Jake Lintott called in at Queen’s today (August 24th) before setting off on the next leg of his whirlwind summer.
He has been speaking about a remarkable few months which have seen him propelled from being our Head of Cricket to making headlines among some of the game’s top stars.
Jake’s rise to stardom began last summer as some eye-catching displays for Birmingham Bears in the T20 Vitality Blast saw him sign a three-year contract with Warwickshire CCC in February.
The former Queen’s student said: “It was obviously a long journey to get that first contract and took a lot longer than others but that feeling was really special
“It now gives me a chance to invest in Warwickshire for three years and gives me the stability to move forwards and develop my game”.
The contract is for all forms of cricket and Jake made his First Class debut last month.
“It’s really important to me to keep working at the longer format of the game – I want to play all forms.”
Since signing the contract, it has been a real ‘Boy’s Own’ story as a brilliant 2021 campaign for the Bears led to Jake becoming a wildcard pick for Southern Brave in cricket’s new competition, The Hundred.
He could not have got off to a better start, bowling Somerset and England star Tom Banton with his very first ball.
Jake went on to be Brave’s leading wicket taker in the group stages and took a brilliant catch in last Friday’s Elminator to help them into the final the following night.
That led him to the home of cricket, Lord’s, and he was again at the centre of the action, taking the vital wicket of opposition captain, England’s Moeen Ali, as the Brave beat Birmingham Phoenix by 32 runs to lift the inaugural trophy.
“It was obviously a pretty surreal moment to get the call to let me know I was going to be picked as a wild card – I had that goal at the start of the season, to get picked up, but you still never really expect it to happen.”
Jake missed out on the first game but went into the second “in a good place and took that wicket first ball to get Tom Banton.”
He added: “I’m a wicket-taker and that’s what the Head Coach, Mahela Jayawardene, wanted me to do.
“I managed to take 11 wickets and get some key players out so I felt like I contributed a lot in those games and it was great to be part of such an amazing squad.”
And what about the final itself?
“It was the stuff of dreams really – playing in front of 25,000 people at Lord’s – and to win it just capped it off.
“I spent most of my time in the field just trying to soak it up – looking around and enjoying it. I think it’s going to take a while to top that feeling.”
Jake said there were a number of students from Queen’s in the crowd, who he managed to meet after the game, and he enjoyed celebrating with family who had been there throughout “which made it even more special.”
He said it was “pretty cool” to rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world and to have Mahela Jayawardene as Head Coach – “I learned so much from working alongside him and he helped me a lot with my game.
He said The Hundred was a huge learning experience and he had tried to make as much from it as he could.
“I felt I developed nicely along the way and finished the tournament in a much better place as opposed to the start.”
Jake said it was great to see so many children watching the matches and he had also heard from people who didn’t really watch or follow cricket. “It’s obviously appealed to a new audience”.
He also liked some of the tournament’s quirks – such as the five-ball, ten-ball overs and the time limits.
“It’s only going to get bigger and better and I can see it growing more and more. It’s an exciting time to be involved in The Hundred and I know it’s going to keep going from strength to strength.”
Jake’s season is far from over – on Friday he returns to T20 Vitality Blast action as Birmingham Bears take on Kent Spitfires at Canterbury.
And last week it was announced that he would be playing for Barbados Royals in the Caribbean Premier League.
Jake jets out straight after Friday’s match and, should the Bears win that game, he will fly back to England for T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston – their home ground – on September 18th.
“As The Hundred went on and I put in some performances, the Head Coach of the Royals, Daniel Vettori was impressed with me. He coaches the Birmingham Phoenix and I did well against them in both games.
“Luckily I got the call to go away to another huge tournament and again I’ll be playing with some of the best players in the world.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity that I never really thought I’d have a year ago. I can’t wait for some warmer weather and to have a good time out in Barbados.”
The slow left-arm unorthodox bowler – a successful club player – was 27 when he clinched his first professional deal before the new season started.
It has since led to him being dubbed “the Jamie Vardy of cricket” after the England footballer who came into the game late in his career.
So how has he achieved such a meteoric rise up the cricketing ladder?
“The last year has been off the back of a long journey and a number of people have obviously helped along the way.
“Family have been really supportive of my cricket growing up and then Queen’s obviously played a huge part in my development.
“The school has always supported me 100% whether as a pupil or a member of staff and with their support in the last two of three years to allow me to go off and play cricket, trial around and take those opportunities.”
Jake paid tribute to Dr Lorraine Earps for support while Head Teacher of Queen’s.
“She has given me a lot of flexibility to do both jobs and I wouldn’t be flying to the Caribbean this week if it wasn’t for that flexibility.”
He added: “I’m really grateful to everyone who has helped me.”
Jake said that coming into the professional game later had been “a bit of a blessing.”
“I feel comfortable with my skills and comfortable with my game whereas coming in younger, it can be tougher. I’ve come in as a well-rounded player who is ready to take on the challenges thrown at me.
“I’ve felt in a really good place this last year and obviously I’m surprised at how well it’s gone but that doesn’t take away from the amount of belief I have in myself and hopefully I can keep moving forwards.”
Dr Earps left Queen’s this summer to take up a headship in Cheshire and the new Headmaster is Mr Julian Noad.
He said: “We are keen to support Jake in any way we can with his professional career developments.”