There cannot be many teenage wicketkeepers who have been likened to MS Dhoni in his pomp, but that was precisely where Dane Schadendorf found himself after a clip of an unlikely stumping he made for Zimbabwe Under-19s early last year was shared on social media.
It showed Schadendorf fielding the ball from well outside leg stump, after New Zealand’s Beckham Wheeler-Greenall’s swing-and-miss, and flicking it back blind onto the stumps in the same movement, with the batter still out of his ground.
The clip had another airing when Nottinghamshire announced they had signed Schadendorf last December, prompting comparisons with the spectacular glovework associated with India star Dhoni.
“Obviously it was nice to get all the attention,” Schadendorf says as the incident comes up in a conversation about his elevation to the Nottinghamshire first team for the Royal London Cup. “But, really, it was a fluke.
“The ball turned a lot more than I expected and got me off balance but he was out of his crease so I thought I’d take a chance. It was one of those where you are just kind of throwing it and hoping. But, thank goodness, it hit.”
Such modesty is typical of the Harare-born player, who turned 19 on July 31. He is relishing his opportunity but does not expect his possession of the gloves to be more than temporary.
“When Tom Moores, Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke were selected for The Hundred, I had a good idea I’d be playing because basically, unless they signed someone else, I was the only keeper left,” he said. “But it was still nice when Mooresy [head coach Peter Moores] told me about a month beforehand that I should get ready to play.”
As it happened, Schadendorf proved his readiness only a week later when drafted in as emergency cover halfway through the home County Championship fixture against Derbyshire, which Tom Moores missed through illness.
“Ben was keeping in Tom’s place, but then he was called up to the England squad,” Schadendorf said. “I was playing in the Second XI and it was literally only on the morning that I was told to go to Trent Bridge instead.
“I was a bit nervous but it helped that I had so little time to think about it. The Notts players are all really nice lads and knowing they were backing me helped me feel a bit more relaxed.”
Schadendorf acquitted himself well with the bat, making 24, then held four out of four catches. “I felt I kept pretty well and although I would have liked to have got a few more runs it was pretty good for a first match," he said.
“I’d love to make the wicketkeeping spot my own but Tom’s doing well so it will be tough work for me to get it, and he’s not going to be retiring any time soon.
“But with the experience Pete and Tom have passed on to me, they’ve already made me a much better keeper. I love being here, I’m learning all the time, and I just have to be ready when the opportunities come along.”