forms of the game.
The attention was all the greater in 2014. His return of 48 wickets at 32.58 was a solid enough return as he became a key part of Kent's increasingly youthful side and he went on a Lions tour to South Africa before his progress was halted by a muscle tear that refused to heal and modifications to his action.
His presence had been enough for Tredwell to accept a loan spell at Sussex in mid-season search of one-day cricket, although he returned to the Kent fold at the end of the season. Perhaps it was fortunate that he did because Riley's form faltered with only eight Championship wickets in as many matches and then dried completely. Riley's return late in 2018 coincided with Tredwell's retirement.
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