Who is Chris Greaves, the South Africa-born Scotland novice who blanked Bangladesh in T20 World Cup 2021?

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It was a tale of two all-rounders in Oman – Shakib Al Hasan, the all-time great, and Chris Greaves, the international novice.  

This felt like it would be an opportunity to crown Shakib, now the most prolific wicket-taker in the history of T20 internationals, particularly when he and Mahedi Hasan combined to leave Scotland in all sorts of trouble at 53 for six batting first.  

But instead, it was Greaves who stole the show. Completely unfazed by playing his first international innings in just his second match and tasked with a rebuild against the unquestioned favourites in Group B, Greaves got stuck in and turned the game around. He would do it again in the second innings.  

Linking up with spin twin Mark Watt, the 31-year-old played with composure against the spinners before using the pace of the quicks as he eased to a quickfire 45 from just 28 deliveries.  

All you need to know about the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021: Tournament structure, groups, fixtures, start time, squads and prize money

Still, when Shakib plucked the ball out of the night sky after Greaves could not quite connect with Mustafizur Rahman’s slower ball, it felt like the master would have the final word over the rookie.  

That was even more the case when Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim came together during the chase, unhurried and untroubled with the exception of a couple of risky runs.  

However, when Chris Greaves entered the attack, Shakib tried to go after his very first delivery, failed to connect and picked out Calum MacLeod in the deep.   

By this stage, Greaves was everywhere. If the ball can follow you around when you are struggling, this was the opposite. Twice in the next over he made important stops at point as Mushfiqur looked to up the scoring rate.  

That pressure was rewarded when he bowled Mushfiqur in the following over, the decisive moment of the match in the view of Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah, a view with which it is hard to disagree.  

Who is Chris Greaves?

The World Cup offers a platform to players from associate nations who might not otherwise have the opportunity to play at the highest level. 

Even by those standards, Greaves’s journey is an unlikely one. His only previous T20I was against Papua New Guinea at the start of the month.  

It is only a chance meeting with Matt Prior that has led to Greaves being here. Back in 2010 he was part of South Africa’s Under-19s set-up bowling to the touring English at the Wanderers.  

While he was brought up in South Africa, he had a British passport through his mother and having passed on her email address – he did not have one at the time – he was stunned to hear from Prior.  

That led to a trial at Durham. It did not prove fruitful, but Durham’s loss eventually turned out to be Scotland’s gain as the all-rounder moved to Glenrothes and then Forfarshire.  

The pandemic might have delayed his debut, but Greaves has made up for lost time in style. He may never match Shakib’s career achievements but on this occasion, the novice came out on top in the battle with the master.  

 

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