While still on his Christmas break back home in Zimbabwe, Hampshire player Sean Ervine got a late present courtesy of the newly formed Bangladesh Premier League auction. He was snapped up by Duronto Rajshantifor $25,000 – a stint that will act as ideal preparation for the all-rounder before he returns back to the county in March for the start of the 2012 season.
Boosted by his off-season performances representing Matabeleland Tuskers in the Zimbabwean first class circuit, he can’t wait to show the Bangladesh public his explosive hitting power. “Back home”, he has had a few outing with both bat and ball and, pleasingly, his bowling has not put too much strain on his 29-year old body.
Now he prepares for the BPL which runs throughout February. No other Zimbabwean cricketer was selected in the auction, despite the presence of the likes of Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura – which is a real accolade to the man known by his Royals team-mates as “Slug”.
“It is a bonus for me,” Ervine said. “I had obviously toured there before with Zimbabwe. The wickets are really good to play on – good for the spinners! I don’t really know much about the team or its players, but I will know more closer to the competition. I’m just very excited to be picked up and I’m lucky that it doesn’t clash with any commitments with Hampshire.
“It is an extra bonus for me to get some extra cricket. It is a 20 day tournament, short and sweet and it will be a good experience playing against some top players from across the world.”
And amongst the familiar surroundings will be some familiar faces, as Ervine explains… “It will be great to play with former Hampshire players [and Duronto Rajshanti team-mates] Imran Tahir and Abdul Razzaq again; it will depend on Abdul’s commitments with Pakistan as they are playing against England in a few ODI’s, but it will be a great experience.”
He will also suit up alongside West Indies’ Marlon Samuels and Pakistan’s Mohammad Sami in a side which contains a plethora of young Bangladesh players. Ervine hopes that the tournament will act as an ideal pre-season work-out and, in particular, help him get into the bowling groove as he continues to push to get ball in hand. It’s a case of so far, so good…
“Yeah, touch wood everything seems to be coming out alright. Last season we [Hampshire] had three spinners in our side generally, and then we had [Dominic] Cork, [Dimi] Mascarenhas and [Chris] Wood bowling, so we had plenty of bowlers around. I would have only really bowled when the game was already in the bag but I think this year will be different; we haven’t got as many spinners as we did last year and with the seamers I hope to play a big part in that.”
Ervine has clearly got his eyes firmly set on the new campaign here with Hampshire, and he predicts a positive year at The Rose Bowl after a difficult 2011 season which resulted in relegation in the LV= County Championship. “I think we all have to have high ambitions for this season,” he said – and this is a common theme throughout the team who as a unit believe, with the new look side, that anything is possible.
“When you move down to division two you always want to bounce right back up, so everyone here will be working really hard to try and achieve this,” Ervine added. “We have got a tough CB40 group – by far the toughest group – so that will be a big challenge and, obviously, in the Twenty20, we have been successful over the last few years, so we just have to keep that up.”
“The main thing for us is to not look too far ahead, concentrate on the start of the season, which we have struggled with in the past, and just focus on little bit by little bit, cross each hurdle when it comes until we cross the line at the end of the season.”
And when that line is crossed, the players and fans alike, will all be hoping to see their club back into county cricket’s top flight. It will take a lot of hard work, which all starts now with the pre-season preparations – and Ervine is set for whatever the BPL may throw at him, we wish him well, but obviously we hope he doesn’t peak too soon!
Article originally appeared on rosebowlplc.com