Monday, 7 November 2011

Brits Abroad: Ballance and Shafayat impress

Welcome to Brits Abroad. From now on, this'll be my Monday blogging round-up of the exploits of British cricketers as they play cricket all over the world. From Australia to Zimbabwe, I'm looking everywhere, but if I've missed someone please point them out in the comments and I'll try to include them in the future.

As an Essex fan, forgive me for starting with an Essex player: combative wicket-keeper batsman Adam Wheater is embarking on his second season for Matabeleland Tuskers in Zimbabwe first class cricket. So far he's had the gloves on, and also played as a specialist batsman, his most significant contribution so far being top-scoring with 76 in Tuskers nine wicket win over Southern Rocks.

Staying in Zimbabwe, we have Gary Ballance, born in Zimbabwe, but given he started his first class career in England, and is contracted to Yorkshire I've decided he's British enough for this column. That's a good thing too, because whilst captaining Mid West Rhinos, he's had a storming start to the season, scoring three hundreds and one fifty in five first class innings so far, the only blip being a duck in the second innings of the game against Mountaineers. Despite his brilliance with the bat, the Rhinos are in mid-table with a win, a draw and a loss from their first three games.

Moving south, we come to another Essex player, playing for Cape Cobras in South Africa, it's the man who defines the word under-achieving, Owais Shah. Since the Cobras returned from the Champions League - where Shah impressed with scores of 45 and 63* - they've played just two one day games. One was almost completely washed out, and in the other he scored only 11 while his team-mates cashed in to score 379 in 50 overs. Still, plenty of time to improve.

Further south still, and on the other side of the world, one of England's long line of tall fast bowlers and frequent  target of Graeme Swann's twitter bullying, it's Steven Finn. In New Zealand's Plunket Shield, it's Otago who will profit form the steadily improving seamer. Currently, in their first match of the season Finn has been economical, and picked up the wicket of Canterbury opener Rob Nicol. His figures so far read: 21-8-43-1.

We move to Pakistan now, and Northants batsman Bilal Shafayat who has had reasonable success with Habib Bank in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One. His top score score from three matches is 104, and he's also scored another fifty, batting at number three.

Out of first class cricket now and we move into Australian grade cricket where there are a number of British youngsters gaining experience in new conditions. Amongst them is Derbyshire all-rounder Ross Whitely, who in his first match for South Australian club Prospect scored a second innings 72 and took 5-63 against Northern Districts.

Sussex leg-spinner Will Beer has also been having success in the West End A Grade for Port Adelaide, in his first match taking 4-45 to help his club beat East Torrens on first innings. Strangely, since then he's played two more games and not bowled again.

Other players also playing in grade cricket include Greg Smith, who has 73 runs from 4 matches so far, and Neil Pinner, Mat Pardoe, and Ben Cox, all of whom are yet to play a match.

N.B. Next time I'll include scorecard source links, unfortunately this time I forgot until I was finished, and frankly I couldn't be bothered to chase them all up again. Cheerio.

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