Burnley bowler Cole Hayman is following the same path of idols James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff after signing a contract with Lancashire County Cricket Club.
The 19-year-old had become emroiled in a tug-of-war between his home county and Somerset CCC but opted for Emirates Old Trafford over the County Ground in Taunton after cutting short his winter break in New Zealand.
Hayman had been representing Hamilton Old Boys Cricket Club on the North Island after winning the Worsley Cup with Burnley at Turf Moor but returned last month after learning of the interest.
The teenager, who took six wickets for Somerset’s second XI in his only appearance against Gloucestershire, said: I’m really happy about it. Somerset were in touch with me as well so it was a big decision.
“But I’m a family oriented person so I chose Lancashire because it’s closer to home, it’s my county and it gives me the chance to continue playing for Burnley. My heart was always with Lancashire because I’ve been with them for two years and I’ve built up a rapport with people at the club.”
He added: “I think anybody, given the choice, would’ve preferred Lancashire. It’s just a real honour to represent your county and it obviously means more. There’s an added incentive to do well because it’s where you’re from. You’re more determined to do well and succeed. This is a massive opportunity for my career.”
Hayman has been part of Lancashire’s junior set-up for two years - playing among the Under 17 and Under 19 sides - but he’s keen to impress at a much more reputable level now.
Anderson, who also molded his trade at Turf Moor, is now second to only Ian Botham on the list of all-time English Test wicket-takers and is expected to play a part in the domestic campaign’s embryonic stages, beginning on April 6th. Now Hayman is determined to follow suit in a bid to enjoy similar success.
“I’ve had conversations with coaches about Jimmy,” he said. “He’s been at training and seen me bowling in the nets. There’s a lot of hard work to be done until I’m at that level but it was good to see him around. Jimmy goes about his own business so you don’t want to disturb him but I’ve said ‘hello’ to him a few times. It would be great to emulate his success.
“Like Jimmy, my technique is a bit different which is good for me. I wouldn’t get the pace with my bowling if my actions were altered. Luckily they don’t want to take that uniqueness away and that should benefit me.”
He added: “Andrew Flintoff was my favourite player and he was the reason I first got in to cricket. He played for Lancashire so it’s a privilege to be following in his footsteps as well.”
And, with the new season on the horizon, Hayman’s ambition is to push himself in to contention and join the conveyor belt of esteemed Burnley CC players to have represented teams at county level.
“If you look at Burnley Cricket Club they’ve got a reputation for producing a lot of players that have moved on to the next level,” he said. “There’s Jimmy Anderson, Jonathan Clare, the Tripathi’s and the Brown brothers. They’ve all shown what can be achieved if you work hard.
“There’s quite a lot of bowlers at Lancashire so I need to impress and do enough to get picked. It’s all new to me so I’m enjoying the training and being in that environment. Hopefully being here will help develop my game and push me on. I’m hoping for selection in the second team and maybe a few first team appearances in the Twenty20.”
Ahead of the new term with Burnley, Hayman, who contributed 30 wickets last year, added: “With the team we’ve got this year at Burnley I can’t see why we can’t retain the Worsley Cup. I think we’re better in all departments this year and we should be pushing to win the league. We should certainly be looking to finish in the top three.”