Steven John Mullaney
November 19, 1986, Warrington, Cheshire
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
St Mary's RC High School, Astley
Steven Mullaney slow-cooked his way towards a respected county career, gaining the Nottinghamshire captaincy in the Championship and 50-overs formats in 2018 after the retirement of their long-standing leader Chris Read and also being invited to lead England Lions, a slightly surprising accolade for a player with no obvious international pretensions, but illustrative of how his all-round talents had made their mark.
In 2010, Mullaney added his name to the small list of Nottinghamshire players to score a century on his first-class debut for the county, when he made exactly 100 not out. against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl, batting at No 8. It was the sort of start designed to attract headlines, but it was in a more understated fashion that Mullaney gradually built a reputation at Nottinghamshire as the seasons came and went as one of the most reliable allrounders in the county game, at his best when the demands were at their highest.
Mullaney had been invited to join Notts to improve their limited-overs cricket and, as far as the Championship was concerned, it was three years after his debut before he added another century. Already used to being shuffled up and down the order, he was charged with solving a perennial Nottinghamshire problem - the lack of a reliable opening pair - after a short-term contract for the Australian Ed Cowan, ahead of the Ashes series, had come to an end. He responded by taking a hundred off the Surrey attack.
By the end of a dry summer, he had underlined his versatility even more, abandoning his miserly medium pace to fill in as an offspinner because of Nottinghamshire's spin shortages. The reputation for adaptability from this most selfless of cricketers was now well set.
A useful performer in all three formats of the game, Mullaney comes into his own in white ball matches. An outstanding fielder and punchy strokeplayer, his knack of bowling a sequence of tidy medium-paced overs in the middle of matches has turned many 40-over contests in Nottinghamshire's favour. In 2012 he was jointly the county's most successful bowler in Twenty20 matches, his nine wickets including a career-best 4 for 19 against Leicestershire at Grace Road in June.
By 2016, Mullaney's respect among his fellow professionals was established. Three hundreds, including a career-best 165 not out against Somerset at Trent Bridge took him past 1,000 Championship runs and identified him as a more methodical competitor than many of his colleagues as Notts rushed towards relegation. In T20 cricket, it was his medium-pace cutters that proved most adaptable.
He was also at the centre of Notts' success in 2017 when they won promotion from Division Two of the Championship as well as taking both the Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest T20 Blast trophies. His season included Championship career-bests of 168, with the bat, against Kent and 5 for 32 against Gloucestershire; in the 50-over cup, his 111 from 75 balls in the semi-final against Essex at Chelmsford was one of the highlights of the season; and in the T20 Blast, which Notts won for the first time, his 3 for 22 was a crucial element in their semi-final victory over Hampshire.
Mullaney began his career with Lancashire and in 2005 toured India with England Under-19s. He was selected for the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006 and signed a professional contract at Old Trafford in 2006. Yet he could not secure a regular place in the first team and chose to leave after four seasons. He was rewarded with a new four-year contract - unsung perhaps, but immensely valued.
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