Antonio Paul Palladino
June 29, 1983, London
Dino, Italian Stallion
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Anglia Polytechnic University
Tony Palladino, a bustling seam bowler, wrote himself a significant part on English cricket when he became the whistle-blower in the spot-fixing case at Essex that exposed Mervyn Westfield and Danish Kaneria. He reported his suspicions to the ECB and the subsequent investigation led to a ban for Kaneria and jail-term for Westfield.
Palladino made his county debut against the touring Zimbabweans in June 2003. The following month, in only his second Championship match he took 6 for 41 against a strong Kent side at Canterbury. His career was held up somewhat by a dislocated shoulder in 2006, but after battling through the ranks of the Essex second XI Palladino earned more game time in the senior team. He also expanded his game by signing for Namibia and representing them in domestic competitions in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and proved particularly effective with the ball in the Stanbic Bank Twenty20 Cup in Zimbabwe in 2009-10.
His stock fell at Essex, however, and he played just four first-class games in 2010, failing to cement a place in the first XI bowling attack. He signed a two year contract for Derbyshire after being released by Essex at the end of the 2010 season. He had a character-forming conclusion to his county career as he became involved in exposing corruption during the Mervyn Westfield / Danish Kaneria spot-fixing allegations which caused shockwaves throughout county cricket.
He flourished at his new home to help them seal Championship promotion as Division Two champions in 2012, when he was leading wicket-taker with 56 victims at 24.14. He took a career-best 7 for 53 against Kent at Derby in August.
No mug with the bat, he also registered his maiden first-class century against Australia A in 2012, while his 58 against Hampshire on the second morning of the final Championship match, after going in as nightwatchman, was crucial to Derbyshire clinching victory and the title. Injury meant he missed eight Championship matches in Division One, but what bowling he did brought impessive returns with 23 wickets at 28 apiece, led by 6 for 90 against Durham in September.
Upon Kim Barnett's appointment as director of cricket at the end of 2016, Palladino was given a player-cum-bowling-coach role. Along with Tom Taylor, he was involved in a quirky episode at the end of a floodlit match against Glamorgan in Cardiff in 2017 - part of the first full round of Championship cricket under lights in England. Faced with two overs to bat at 9.15pm, Derbyshire sent in Palladino and Tom Taylor as two nightwatchmen.
Approaching his mid-30s, Palladino might have been expected to be overshadowed in 2018 when Derbyshire fielded international pace bowlers of the quality of Duanne Olivier, Hardus Viljeon and Lockie Ferguson in their Championship side: he outstayed them all, taking 51 wickets at 19.73, deservedly winning a two-year contract extension.
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