Nicholas Laurence Joseph Browne
March 24, 1991, Leytonstone, Essex
Left hand bat
Trinity College, Essex
Nick Browne, a tall, watchful left-hander with the ability to grow into an innings, has developed into Essex's most reliable opener since another batsman matching that description came through at Chelmsford. Browne now walks out alongside Alastair Cook at the top of the innings for Essex, and although he has yet to win England recognition he is a proven force at county level, twice a Championship-winner and with the potential to gain further honours.
He came to prominence in 2015, making five first-class centuries as he added his name to the long list of county contenders urged by the England coach, Trevor Bayliss, to make an unanswerable claim on a Test cap. His 1157 first-class runs represented the first time an Essex batsman had passed 1000 in a season since Matt Walker in 2009. That form stretched into the winter as he became the first English cricketer to score a double-century in Sydney First Grade - his 206 for Mosman against Sydney University breaking the previous best of 194 by former England captain Mike Gatting, some 36 years earlier.
His form was patchier in 2016, although he did make 1000 runs at a healthy average of 47, boosted by a career-best 255 against Derbyshire, one of two doubles he made against them that promotion season. Indeed, double-centuries became something of a speciality - he made it three in a row in the Championship the following summer, this time against Middlesex at Chelmsford, joining Cook in an Essex record opening stand of 373. Essex were by now back in Division One of the Championship and the top-order resilience of Cook and Browne helped them settle into a season in which they went on to win the title.
Browne had made his first-team debut in 2013, playing in three Championship matches. The following season, he took his chance at opener and in the process made history, becoming the first Essex player to score two unbeaten hundreds in a Championship match, with Derbyshire the victims yet again, this time at Chesterfield. Those were his first two tons - on only his seventh senior appearance.
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