Josh Tongue's England Test debut won a family friend £50,000 in a bet

Josh Tongue’s Test debut won a family friend £50,000 after gambling he would play for England aged 11… after spotting his Shane Warne-style leg spin early, and describing the youngster’s batting as ‘unbelievable’

  • A family friend won £50k by betting Josh Tongue would play for England aged 11
  • Tongue made his Test debut during the pre-Ashes visit of Ireland on Thursday
  • Tim Piper said he saw the youngster’s Shane Warne-esque bowling skills early 

A family friend of England’s latest debutant Josh Tongue has revealed how Thursday’s Test outing against Ireland earned him £50,000.

When Tongue was 11 years of age, Tim Piper bet £100 that Tongue would play Test cricket for England – and kept the slip in a cupboard.

Tongue made his first appearance during the opening day of the pre-Ashes Test against Ireland at Lord’s, making Piper £50k richer, as the odds were 500-1.

Piper told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast about his big win, and the promise that a young Tongue showed during his early days playing the sport.

Piper said he saw Tongue’s early promise in the back garden aged about two, with the young boy responding to his father Phil’s cricket instructions. The adults were teammates at their local club Redditch. 

Josh Tongue’s Test debut for England on Thursday won a family friend £50,000 with a bet

Tim Piper made the £100 bet when Tongue was just 11, after seeing his skills as a young boy

Piper said that he kept the winning slip in his cupboard until Tongue’s achievement this week

He described the batting as ‘unbelievable’, before showcasing a Shane Warne-style leg spin bowling technique. 

As he grew older, the talent remained on display. Piper told the BBC: ‘I used to just watch him playing cricket round the outfield with other bigger boys, and he was just miles ahead of them.

‘And then he starts bowling in the nets to us when he’s about four. He’s bowling leg spin. It’s amazing he actually knows the deliveries he’s bowling at this age. 

‘Just a wonderful achievement for Josh. His family are on there pitch-side yesterday [Thursday], when he was presented his cap by Jimmy Anderson. It’s just an absolute dream come true, for Josh mainly, but obviously the bet.’

The debutant received his test cap from James Anderson prior to the start on Thursday

Tongue bowled at 91mph in his first spell, and was unlucky not to claim his first Test wicket

During the opening day of play, Tongue impressed with his showing, filling the ‘enforcer’ role left largely vacant by injuries to Jofra Archer and Olly Stone. 

Tongue hit 91mph in his first spell, was consistently fast during his 13 overs, and was unlucky not to claim his first Test wicket. 

Still, just being on the field was a huge moment for the 25-year-old, who had previously been out of action for 15 months following a shoulder injury – and considered quitting cricket during the toughest moments of that spell. 

Ex-national team captain Nasser Hussain said the Worcestershire player ‘looks big and strong and bowled at more than 90 miles per hour while providing a point of difference to the England attack’. 

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