April 10, 1994, Barnstaple, Devon
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium fast
West Buckland School
Craig Overton, one of two Somerset fast-bowling twins, won selection for England's 2017-18 tour of Australia after an impressive county season during which, at 23, he seemed to have focused his natural aggression in a way that would enhance his career not hinder it. Overton took 46 Championship wickets at 22.39 and turned in decent limited-overs performances, too, as he threw himself into the fray. He swung the ball, his 6ft 5ins frame meant he could hit the shoulder of the bat and he was increasingly accurate. His brother Jamie was still quicker, but it was Craig, more reliable and less prone to injury, who had first stirred England's hopes. He was also called into England's limited-overs squads during 2016 and there was disappointment at Taunton for England's first T20I there in 2017 when he did not make the XI.
Overton showed signs of developing into an England allrounder during an excellent Somerset season in 2015 which brought runs and wickets in all formats and rather too many brushes with authority for his own good. The highlight was 43 Championship wickets at 21.70, the lowlight was three brushes with umpires - the worst of them at Hove when he abused Ashar Zaidi, a Pakistan-born cricketer with a British passport. By the end of the season, it had brought him a two-match ban under the totting-up procedure and a reputation for an unbuttoned lip that was not about to go down well in high places. He claimed not to recollect his comment, but specialist one-on-one sessions with psychotherapist Abbie Kench followed, on the suggestions of Somerset's coach Matthew Maynard, leaving Overton able to join England Lions' Loughborough camp at the end of 2016 with no more transgressions on his record.
From the moment that the Overtons took the field for Somerset, English cricket has anticipated the possibility that they could become the first twins to represent England in international cricket. The nearest that has come to happening was when Eric Bedser played alongside Alec Bedser only in a practice game against Tasmania on England's 1950-51 tour of Australia. It almost took place in 2015 when they were 21, both twins called up to England's ODI squad because of injuries, but neither selected.
The older of the Overton twins - he was born three minutes before Jamie - Craig made his way into first-class cricket a month earlier and looks to be the more polished cricketer of the pair. Although lacking some of the speed of Jamie, Craig still generates decent pace from a high action that faintly evokes Stuart Broad and appears to have to have the technique to bowl a consistently probing line and length.
Products of Instow CC, both represented Devon in age-group cricket before graduating to Somerset and the England Under-19 set-up in early 2012. Craig played seven Championship matches that summer, winning a place at the U19 World Cup and then the Lions tour to Australia in early 2013. While a stress fracture of the back ruined his 2013 season, he was named in the ECB Potential Emerging Player Programme in South Africa at the start of 2014 and the Lions tour to South Africa the following winter. In between times, he enjoyed a fine season with 42 first-class wickets at 28.52 apiece, including a maiden five-wicket haul against Durham. He can bat, too, innings of 86 against Sussex followed by 99 against Lancashire in 2014, and then a maiden hundred - 138 from 133 balls - against Hampshire at Taunton two years later.
The twins are hard to tell apart. Jamie was generally regarded as quicker, more extrovert, more suited to Test cricket. Craig was steadier, an allrounder, better suited to one-day cricket, and more of a batsman whereas Jamie is a hitter. But it was Craig who made the greater strides, summoning spells of some hostility that might have led some to mistake him for his brother.
Overton took seven wickets in three Tests in Australia and New Zealand in 2017-18 and his combative style won respect, but England looked elsewhere throughout 2018 and he gave them limited cause to select him, a hounding of Yorkshire at Headingley and late-season hat-trick against Nottinghamshire at least securing more Lions tour recognition. He made a one-off appearance during the 2019 Ashes but it was during India's tour in 2021 that he finally enjoyed the taste of victory, taking 6 for 61 in the Headingley Test. He also performed well in the shadow ODI squad selected to play Pakistan after a Covid-19 outbreak and picked up a winner's medal in the inaugural Hundred with Southern Brave.
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List A Matches
|Somerset vs Gloucs||35*||0/57 & 2/28||12-May-2022||Bristol||FC|
|Somerset vs Warwickshire||0||2/12 & 2/41||28-Apr-2022||Taunton||FC|
|Somerset vs Surrey||7 & 0||2/83 & 1/58||21-Apr-2022||The Oval||FC|
|Somerset vs Essex||8 & 2||7/57 & 6/30||14-Apr-2022||Taunton||FC|
|England vs West Indies||14 & 1||2/81||24-Mar-2022||St George's||Test # 2459|