All-rounder

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

The Cricket Paper - - FIRST TEST -

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

PIC­TURES: Paul Moreau

Spin wiz­ard: Ge­orge Worker has been mas­sively suc­cess­ful with his left-arm bowl­ing. Be­low: cel­e­brat­ing a wicket

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