Stephen Sean Eskinazi
March 28, 1994, Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
Right hand bat
Middle order batter
Christ Church Grammar School, Claremont; University of Western Australia
Stephen Eskinazi, a wicketkeeper-batsman, is a modern-day player in a globalised world, a product of three nations, not that it seems to be affecting his development as one of the most promising batsmen around. Born in Johannesburg to an English-born mother and a Zimbabwe-born father, he played for Hampshire junior sides before his family moved to Perth, whereupon he played for Western Australia U-17s and U-19s. Then came a professional opportunity in English cricket when he was recommended to Middlesex by Chris Smith, the former Hampshire and England batsman, his British passport, to add to an Australian one, enabling them to sign him as a local player.
"I guess there's no real way to establish what nationality I really am," he said. "At this point in time, I'm English, but I could be a mixture of anything. Someone might call me one thing, another might call me another thing and I guess none of them would be wrong."
After heavy scoring for Middlesex's 2nd XI, Eskinazi made a first-class debut against Yorkshire in September 2015, but it was the following summer where he seized his opposition most markedly, striking a maiden first-class century against Lancashire and producing a patient 157 a week later to lead Middlesex to an innings win over the defending champions Yorkshire, a crucial moment in Middlesex's eventual title win.
Life was far less fruitful the following year. Eskinazi's career-best 179 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston was the bedrock in one of Middlesex's three wins, but they were relegated at the end of the season - dying a slow death after an appeal failed over an over-rate deduction. Though his form dipped in a tough 2019 season, his stature at the club was underlined by his regular stints as captain in both the Championship and 50-over sides.
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