MOST budding all-rounders would cite Andrew Flintoff as their idol but not many would name-check Robin Martin-Jenkins.
Yet while Fynn Hudson-Prentice, 19, admits the sight of Freddie wreaking havoc during the 2005 Ashes cemented his love of cricket, it is his county Sussex’s underrated former stalwart who he wants to emulate.
Hudson-Prentice is in the Martin-Jenkins mould – a lifelong Sussex man who takes wickets despite lack of express pace and provides crucial lower-order runs.
And, before his first season after signing a professional contract, Hudson-Prentice hopes to one day make a similar impact at Hove as RMJ.
He said: “When I was very young I loved football but seeing England win the Ashes in 2005, I knew I wanted to be a cricketer and joined the Sussex youth system.
“Flintoff was obviously my hero when I started playing but coming down to Hove, it was Robin.
“He played a similar role to the one I wanted to and was very underestimated. Only towards the back end of his career did he get the profile he deserved.
“Like him, I’m not very quick and prefer to be a holding bowler but I can swing it both ways and use the conditions. I also scored a couple of hundreds for the Sussex 2nd XI at, the end of last year.
“I definitely want both aspects of my game to be at a similar level so I can be picked as a batsman or a bowler.”
While winning a contract with the club he first joined aged ten is inspiration enough, Hudson-Prentice insists the chance to learn from an attack boasting Steve Magoffin and Tymal Mills will be invaluable.
And with another revered county cricket veteran in Jon Lewis as his bowling coach, the Haywards Heath-born prospect cannot quite believe his luck.
“With Tymal and Ajmal Shahzad now, we really should be pushing for the Championship title and it’s great to be around guys that have done it at the highest level,” he said.
“And Jon Lewis was born to coach and I’ve already learned a lot from him – I was even working with him via an app out in Australia.
“I played in the Brisbane league and it was great to test myself on those quick and bouncy pitches. It was daunting going out on my own and not knowing anyone but I soon settled in.
“Unfortunately I then broke my hand in a net session and I’ve got two weeks left of rehab so I shouldn’t miss much of the season.”
When back fit, Hudson-Prentice will be looking to add to his first-team debut last season – during a high-scoring clash with Glamorgan in the Royal London Cup.
Yet while a place in an impressive Sussex four-day team may be harder to secure, he is driven to keep performing well for the 2nd XI and club side East Grinstead.
He said: “That Glamorgan game was not the best for a bowler with only six wickets taken all day. But it was a great experience playing at my home ground and hearing my name announced to the crowd.
“Hopefully I can play a part in the one-day or t20 competitions but the 2nd XI is a great system, too. And at East Grinstead I’m playing with a lot of people who’ve played at a higher standard.
“The ultimate goal though is, of course, playing Test cricket for England, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do since I started.”
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