Somerset batsman Alex Barrow believes his first stint of club cricket in Australia this winter has helped him to refine his technique – and given him the confidence to push for regular first XI honours next season.
The teenager, who made his LV= County Championship debut against Hampshire in April, has spent the past three months playing two-day, one-day, and Twenty20 matches for the North Sydney club in the Sydney grade competition.
Barrow scored just 77 runs in two two-day fixtures – played over consecutive Saturdays – but in the limited overs Poidevin-Gray Shield event he flourished. The 19-year-old right-hander plundered 332 runs from six matches at an impressive 37.67 average, with a season’s best score of 112 in a 50-overs-a-side contest.
Sadly for him, a shoulder injury curtailed Barrow’s North Sydney season and he is flying home to Somerset for surgery on January 8.
“A scan confirmed that I’ve got three tears in my shoulder muscles, so I’m going home for surgery to make sure I’m ready for the start of the county season,” said Barrow.
“I’ve had a great time in Australia, but whether or not I come back to play more cricket here next year depends on my season at Somerset.
“I’ve been playing mainly in the second grade and the standard of competition is better than at club level in England. I’ve had the opportunity to play some games against some of the big name New South Wales cricketers, such as internationals David Warner and Ed Cowan.
“Another big advantage is that it’s given me the opportunity to play consistently all year round, instead of just working in the nets at home. I’ve also learned how to live away from home for the first time and it’s been a challenge to manage my money and organise myself without my family around me.”
Barrow added: “I am spending the New Year with [Somerset second XI player] Jake Lintott’s family in Tasmania before I fly home to the freezing weather back in England.”
Meanwhile, former Somerset batsman Calum Haggett has confirmed he will be looking for a new county this summer.
Having spent the winter playing for the Scarborough cricket club in Perth, Western Australia, Haggett will be returning to the UK in search of a fresh start as he looks to fulfil his dream of playing for the senior England side.
The 21-year-old played three Twenty20 matches on the Cidermen’s tour of the Caribbean last year but never played County Championship cricket at Taunton.
“I couldn’t break into the first eleven so I decided to move to a new county,” Haggett said. “I don’t know where I’m going to be playing next season but it won’t be at Somerset. I am 21 and I’ve played for the England Under-19 XI but my dream is to play Test cricket.
“I won’t be able to do that unless I am playing regularly in the County Championship,” he added.