Alex Wharf first played for Yorkshire in 1994, and the young seam bowler won acclaim by taking the wicket of Brian Lara. As a youngster, Wharf had been a member of the Yorkshire Academy, but the tall right-arm bowler found his opportunities at first team level restricted, and in 1997 he joined Nottinghamshire. In his first match for their 2nd XI, he confirmed his abilities as a batsman with an unbeaten century.
Despite some useful performances in 1998, Wharf was released by Nottinghamshire in 1999, and he joined Glamorgan for 2000. He proved to be a very shrewd signing, and the burly all-rounder deservedly won his county cap at the end of a fine season. He marked his Glamorgan debut with 100* against Oxford University, and his 101* against Northamptonshire was a vital ingredient in the county`s 144 run victory over the East Midlands county.
Wharf also made a major impact as a change bowler, and his return of 37 wickets at 25 apiece would have been higher had he not been handicapped by injury. Even so, he still managed to take 5-68 in the remarkable victory over 5-68, and also delivered several important spells in one-day games, most notably the semi-final of the Benson and Hedges Cup against Surrey.
A persistant heel injury restrcited Alex`s appearances in 2001 and 2002, but he returned to the side in 2003 and became a valuable member of the side in both formats of the game. His aggressive seam bowling and forthright batting was a feature behind Glamorgan`s success in the totesport League in 2004 with Alex making some telling contributions batting at number 3. This included a career-best 72 against Lancashire at Old Trafford, but for Alex the highlights of the domestic season were two dramatic spells with the ball - firstly a match-winning hat-trick at Edgbaston as Glamorgan beat Warwickshire, and then a remarkable spell of 6-5 against Kent at Cardiff.
These impressive contributions, allied to his agile fielding, lead to his inlcusion in the England one-day side in September 2004 for the one-day series against India and then the I.C.C. Champions Trophy. A spell of 3-30 on his debut against India proved that the burly all-rounder was not overawed by international cricket, and Alex was subsequently a member of the England one-day party in 2004/05 that toured Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
After recovering from various injuries in 2005, Alex was a member of England`s team in the Hong Kong Sixes competition in November, before touring the West Indies with the England `A` party in the Spring of 2006.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Dr.A.K.Hignell)