Josh Baker: Cricket world mourns death of rising Worcestershire and England star, aged 20

Worcestershire Cricket Club 'devastated' by sudden passing of spin bowler

Josh Baker took three wickets against Somerset at Bromsgrove on Wednesday, with the game abandoned as a draw on Thursday. Getty Images
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Worcestershire Cricket Club announced late Thursday the death of former England Under-19 spin bowler Josh Baker.

The club said they were “devastated” by the loss of Baker, who was in action for the county’s second XI less than 24 hours before the shock news.

No further details have been shared about the circumstances of the youngster’s passing, with the club requesting privacy and respect for his family.

Baker took three wickets against Somerset at Bromsgrove on Wednesday, with the game abandoned as a draw on Thursday, and previously featured in two Vitality County Championship games last month.

A statement read: “Worcestershire County Cricket Club is heartbroken to announce the untimely passing of Josh Baker, who was aged only 20 years old.

“During this profoundly difficult time, the club is dedicated to supporting Josh’s family, friends, and colleagues. We are united in our grief and committed to honouring his memory in a manner befitting the remarkable person he was.

“It was his vibrant spirit and infectious enthusiasm that endeared him to everyone he met. His warmth, kindness, and professionalism were remarkable, making him a true credit to his family and a loved member of our team.

“Plans to pay tribute to Josh will be made in consultation with his family and will remain private at this time. The club, along with Josh’s family, requests the respect of privacy as we mourn this immense loss. Further comments will not be provided during this sensitive period.”

Worcestershire chief executive, the former England spinner Ashley Giles, offered a personal message.

“The news of Josh’s passing has left us all devastated. Josh was much more than a teammate; he was an integral part of our cricket family. We will all miss him terribly. All our love and prayers go out to Josh’s family and friends,” said Giles.

Baker turned professional in 2021, taking 43 wickets in 22 first-class appearances, the last of which came against Durham last month. He also played 17 List A games and eight T20s and was a travelling reserve for England at the Under-19 World Cup in 2022.

Condolences and tributes poured in from around the wider game, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) mourning the “devastating news” on X.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan added: “This is so sad. Thoughts with all his family & close friends.”

Pakistan spinner Usama Mir, another former New Road colleague of Baker’s, added: “So sad and upset to hear the news of Josh’s passing. He was one of the nicest people you could meet. And a brilliant cricketer. Really devastated to hear this news. Thoughts and prayers with his family.”

Ex-England cricketer Paul Nixon: "Incredible young man, wonderful cricketer just devastating. All our love, thoughts and prayers go to Josh’s family, friends and teammates at this sad sad time."

Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Rob Lynch said the news was "impossible to comprehend", while the ECB's managing director of men's cricket, Rob Key, tweeted: 'This is absolutely heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to all of Josh's family.'

Wisden, colloquially known as the bible of cricket, said: “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone associated with the club.”

Updated: May 03, 2024, 7:25 AM