Ian Gabriel Holland
October 03, 1990, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Unique is an over-used word but it is an appropriate way of describing Ian Holland's entry into county cricket which can be traced back to an appearance on reality television. In 2012, Holland entered the Australian show Cricket Superstar, in which the former Australian captain Allan Border was the chief judge. He successfully made it through his trial before beating 14 other finalists on the show and winning a rookie contract with Victoria.
Holland, an allrounder who was born in Wisconsin in the United States but holds a UK passport via his English father, said: "I went into it without any expectations and came out with an opportunity. It was a chance to fast-track myself at that point of my career and it got me a foot in the door of the Australian system. It was Allan Border's involvement that gave it the credibility for me."
Despite his TV success, Holland's opportunities for Victoria were limited. He made his only appearance in the Sheffield Shield in February 2016, as Victoria beat Tasmania by seven wickets. He played a couple of seasons for Fleetwood CC in the Northern League and was recommended to Hampshire by Dimitri Mascarenhas their former England allrounder, who he met in Melbourne in 2015.
Opportunity came in the Championship against Warwickshire in June 2017, and he starred later that month in a floodlit Championship fixture when he took four cheap wickets. It all added up to a highly respectable opening season - a 33 average with the bat, 18 with the ball in the Championship - in which he made his debut in all three formats.
After finding himself in and out of the first-class side in his second season, he found an admirer in the form of new head coach Adi Birrell in 2019, who gave him the chance to open the batting halfway through the Championship campaign. Holland instantly repaid his faith, scoring 143 in his first innings in the role against Warwickshire, and he added three further half-centuries as a top-order batsman later in the season.
2019 also brought an international debut, as he put his American passport to good use.
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