Christopher David James Dent
January 20, 1991, Bristol
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Chris Dent is a highly-talented left-handed top order batsman who was given a place in the Gloucestershire first XI while still a teenager: By the time he was 27, he was such a fixture that he was already Gloucestershire's longest-serving player. Captaincy of the Championship side was a fitting development, and he continued to be one of the most consistent opening batsman on the county circuit over the next few seasons.
Bristol-born, Dent's professional career got underway in August 2009, when he signed for his home county and made his one-day debut before the season was out. He represented England Under-19s in the World Cup in New Zealand in January 2010, scoring 96 runs at 32.00 as England lost to West Indies in the quarter-final. That summer he made his first-class debut against Northamptonshire at Bristol.
Despite a modest return of 725 runs, Dent played every Championship game in 2010 and in 2011 was promoted to open the batting, where he returned a more fruitful 649 runs at 34.15, including a maiden first-class century, exactly 100, against Surrey at Cheltenham. His 2012 was hampered by a broken little finger - the same digit he was forced to have surgery on the season before - but a year later finally saw him deliver on his promise and he signed a contract extension to 2016. His 2014 began with a double century against Cardiff MCCU but it was the falsest of dawns as just 436 runs in 22 Championship innings followed.
He produced a breakthrough season in 2013 with 1128 first-class runs at 45.12 and a maiden List A century, an unbeaten 151 at Cardiff, but a year later endured a miserable summer of only 436 runs in 22 innings. He left it late to confirm his potential in 2015, following up his part in Gloucestershire's Royal London Cup win with a late-season double century - 268 against Glamorgan at Bristol - which squeezed him past 1,000 Championship runs. Only four batsmen - Will Spearman, WG Grace, Wally Hammond and Gilbert Jessop - had scored more runs in an innings, for Gloucestershire.
His precocity had been translated into sizeable contributions across all formats by 2016, leading his coach, Richard Dawson, to suggest that with more self-belief he had the potential to join others such as Keaton Jennings and Nick Browne, in the list at that time of left-handers of England potential.
Dent took over the four-day captaincy in 2018 and marked it by becoming Gloucestershire's heaviest run-maker in the Championship, winning the county's Batsman of the Year award. He churned out runs over the next few years, leading the club to promotion in 2019, and when he turned 30 at the start of the 2021 season, some started to wonder if he might still have a chance of playing international cricket.
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