Who was Josh Baker? All you need to know about the English spinner who tragically died at age 20 | Crickit

Who was Josh Baker? All you need to know about the English spinner who tragically died at age 20

May 03, 2024 07:20 AM IST

The English cricket fraternity was left stunned as Worcestershire announced the untimely passing of Josh Baker on Thursday

Josh Baker, an English spin bowler who played for County club Worcestershire, has died at the age of 20. The spinner made his first-class debut with the club in 2021 and played 47 matches across all formats, picking 70 wickets. The tragedy has left English cricket stunned; Worcestershire hasn't revealed how Baker died.

File image of Josh Baker(Worcestershire CC/X)
File image of Josh Baker(Worcestershire CC/X)

In a statement issued on their official website, Worcestershire paid a tribute to Baker. "Josh turned professional with the Club in 2021 and quickly became a popular figure within the squad. More than his skills as a spin bowler, it was his vibrant spirit and infectious enthusiasm that endeared him to everyone he met. His warmth, kindness, and professionalism were remarkable, making him a true credit to his family and a loved member of our team," the statement read.

Former England spinner Ashley Giles, who currently serves as the club's chief executive officer, said the news has left everyone at Worcestershire “devastated.”

“Josh was much more than a teammate; he was an integral part of our cricket family.

“We will all miss him terribly. All our love and prayers go out to Josh’s family and friends.”

Baker had played in a County second XI match earlier this week and also picked three wickets on the third day of the game against Somerset.

Who was Josh Baker?

Hailing from Redditch, Baker emerged from Worcestershire's youth system and showcased his talent early on, representing England at the under-19 level. Baker signed his first professional contract with the club in 2021, and was instrumental in Worcestershire's promotion from Championship Division Two, where he played a pivotal role in both the red-ball and white-ball formats.

With 43 wickets in 22 first-class matches and 27 wickets in 25 white-ball appearances, Baker displayed his versatility as an emerging spinner. He was also handy with the bat; Baker had two half-centuries to his name, including a career-best 75 against Gloucestershire in July 2023.

Notably, Baker had also bowled to Ben Stokes during a match against Durham back in 2022, when the England all-rounder was newly named the Test side's captain. Baker had an off day; he conceded 34 runs in a single over but received a WhatsApp message from Stokes later, urging him not to be bogged down by the poor outing.

"You've got serious potential and [I] think you'll go a long way," Stokes had written.

"Most important opinion is from the lads in your changing-room and they will always have your back. This coming from someone who got meeeeeeeelted in a T20 World Cup final."

Worcestershire announced that they will pay tribute to Baker's memory in the days to come.

“Plans to pay tribute to Josh will be made in consultation with his family and will remain private at this time. The Club, along with Josh’s family, requests the respect of privacy as we mourn this immense loss. No further comments will be provided during this sensitive period,” said the club.

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