James Alexander Porter
May 25, 1993, Leytonstone, Essex
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
Oak Park High School, Newbury Park; Epping College
Jamie Porter, a slender bowler of lively pace with a knack for the wicket-taking ball, was a central figure in Essex's first Championship win for 25 years, as his right-arm seam (and the offspin of Simon Harmer) hounded rivals throughout the 2017 summer. Porter's 75 wickets at 16.83 runs apiece led the wicket-taking table as well as winning him many accolades, including from the Cricket Writers' Club which voted him their Championship Player of the Year.
Porter is an archetypal county pace bowler, his speeds not too far above 80mph, the sort of pace that England habitually sniffed at, but with movement both ways, off the seam and in the air, making him a constant menace. He has represented the Lions and came close to a Test cap in 2018, but has otherwise had to content himself with leading a largely homegrown pace attack at Chelmsford. He did so with aplomb, claiming a career-best 7 for 41 in 2018 and then picking up 48 wickets at 25.70 to help Essex to another Championship the following year.
Having been due to shadow England's Ashes touring party with the Lions in 2017-18, a back stress fracture ruled him out of the trip to Australia. However, he became one of the most deserving England call-ups of recent years - as far as students of Championship form were concerned - when he was named in the squad for the first Test against India at Edgbaston. But the moment passed without him making what would have been a particularly rewarding Test debut for a player who had feared he would never make it as a professional.
A product of MCC Young Cricketers and Chingford CC in the Essex League, Porter had failed to make the grade as a teenager at either Essex or Middlesex and after three years of 2nd XI cricket had almost given up hope, beginning a career in recruitment. But he decided to give it one last go with Essex and after impressing with the 2nd XI, which included taking an eight wickets in an innings against Sussex, he was given his first-class debut in September 2014. He took a wicket with his fifth ball in senior cricket and promptly quit the office job.
He took 50-plus wickets in 2015 and 2016 to establish himself as a county seam bowler of considerable promise, spearheading Essex's attack as they won the Division Two title in 2016. Paul Grayson, the coach who gave Porter his debut, termed him "refreshing" because of the way he was constantly asking questions of a batsman. Among his happiest memories were the six wickets he took against the touring Australians in 2015. Porter showed his competitive streak by identifying David Warner as a batsman he would be targeting ahead of the match and then was as good as his word as he bowled the opener for 4 in Australia's second innings.
It was presumed that life in Division One would be harder for Essex, Porter included, but he masterfully filled the gap left by the retirement of two old salts, David Masters and Graham Napier, one of many highlights being 7 for 55 against Somerset at Chelmsford in late August as Essex rushed towards the title with an authority that belied the fact they had only been promoted the previous autumn.
Batting & Fielding
Debut/Last Matches - Player
Recent Matches - Player
News and Features