Second-team champion who has made his mark in the firsts

Top order batter James Wharton will no doubt look back on 2022 as quite some year when his playing days are done. Personal and team success was achieved, starting with a County Championship debut at Gloucestershire.

Wharton, now 23, played three Division One games through a summer which saw him star as the second team won their Championship title.

He contributed 493 runs, including two fifties and two centuries to that success. The last of those tons came during the title-clinching draw at Kent in September. During a disappointing T20 campaign team wise for the seconds, he also claimed a hat-trick with his off-spinners in a game against Derbyshire.

The Huddersfield-born right-hander debuted for the first team during a Vitality Blast match against Lancashire at Headingley in 2020, there was something quite noticeable – his similarity in set up at the crease to Joe Root.

The former England Test captain is a hero of Wharton’s, going some way to explaining the similarities. Since then, Wharton has developed his own style. But some things remain the same. Like Root, he is no stranger to a big score, for example.

In 2023, his breakthrough summer in the first team, passed 50 in all three formats, including a stunning 111 not out in a Vitality Blast win over Worcestershire at Headingley in early June.

He will be hoping for similar in Championship and one-day cricket in 2024, for which he warmed up by playing winter grade cricket in Australia for Perth side Wanneroo.

Going back to 2023, Wharton (139) also shared a remarkable unbroken first-wicket stand of 257 with Will Luxton in a second-team T20 friendly win over the South Asian Cricket Academy.

A product of the Scholes club, he first represented Yorkshire at Under 14s and has gone on to captain the Academy. He also led the second team five times in 2022.

UPDATED: Feb 2024.

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