Luke William Peter Wells
December 29, 1990, Eastbourne, Sussex
Left hand bat
Top order batter
St Bede's Sch, Upper Dicker
The title of the most sledged cricketer in England is presumably not easily won. It must demand the sort of ability that gets up the opposition's noses: an obdurate nature, a streaky shot or two and one or two fortunate umpiring decisions. Luke Wells describes that reputation as a Sussex in-house joke that has now gained wider appeal. "I attract sledging all over the country. I don't know why it is. If I stick around they try and get into my head and make me make a mistake. "Sometimes it has the opposite effect and makes me work a bit harder."
Those comments arose from the most prolific Championship innings of his early career: his first Championship double century in 2013. It being April, when batsmen are expected to come and go quickly, his stickability on a benign pitch was particularly galling and it being Surrey, there was a bit of chatter as a result. Wells resisted for almost nine hours, facing 412 balls across two days, an innings not far short of nine hours; impressive stamina for a 22 year old. He even removed Ranji from the records by scoring the highest innings by a Sussex player at The Oval, surpassing his 204 in 1903, a somewhat quicker affair. He did not sound sated. "Unfortunately I could not carry on from there," he said afterwards.
Wells has a strong Sussex pedigree. He was born in Eastbourne and is the son of Alan, who won a single Test cap for England, and nephew of Colin, two players who were fixtures in the Sussex middle order for many years. Both, too, made double hundreds in their careers. Unlike either, he bats left handed, and first impressed Sussex enough in 2009 to be offered a three-year summer contract which took him to the end of his studies at Loughborough University in 2012. He first revealed a capacity for long innings when he took 174 off Yorkshire at Hove in 2011. Glamorgan also suffered, his 181 the highlight of a moderate season in 2016.
Wells began as an opener until Sussex shifted him down to No. 3, a position he hopes will prove only temporary. He has regularly been presented as a candidate for the England Performance Programme squad but he has never made the weight of runs, or made them stylishly enough, to win the call. The target of 1,000 first-class runs in a season also remained frustratingly elusive as he fell only 18 runs short in 2014. As a batsman designed for long patient innings, his one-day opportunities had by this stage also been limited.
Another mammoth innings came along in 2017. Wells, playing his first innings for eight months after a knee injury, was yorked first ball by Kent's South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada in the first innings, but responded with 258 second time around and, what's more, played with rare belligerence as, late in his innings, he took 34 off one over of offspin from Ryan Pringle - not bad for a batsman whose highest score in limited-overs cricket at the time was 23.
Wells also stood in as captain for Ben Brown during the season and marked the honour with a century against Durham at The Riverside, 21 years to the day that his father, Alan, had skippered Sussex for the last time. Both 2018 and 2019 were relatively lean seasons, as his Championship average hovered around 25 in both campaigns.
Batting & Fielding
Debut/Last Matches - Player
Recent Matches - Player
News and Features