Test Match Sofa
Franks celebrates 500 first-class scalps
By Dave Bracegirdle
Nottinghamshire's Paul Franks is celebrating his 500th first-class wicket, which came when he had Somerset’s Arul Suppiah taken at slip by Alex Hales after lunch on Saturday April 21.
It has taken him fifty matches to pick up the last hundred wickets, something Franks can now smile about. “It’s a relief to finally get there and something I’m very proud of," he said.
“It came in a phase when nothing much was going for us. I just tried to hit the wicket as hard as I could – back of a length. Arul went at it a bit hard and nicked it off and Alex has taken a good catch at slip.”
Franks's first-class debut arrived in September 1996 when he was included in an end-of-season match against Hampshire at Southampton. In a high-scoring draw he didn’t get to bat in either Notts innings but he did pick up three wickets, the first of which was Giles White, the current Hampshire coach.
“Even back then he was a competitive so-and-so,” said White. “He always ran in hard and gave it everything and was quite aggressive as a bowler. He has developed into a very good all-rounder over the years and you always know that he’s about.”
Franks’s first wicket at Trent Bridge came in May 1997 against Derbyshire, where he chipped in with the dismissal of AJ Harris, later to join him at Nottinghamshire. During the same innings team-mate Mark Bowen claimed seven scalps of his own.
His century of first-class wickets came up in just his 33rd match and there was a touch of irony about it because, again, it was Giles White who was the man dismissed, this time caught behind by Chris Read in a home fixture.
Nicknamed ‘The General’, Franks's 200th scalp was Glamorgan’s Steve James, in his 60th match. Other landmarks were: 300 – Anthony McGrath v Yorkshire at Leeds in May 2004, in his 104th match; 400 – Paul Horton of Lancashire at Trent Bridge in May 2008, his 149th match.
His latest milestone came with his 29,822nd delivery and out of his haul of 500 wickets, 459 were taken for Nottinghamshire, 30 for England A and 11 for Zimbabwe’s Mid West Rhinos.
Unsurprisingly, the bulk of his dismissals have taken place at Trent Bridge – 227 of them, with another 25 being snared at Lord’s, one of his other favourite grounds.
His collection includes a hat-trick at home against Warwickshire in 1997 (Trevor Penney, Dougie Brown, Graeme Welch) and the honour of taking the first wicket of the 2011 English season – albeit in Abdu Dhabi, when he dismissed Chris Rogers, the MCC captain.
Franks has career-best figures of 7 for 56 and had taken five wickets in an innings on eleven occasions. Aside from his contribution with the ball, Franks has also scored 6,590 first-class runs, with four centuries, at an average of almost 28.
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