Sunday, May 19, 2024

Who was Worcestershire cricketer Josh Baker, who died at the age of 20?

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Worcestershire left-arm spinner Josh Baker has died at the age of 20.

Baker was found dead by a friend in his apartment after he did not answer his phone.

The youngster has made two County appearance this season and on Wednesday, he had taken 3 for 66 in the first innings of Worcestershire’s four-day 2nd XI Championship match against Somerset at Bromsgrove School.

Baker made his first-class debut in 2021 and played 47 games in all formats, taking 70 wickets.

Baker was born in Redditch, and he came through the ranks at New Road and represented England at U-19 level.

He signed a three-year contract last year, having recovered from a back injury that he suffered in 2022, and played five Championship games to help Worcestershire win promotion from Championship Division Two.

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In a club statement, Worcestershire have said they are ‘heartbroken’ at the death of 20-year-old and described him as a “vibrant spirit and infectious enthusiasm” in a tribute.

“More than his skills as a spin bowler, it was his vibrant spirit and infectious enthusiasm that endeared him to everyone he met,” said the Club.

“His warmth, kindness, and professionalism were remarkable, making him a true credit to his family and a loved member of our team.”

Worcestershire chief executive, the former England spinner Ashley Giles, offered a personal message.

‘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,’ said Giles.

In 2022, Baker was struck for 34 runs in one over Ben Stokes, during a match between Worcestershire and Durham.

Stokes has later dropped a text to Baker on WhatsApp, saying “let today define the rest of your season.”

“You’ve got serious potential and [I] think you’ll go a long way,” Stokes added. “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.”

The England Cricket Board (ECB) said it is ‘desperately sad to learn of the passing of 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.”

Rob Key, the ECB’s managing director of men’s cricket, wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “This is absolutely heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to all of Josh’s family.”

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