The end of September is traditionally a time for rest and recuperation for the county cricketer, or perhaps the opportunity to try his hand at a vocation in preparation for life after cricket.
However, for two of Derbyshire’s brightest prospects; Peter Burgoyne (pictured) and Ben Slater, the time up until Christmas will be used playing first-class cricket for Southern Rocks Cricket franchise in Zimbabwe.
Burgoyne and Slater’s arrival will unfortunately not be heralded with such fanfare as Southern Rock’s overseas signing for 2010-11. The ‘Rocks’ that year recruited none other than the world record holder in first-class and Test cricket; Brian Lara.
‘It’s going to be a really exciting time’ Burgoyne said. ‘Dave Houghton is coaching the side out there and he asked if Ben and I would be interested in playing out there.’
It will be Burgoyne’s first time playing abroad, and the Derbyshire born all-rounder is keen to learn as much as he can from his experience in Southern Africa. ‘It is going to be a great opportunity to play in different conditions and against different players than we’re used to. It will also be good to have a bit of sun on our backs!’
The Southern Rocks have traditionally struggled in the Zimbabwean cricket franchise system, failing to register a first-class victory throughout their three year history. However, opening batsman Ben Slater sees that as something that can be turned into a positive for him and his Derbyshire team mate.
‘We go there with nothing to lose really’ Slater said, ‘They have struggled in the 4 day format, but that gives Peter and I a great chance to go out there and make a big impression.
‘At the end of the day it is all geared up for us to become better cricketers for Derbyshire in 2013 and onward. If we can benefit from playing an extra three months first class cricket, then it will be good for us and the county as a whole.’
Let’s all hope that when the lads return to England on the 21st of December that not only have they developed into even better players, but that Peter has mastered the spelling of his team mates Chamu Chibhabha, Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi, Tafadzwa Kamungozi correct on his Christmas cards to them!
As well as Burgoyne and Slater playing cricket in Zimbabwe, this winter will see Dan Redfern embark on his first season playing cricket abroad as he attends the Darren Lehman academy in Adelaide, South Australia where Ross Whiteley will also be playing league cricket for his second straight winter.
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