Michael David Bates
October 10, 1990, Frimley
Right hand bat
Michael Bates was a classy wicketkeeper with few peers during his career in the English game but a player whose opportunities were limited by the growing preference for keepers with strong batting ability. He earned wide recognition for his excellent glovework with a last-ball stumping to win Hampshire the 2012 Cyldesdale Bank 40. While most judges drooled over Bates's keeping - his 3.5 average catches per match in 2010 was a Hampshire record for a season - doubts were raised about his run-scoring ability and his biggest challenge was in front of the stumps.
That shortcoming led to his release by Hampshire at the end of the 2014 season, much to the disenchantment of purists, who were briefly uplifted to see him win further opportunities with Somerset in 2015 when runs remained just as scarce.
A local boy who graduated through the Hampshire academy, he was given the chance to cement a first team place with Hampshire when Nic Pothas retired at the end of the 2011 season and James Foster, Essex's former-England keeper-batsman, rejected an approach to change counties.
He played a full 2012 season but a wet summer hindered his chances to impress with the bat. A Championship average of just 19.86 saw Hampshire sign Adam Wheater from Essex and Bates began 2013 as next-best once again but towards the end of the campaign Wheater and Bates were picked in the same side and Bates made 71 against Northamptonshire to send a reminder to the management that his batting ability could not be entirely discounted.
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