By Jake Needham
Ben Slater and Peter Burgoyne’s short tenure amongst the Zimbabwean professional ranks has begun brightly with a series of notable contributions from the young Derbyshire duo.
Denby born, off-spinning all-rounder, Burgoyne has already showed his Southern Rocks team mates the sort of power that brought him his maiden second XI century back in September.
Burgoyne smashed a quick fire 43 for ‘The Rocks’ in a recent pro 40 game against the Mid-West Rhinos. His batting has also been identified as a major weapon for the side, as the academy graduate finds himself occupying the number five slot for his side.
However it has been Burgoyne’s form in the T20 format that has been most impressive. In the three games that the Southern Rocks have played, he has a batting average of a shade under 30 with a strike rate comfortably over 100.
Burgoyne has also taken the responsibility of opening the bowling for his side, conceding only 5.1 runs per over, an exceptional return in such a high octane format of the game.
For Bolsover born Slater, the first three weeks of his foray into the Zimbabwean professional ranks have produced some striking innings as well. Slater currently averages 33 in the Pro 40 competition with a high score of 43.
But for Slater, as with Burgoyne, it has been the shortest format of the game that has yielded the greatest returns. His batting average of 48 with a best of 57 in a losing effort against Mid-West Rhinos (a match that saw the Derbyshire pair put on 74 for the third wicket), represents a fine return.
Slater’s notable returns see him sitting 7th in the T20 national averages with Burgoyne not far behind in 10th place.
The Derbyshire pair also seem to be settling comfortably into life in Southern Africa, with Burgoyne keen to stress just what a great experience the short trip has proved already ‘We’ve both been made very welcome, our team mates are a great bunch of lads.’
Burgoyne is also broadening his horizons while out in Zimbabwe, and getting acquainted with the local wildlife ‘Ben and I walked with some lions the other day, that wasn’t something I’d expected to be doing three weeks ago back in Eastwood!’
‘But our main aim is to win games for the Rocks and be better players for Derbyshire next year.’
The Southern Rocks, coached by specialist batting coach David Houghton currently sit fourth in the T20 table, having played three matches with one victory.
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