You may have heard that Chris Woakes has signed to play for Wellington in New Zealand this winter as their overseas player. This pleases us. It’s great to see players heading abroad to ply their trade in different situations, in different conditions (albeit the North Island is probably not really much of an alien climate to a man from Birmingham) and against new players. It would seem a logical step for a young player with ambitions to further his international career and who, at the age of 23, should be maturing nicely. Certainly some overseas sojourns have helped the likes of Steven Finn, Luke Wright and longer ago Matthew Hoggard. Although Liam Dawson’s brief experience in Zimbabwe last year was less joyful, due to him thinking that a summer in Mutare would be like a weekend in Margate.
Other globetrotters this year include Mark Pettini and Moeen Ali, both of whom are appearing in Zimbabwean domestic cricket. The former has started superbly, with scores of 58, 27, 29, 104*, 100 and 31* for Mountaineers in three Logan Cup matches; the Worcestershire man has also taken to the experience like a duck to the New Road outfield, having scored 266 runs from five innings (including a 95 and a 101) and taken nine wickets for Tuskers.
In brighter lights, Michael Lumb returns to the Sydney Sixers, Owais Shah to the Hobart Hurricanes, Wright to the Melbourne Stars and youngster Matt Prior has signed for Sydney Thunder.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the performances of all the English players who find themselves in some remote outpost such as Bulawayo or the Big Bash; Woakes is expected to debut for Wellington on Monday.