New Zealander George Worker, of Knowle & Dorridge in the Birmingham Premier League, is our third winner of The Cricket Paper’s ‘All-Rounder of the Month’ award, which recognises outstanding all-round performances at all levels. The award is in partnershi
Find out who wins a crate of beer for July’s performances
Jeetan Patel may not be a cult hero to Knowle & Dorridge fans, but the fact he helped sell the club to George Worker means he, perhaps, deserves a statue. Worker’s fine form has moved the club to the top of the of the Birmingham Premier League with multiple hundreds and batches of wickets – earning him the All-Rounder of the Month award for July. He may still have joined had he not shared breakfast with fellow Kiwi Patel, who plays for Warwickshire and lives down the road from the club, on the day they got in touch but there is no doubt the veteran spinner played his part. It may seem baffling that Worker, a New Zealand international who narrowly missed out on selection for the ICC Champions Trophy, would drop down to club cricket rather than try his hand in the county game but he insists it has done him the world of good. The 27-year-old almost joined Knowle & Dorridge six years ago before the move fell through, but when the club came calling again in February, Worker jumped at the chance. “I did not know much about them, although I knew the Birmingham Premier League was highlyregarded. And it is a strong competition,” he said. “Jeetan and I were having breakfast when the email from the club arrived. He lives just down the road and said it is a nice club and told me how much he is enjoying his time over here. “I had spoken to others who knew about the club too and all the feedback I had was great. I am glad I made the move.
“It is nice to finally be there. I got approached from the coaches there, we were talking initially about five or six years ago but it just did not work out.
“We were talking and I think they already signed an overseas player by the time it got down to it, but they had my contact details and I heard from them again in February.
“It has been an exciting time over the last couple of months really. Knowle & Dorridge have been playing good cricket and it has been nice to help them out and perform the way I have.
“To not only get hundreds and get wickets, it is just nice to put in big performances as well.”
It must be an intimidating feeling to bowl to Worker, who averages 45 in 78 first-class matches and has six New Zealand one-day caps to his name.
In July alone he plundered two huge scores of 138 and 173, and backed that up with two 50s, while with the ball, his left-arm spin has become deadly after
he took 7-32 against Barnt Green and 4-41 against West Bromwich Dartmouth.
“I feel really good with my game at the moment and I am scoring big hundreds. The main thing is trying to make those big performances count,” he said. “The bowling is also starting to go well, which helps.
“It is a little bit different to playing back home, the team relies on you a little bit more.You have to take ownership and bat with that responsibility a little bit more.
“Even though it is not first-class cricket, you learn about your game.
“We are going well but it is pretty tight at the top. We are now in the winlose stuff now, so I think that is what it will come down too but it will be nice if we can wrap it up.”
Knowle & Dorridge are just six points clear of Shrewsbury at the top of the table, but Worker is confident they can finish with a flourish.
The big hitter has loved his time in England and is already eyeing up a return next summer to play in the county game, with Warwickshire likely to be keeping a close eye on his development. Before that though is a New Zealand tour to India this winter he is desperate to be on. “I don’t know if the New Zealand selectors are watching or not but I know being here is helping my game and it cannot do any harm,” he said. “I would love to play county cricket one day. Now, I want to go back to New Zealand and get some opportunities with them in our summer and then look ahead to coming back to England next year. “It is amateur cricket now at the moment, so there is a big difference in the standard but I have found the wicket very good for batting and some of the other parts of the country are more seamer-friendly. “The wickets have allowed me to play my game and I know Warwickshire regard it as a stepping stone to their team. “But for me it is about getting back into the international team now.”
We are delighted that The Cricket Paper, Haresfoot Brewery, The Lord's Taverners and ourselves have come together to initiate this new award which, over time, will reflect the all-round contributions made by individuals to the success of cricket teams at many levels of the game. When, two years ago, we commissioned Haresfoot to produce All-Rounder: Cricket Writers' Club Ale, we did so in the belief that cricket and beer is a marriage to be ranked alongside the likes of strawberries and cream, Lillee and Thomson, Greenidge and Haynes, and horses and carriages. The beer was created with significant input from a group of our members, and we are so pleased that All-Rounder has not only been well-received commercially but that it has now provided the spark of an idea which has resulted in the creation of this monthly summer award.” Mark Baldwin, Chairman of the Cricket Writers' Club
Tons of tons: George Worker salutes another century. Inset: Worker shows his power through the covers
Spin wizard: George Worker has been massively successful with his left-arm bowling. Below: celebrating a wicket