Tom Ernest Bailey
April 21, 1991, Preston, Lancashire
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Tom Bailey, a tall seamer from Preston, made massive strides in 2018, but found they were largely overshadowed by Lancashire's relegation in the Championship. Bailey, a four-day specialist, took 64 wickets at 19.66, comfortably the most in Division One, and outdone across all 18 counties only by Matt Henry, who took one wicket more for Kent. While Henry was lauded for inspiring Kent's promotion, Bailey hardly rated a mention beyond Old Trafford as he turned in the sort of consistent performance across 14 matches that with more support would have kept Lancashire up.
Bailey first played for Lancashire at Under 19s level, and joined Lancashire's academy in 2011. His initial taste of Lancashire cricket was uncomfortably linked to relegation. He made his Championship debut in a dead rubber against Surrey at the end of the 2012 season when Lancashire were already down. Then he endured another taste of relegation in 2014 when he took six wickets in three matches against Durham, Yorkshire and Middlesex, but on the final day of the season against Middlesex at Old Trafford was part of a Lancashire side relegated for the second time in three seasons.
That disappointment did not last long. Lancashire were promoted in 2015 and Bailey could point to his first five-for, figures of 5 for 12 achieved at Grace Road as Lancashire routed Leicestershire for 78 at Grace Road.
His 2016 campaign was heavily disrupted by a side injury, ruling him out of 1st XI action for three months. But he made an impressive return, taking four wickets in seven balls against Somerset Old Trafford to help secure an influential draw which this time ensured relegation would be avoided. He also hit a maiden first-class fifty against the eventual champions Middlesex in another vital draw.
Gradually, he forced his way into the reckoning, playing eight Championship games in 2017 including a first 10-in-the-match, against Middlesex at Lord's.
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