HomeSport'He's international quality' - but who is Sam Hain?

‘He’s international quality’ – but who is Sam Hain?

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Sam Hain averages 60.55 in the County Championship this season, and averaged 96 in the T20 BlastVenue: Trent Bridge Date: Saturday, 19 August Time: 14:30 BSTCoverage: Live coverage on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from 14:15 BST. Ball-by-ball commentary on 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds. Watch and listen on the BBC Sport website and app alongside live text commentary and in-play video clips. English men’s cricket is in one of its strongest periods in recent times, with the Test side trending in the right direction and the white-ball sides holding both the T20 and 50-over World Cups.Domestic competitions are also bursting at the seams with talented players pushing for international recognition, with Warwickshire’s Sam Hain a prime example.The 28-year-old has been in phenomenal touch over the past few years, with his List A average regularly hovering around 60 – one of the best ever – but he’s yet to play a game for England, and the clamour for him to do so is getting louder.BBC Sport spoke to some of those who have played a part in his journey. ‘He scored 120 with jet lag and on three hours sleep’Former Warwickshire captain Michael Powell discovered Hain at the Loretto School in Edinburgh, where he was on cricket exchange from Southport School in Queensland.”He played well beyond his years.”He was 14 and rocked up off the plane, had severe jet lag, went to bed for about three hours and came out and scored 120 and didn’t hit the ball in the air once.”He just played on a different level. He looked a man against boys.”He was just one of those straight away – you can see some just have that edge on others. I think it’s a mindset, a psychological aspect of the game – he could just churn out big runs.”Warwickshire was an option because of Hain’s British passport, but at 14 it wasn’t at the forefront of his mind with family still in Queensland. “It took a couple of years, then with my Warwickshire links I rang Dougie Brown and Ashley Giles and said: ‘I’ve got this youngster. I really think he’s worth looking at.'”They looked at him that summer – I think he played in a second-team game down in Coventry, and got 30-odd and 20-odd and Dougie said that from ball one, he just looked like he belonged there.”‘It’s time for him to have a crack’Former England batter Jonathan Trott played alongside Hain at Warwickshire.”He’s just an extremely gifted timer of the cricket ball. “He’s up there with the best players in the country and he’s very highly thought about among players.”I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some very good players and Hainy is certainly up there.”It’s the right time for him to have a crack. He just needs to be in good form; in the right place at the right time.”His average is always up there. It’s just a matter of him expanding his game, scoring a little bit quicker perhaps – go out there and just be that type of [free] player. He’s capable if allowed to.”‘He’s international quality in red and white-ball cricket’Hain spent the first season of The Hundred at Manchester Originals, before scoring 37 runs in three innings for Welsh Fire last seasonNottinghamshire and former England bowler Jake Ball played alongside Hain with Welsh Fire in The Hundred in 2022.”He’s one of those players who just knows his game inside out, and those players are extremely hard to bowl to because they only tend to hit the ball when it’s in their area. He’s a very well-organised player.”He doesn’t play really aggressive shots, he just plays strong shots. He’s very calm and very calculated in the way he goes about his batting.”Ball’s Nottinghamshire side were taken apart by Hain, when he made 112 not out from 52 balls in a T20 Blast game in 2022.”That’s one of the first times I thought that he changed his game a little bit. Usually, he’ll give himself 10 or 15 balls to find his feet, and he accelerates from there.”I remember there was one side that was quite short and he managed to target that from both ends, whether that over extra cover or mid-wicket.”In recent years, we have seen him be a bit more expansive and score at different run-rates. If he wanted to sit in and bat all day he could, but he’s added the element of being able to score quickly into his game.”Being able to show that he’s adaptable and score in different situations will catch the eye of the selectors. He’s international quality in both red and white-ball.”He’s a bit of a free spirit. I don’t think he takes the game too seriously and that is something that can really help when you step up into the international scene.”‘I looked up to Sam and got a real buzz from playing with him’Hain scored 181 runs at an average of 45.25 and strike-rate of 119.86 for Brisbane Heat in the 2022-23 Big BashQueensland and Australia bowler Matt Kuhnemann played club and school cricket with Hain in Australia, as well as playing alongside him for Brisbane Heat in last year’s Big Bash. “He was a gun. He was so good when he was young. Everyone thought he had potential to play for Australia or England, whatever one he decided.”I looked up to Sam at school. He was my captain in the 1st XI, so I just got a real buzz playing with Sam there.”I think he’s very much a pom. We played a Cricket Australia game against the England Lions just before Covid and that was the first time I’d seen him since school and his accent, I thought he was just faking it – and it wasn’t until I saw him again this season that I realised. “I remember telling our Heat coach ‘I reckon Hainy would jump to come back’ and that was a bit of a joke the previous season. Then Hainy actually sent me a message saying: ‘Hey mate, I’m not sure how much pull you’ve got there but I would love to come and play.'”As soon as we found out Sam was coming back, the boys were buzzing because he’s such a character on and off the field and he’s such a class player as well.”He grew up playing with Marnus [Labuschagne], myself, Mitch Swepson, so it sort of just clicked back together. I know Sam’s an overseas [player] but we saw him as one of us.”He’s a very funny man – we all enjoyed his banter and just being with him again. After the first day, we were going: ‘It feels like it’s only been a year rather than five years.’ It was awesome to have him back.”

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