The 6ft 7in English left-arm fast bowler who wants to emulate Mitchell Starc

Josh Hull has caught the eye with his speed and height – Shutterstock/John Mallett

Josh Hull is huge. He fills the room even when he sits down so you see potential when this Cambridge farmer’s son says he wants to emulate Mitchell Starc.

Like Starc, Hull is a left-arm fast bowler who swings it. At 6ft 7in, unsure if he stopped growing at 19, he has the physical presence to bowl quickly.

Rob Key checked him last week when the England manager gave an interview to Telegraph Sport, and sources say he was checked by the selectors at Leicestershire last summer when they considered picking a young squad for the white ball at the end of the season. series against Ireland.

It was thought to be too early for Hull but fast bowlers tend to burst onto the scene and quickly find their way into the England squad, so a good start to the summer could give Leicestershire a chance for him this summer, while he is changing. the fast bowling attack tops Key’s list. It’s also good timing, with Key saying in his interview last week that he’s less concerned about the number of bowlers he takes but wants to “find out how hard you’re running, how how hard are you hitting the pitch and are you able to maintain speed.”

“Yeah I read that and it was nice to hear,” says Hull, who has only been a pro for a year. The naysayers would say that wickets are all that matters but what Key was saying is that plenty of county cricket can be bowled at 78mph but it won’t work at Test level. Josh Tongue took five wickets on Test debut last summer but was picked to average in the 40s for Worcestershire.

Hull made their mark in the One Day Cup final last summer, keeping their nerve in the final and managing to defend by eight runs as Leicestershire went home to beat Hampshire. When he proved his concern he was selected in the Hundred draft by the Manchester Originals last week.

He bowls around the 82mph mark and needs to add pace but has worked on that this winter in the nets at Grace Road, trying to use his front more, align it better and swing it more constant. He reckons he reached 87mph in the final and can go further. Hull needs to work on his body to be more resilient to injury – he will miss the first few Championship games with a side strain – and said: “I’ll get stronger and try to put on a few more yards, that’s the plan. .”

Being a left armer makes it more unique. Since Ryan Sidebottom retired in 2010, Sam Curran has been the only left-arm seamer to play Test cricket for England and he was not quick. With Key saying he has a “battery” of fast bowlers for the next Ashes tour, there is plenty of incentive for players to punt. “I definitely like to emulate Mitchell Starc. And look up to. He has the same height, bowls at 90mph and swings it,” says Hull.

It’s in his genes. His grandmother’s brother, Grenville Wilson, was a left-arm wicketkeeper for Worcestershire in the 1950s and his grandmother Georgina greatly influenced his cricket. “She loves cricket. She always tells me that as a child she would play with her brother and bowl with him. She played a bit of women’s cricket for Worcestershire I think she was the one from a young age who would look after me and throw me balls in the garden,” he says.

It was Georgina who filled a barn on Hull’s father’s farm near Oundle that kept him and his brother Ollie busy during the lockdown. Ollie is also at the Leicestershire academy and on the books at Northampton Saints rugby club, currently playing for their under-18s.

Hull is in some ways the first cricketer to be locked up, and was lucky enough to have room to play on the farm to keep his formative cricket going at the age of 16. “Growing up, I dreamed of being a rugby player but then when I was 15 I broke my arm,” he says. “That meant I missed the following season but I could play cricket because I broke my right arm so I could bowl with my left arm. Then the following year the lock was locked so I missed another rugby season. That was when cricket was the focus there. The crack went well so I carried it on.”

Josh Hull tackles his Leicestershire teammatesJosh Hull tackles his Leicestershire teammates

Hull (centre) goes over his Leicestershire teammates – Getty Images/Gareth Copley

Hull went to Stamford School, where he was coached by former England bowler Dean Headley, who recommended him to Phillip DeFreitas at Leicestershire. After a year at the academy, he made his first team last summer and did well in white cricket, taking 17 wickets with 24 in the One Day Cup. Championship cricket was more difficult, with nine wickets for 62 in six games, but England will look beyond the numbers.

“For me the aim is trying to play as many teams in all three formats,” says Hull. “I have a lot to learn and a long way to go but experience will help me a lot. Being selected in the First draft will be a great opportunity. There are three or four batsmen left in the squad including Paul Walter who is tall like me, so it will be a great learning experience for me to be able to learn his death plans, slower balls, all kinds of game awareness and tactics.”

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