Steven Paul Crook
May 28, 1983, Adelaide, South Australia
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Steven Crook, an Australian-born skiddy seam bowler and hard-hitting lower-order batsmen, started his first-class career at Lancashire but had limited chances to show his worth. After a loan move to Northamptonshire at the end of the 2005 season, he made a permanent switch for 2006 where he earned greater chances in the one-day arena. Injury ravaged much of his time at Northants but he found other outlets to express himself, including a stint as lead singer of the band Juliet the Sun. The Sun newspaper even credited their track, Time For Heroes, as one of the reasons that England won the Ashes.
Musically feted by an English tabloid or not, Crook found cricketing satisfaction hard to find. At the end of the 2009 season, he stepped away from professional cricket, but returned after a trial period with Middlesex to earn a two-year contract. He became a regular in the one-day and Twenty20 sides, but less so in the Championship - where he neither merited a top six batting slot nor a place as a frontline bowler - and his desire for more four-day cricket prompted a move back to Northamptonshire at the end of the 2012 campaign.
Crook's first season back at the County Ground was a success. He was one of Northants' key performers in all three formats in 2013, none more vital than a man-of-the-match performance against Essex in the Friends Life t20 as Northants went on to win the trophy at Edgbaston. He also heaped on the troubles for the 2015 Australian tourists with a whirlwind 142, his hundred rushing up in 77 balls. A career-best 145 followed against Worcestershire in 2016 when he was overshadowed by debutant Chad Barrett making a century from No. 10.
But cricket has never entirely dominated his life. "Do some cricket, do some music, do some business but mainly do fun things that test the bounds of reality," was his life philosophy as laid down on Twitter. When he retired in 2018, at 35, with two T20 titles, a promotion year and bags of memories, he seemed unlikely to have an inactive retirement.
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