ANEESH Kapil had that ‘Thank Crunchie’ feeling after his man-of-the-match display at Northamptonshire Steelbacks last night in the Friends Life t20.
The all-rounder, who only finished his ‘A’ Levels last week, produced a stunning performance at Campbell Park as he returned figures of 3-9 from his four overs.
However, unable to celebrate his award with an alcoholic drink, he was left clutching a Crunchie bar to commemorate the performance.
Kapil, who will join up with England Under 19s for the series against South Africa which begins on July 16 at Edgbaston, dismissed Rob White, Niall O’Brien and Alex Wakely to put Worcestershire on course for their six-wicket victory.
The wickets earned him the award ahead of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who bowled a triple-wicket maiden, and Vikram Solanki, who carried his bat for an unbeaten 62 and shared a 12-over 85-run stand with Daryl Mitchell after the County were reduced to 45-4.
But the youngster only discovered he would be playing 30 minutes before the team warmed up at Milton Keynes.
Yet, despite his initial nerves, Kapil bowled with great pace and showed little sign of those early fears.
“I was dead nervous at the start but when they gave me the ball, Mitch told me to bowl full and straight,” he said. “I was given plenty of encouragement and luckily enough it paid off.
“Steve Rhodes and Matt Mason have been working on my bowling over the last few days in Twenty20 cricket. That has paid off and I’m really pleased.”
In only his third Twenty20 appearance, the young prospect had the advantage of being an unknown on the county circuit.
The County’s strength and conditioning coach Ross Dewar, who came to New Road from Northamptonshire, told Kapil to go and steal the show.
“Ross was at Northants and he said to me before the game to make a name for myself and that really inspired me,” said Kapil, who made his competitive debut against Yorkshire Carnegie in the Clydesdale Bank 40.
“He said, ‘These guys won’t know you so surprise them’, and I did.”
County director of cricket Rhodes was full of praise for his teenage protege and believes he has a big future ahead of him.
“It was an exceptional performance from Kapil. To bowl four overs for 3-9 was an amazing effort for someone so young - he’s only 17-year-old,” the Royals boss said.
“He’s a tremendous talent - a guy I really do think has a massive career ahead of him - and I’m looking forward to him being involved with us.
“Unfortunately for Worcestershire, he disappears with the England Under 19s, but it will be a good experience for Aneesh, although we would have liked a bit more cricket out of him.”