Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Josh Baker: Worcestershire ‘devastated’ and cricket pays tribute as spin bowler dies aged 20

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Worcestershire spin bowler Josh Baker has died aged 20, the club have announced.

Baker made 47 appearances across all formats for Worcestershire since turning professional in 2021, the last being against Durham in the County Championship just last month.

The Pears said they were “devastated” by the loss of a young player who has played two Vitality County Championship matches this season. Worcestershire shirts will feature Baker’s squad number of 33 below the club crest for the rest of the season as a tribute to their former player.

Baker last featured for Worcestershire’s second XI the day before his passing, taking 3-66 from 20 overs at Bromsgrove to help dismiss Somerset for 246 in a drawn match.

A statement read: “Worcestershire County Cricket Club is heartbroken to announce the untimely passing of Josh Baker, who was aged only 20 years old.

“During this profoundly difficult time, the club is dedicated to supporting Josh’s family, friends, and colleagues. We are united in our grief and committed to honouring his memory in a manner befitting the remarkable person he was.

Josh Baker played twice in the County Championship for Worcestershire this season

“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. Further comments will not be provided during this sensitive period.”

Baker took 43 wickets in 22 first-class appearances. He also played 17 List A games and eight T20s and was a travelling reserve for England at the Under-19 World Cup in 2022.

The club added: “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.”

Cricket unites to pay tribute to ‘integral’ Baker

Ashley Giles, Worcestershire’s chief executive added: “The news of Josh’s passing has left us all devastated.

“Josh was much more than a team-mate; 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.”

The England and Wales Cricket board said in a statement: “The ECB is desperately sad to learn of the passing of Josh Baker. This is devastating news.

“We extend our best wishes to Josh’s family and friends, to everyone who knew and loved him, and to everyone at Worcestershire CCC.”

Former Worcestershire stalwart Daryl Mitchell said on X: “Absolutely devastating news. Bakes was an infectious character that became the life and soul of the dressing room at such a young age. Thoughts with the family and everyone at WCCC.”

Professional Cricketers’ Association chief executive Rob Lynch said: “Everybody at the PCA is heartbroken to hear of Josh’s passing and we offer our sincere condolences to all his family, friends and teammates.

“Josh was a cricketer with his full career and life ahead of him and this news is impossible to comprehend. The PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust are working to support Josh’s family, his teammates and all PCA members who are affected.

“Rest in peace, Josh.”

Worcestershire are next scheduled to be in Vitality County Championship action on May 10, when they travel to Kent.

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