Wakefield teenager Harry Duke busy making an impression with Yorkshire

Harry Duke is fast becoming like royalty in Yorkshire cricket circles.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 9:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 10:27 am
Harry Duke on wicket keeping duty for Yorkshire. Picture: Ashley Allen/Getty Images

The 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has made an eye-catching start to life in first team colours at Emerald Headingley, debuting in all three formats this summer.

A ‘Duracell Bunny’ type behind the stumps, Duke is equally busy with bat in hand. He has batted down the order in his early LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality Blast games, but has been elevated to open in the Royal London Cup – to some effect.

On Sunday the teenager hit a brilliant 125 off 130 balls to steer an inexperienced Vikings side to victory against Leicestershire at Grace Road as they chased down 328 to win by seven wickets.

At 19 years and 322 days old, he became the second youngest player to score a List A century for the White Rose county. A certain Sachin Tendulkar did it aged 19 and 100 days during his year as overseas player in 1992.

But if you try to find out more about the Wakefield-born Duke, you might just get a touch confused. After all, when you type Harry Duke into your chosen online search engine, he is not the only thing that comes up. He sits alongside Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex!

Let’s face it, though, Meghan Markle’s fella may have plenty of qualities, but he cannot bat like Yorkshire’s very own Duke, someone who has been compared to Joe Root by the county’s stand-in Royal London Cup coach Rich Pyrah.

He said: “You can see he’s got a different temperament. He stands out a bit.

“He’s taken his chance in the four-dayers with a couple of 50s, and his temperament is why I wanted to give him a chance up top in this competition.

“He can obviously play, but to go and chase a score like that on Sunday shows what he’s about. It’s a quick rise, but he’s level-headed and won’t let it get to him. Let’s hope it carries on.”

Duke, strong with the pull shot, is by no means a basher and crasher at the top of the order, and says: “My strength is using the pace on the ball, not trying to force it and using timing.

“When you have someone like Will Fraine as your opening partner, it takes the pressure off you massively because he can score so quickly. He takes the game on and we complement each other nicely.”

While success in this competition will not be solely judged on wins and losses, given 10 players are away on Hundred duty, Duke said: “We still want to win every game. There’s still a lot of talent in that dressing room and there’s no reason why we can’t.

“Andrew Gale (Yorkshire head coach) spoke to us before he went away to the Hundred about trying to compete for all three competitions this year.

“We’ve got two to play for at the back end of the year, but this is one we’re all desperate to win as well.

“If we can’t, we’re all looking to improve as cricketers during the next few weeks and put ourselves in a good position for the latter stages of the season.”

Duke, part of the England Under 19s World Cup squad in South Africa in early 2020 - immediately before Coronavirus struck - is clearly loving life in the thick of the action.

His mum (Amanda), dad (Nick) and girlfriend (Liv) were present at Grace Road on Sunday to witness his match-winning century and he added: “It’s been brilliant. It’s been a childhood dream to play for Yorkshire. I’ve loved every minute.”