POOLE-raised teenager Michael Porter has been handed the opportunity to achieve a lifetime ambition – fielding for England in a Test match.
The 19-year-old is one of four players to have been chosen to fulfil 12th-man duties when England and India resume battle in the third Test at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl, starting on Sunday.
Porter, who plays in the Southern Premier League for Bashley, received the call just minutes after he had made 96 in the first innings of Dorset’s Minor Counties clash against Oxfordshire on Monday.
“It wasn’t what I had been expecting after just getting out!” said Porter. “It was a shock and a lovely surprise.
"I took a call from Giles White, director of cricket at Hampshire, and he asked if I would be interested in being 12th man for the Test. I jumped at the chance.
“It is every player’s dream to be involved with their country and although I am not in the select 11, it is the next best thing to possibly have the chance to field with them. It will be nice to meet the players and to be in the same changing room as them.”
Porter, who has just won a scholarship to Southampton Solent University after completing a BTEC in sports performance at Brockenhurst College, spent two years on the Academy staff at Hampshire after progressing through the ranks at Dorset League Poole Town where he now coaches.
The Poole Grammar School old boy skippered Hampshire under-17s to the ECB County Championship final last year and still harbours hope of carving out a career in the game. He was 12th man in Hampshire’s T20 Blast win over Glamorgan last month.
Porter, a Cherries season ticket holder, said: “Although I didn’t field against Glamorgan, Giles White must have been pleased with what I did because he has asked me to do a Test match.
“As 12th man, your role is to help look after the players. You need to make sure the bowlers can have a drink when they are fielding at fine leg and get new gloves out to batsmen if they need them. If there is an injury or a bowler needs a rest or treatment, you need to be ready to field.
“It was a bit of a setback not being kept on after my time at the Academy but this has given me a lot of confidence because it shows Hampshire are still interested and rate me as a player. I am still hoping I can get a few second team games in for them.
"If I don’t make it as a cricketer, my goal is to be a PE teacher. But I am still only 19 and still have a couple of years to give it my best shot.”