DateLine: 29th April 2009
Graham Napier's appeared to be making a steady rise prominence when in July 2004, when he was named in a pool of 30 players for the Champions Trophy. As a product of the Essex youth system, Napier made his mark in county cricket as an allrounder of great promise, particularly in the one-day game, where his hard-hitting batting was complemented by a nifty line in seam bowling, which can prove frustratingly hard to dispatch in the closing overs of a match. In 2003, he equalled the highest number of wickets taken by an Essex player in a one-day league campaign (33), and was subsequently selected for the ECB academy tour of Malaysia and India in early 2004.
In recent seasons he has been troubled by injuries and slipped well down the Essex pecking order, to the point where he wasn't even sure of his place in the team. A few difficult seasons following, but in 2008 he wrote his name in the record books with an astonishing 152 against Sussex in the Twenty20, which included a world record 16 sixes.