VCC player Brandon Glover won a professional contract with the English county of Northamptonshire this year. The fast bowler wasn’t very fortunate at the start, because in March it was decided that there would be no play until 1 August.
Nevertheless, the South African Dutchman is enjoying his new professional environment. At some point the training sessions could be resumed and after that even matches were played, albeit without spactactors. From his new home, Brandon talks about his first experiences in this strange corona year.
Where do you live now?
I live in Northampton. Northamptonshire County Cricket Club has arranged accommodation and it is right next to the county ground!
In the Netherlands, cricket is an amateur sport. How different is it at a pro club?
There are definitely a few big differences between club cricket in the Netherlands and County, which is to be expected.
The training is the first difference. Instead of two club trainings a week which last about three hours, there is training almost every day of the week when not playing games. These can go on for more than five hours and are very focussed. Usually there are two nets going on at a time, as well as a side pitch for bowlers to work on skills. There are also three coaches, one for bowling, batting and then the head coach, as well as a strength and conditioning coach, and two physios! Sometimes there are consultants as well, such as for fielding!
In terms of bowling there is much more emphasis on executing skills, rather than just running up and bowling in a net, and we have drills during training to get these down whilst working with the bowling coach Chris Liddle. These include devoted time to hitting yorker lengths (usually a target placed right by the stumps) during T20s, as well as working on change ups, such as an off and leg cutter which each bowler pretty much needs to have in order to play the shorter version of the game.
There are also differences with regards to emphasis on fielding. We didn’t do many fielding drills at club training, however here we usually have at least one fielding session every training, usually first thing before we start with any form of nets or individual skills!
The games are also of a very high standard, whether that be red or white ball, and one difference which really stood out for me was playing four day cricket. Obviously there is no longer format in the Netherlands club system and everything is white ball, so adjusting back to red ball and four day disciplines, along with having to bowl lots of overs over a long period was a big change.
How did you experience the lockdown?
The lockdown was incredibly boring. I came here to play cricket and develop as a cricketer. Sitting down and doing nothing, not even being able to train, was terrible! Fortunately I live by the stadium so could still run around and get some exercise in, but besides that I watched a lot of netflix and resumed my studies.
So being allowed to train and play was a relief?
Yes, it was great to be back at training and link up with the squad, which I hadn’t had much time with before, and start doing something productive. It felt like I finally had purpose again! It got even better when we were able to play games.
What does your average workday look like?
An average day here looks like waking up and having a training session, usually from 9:30AM until around 2PM with gym included in between, and then possibly doing a bit extra after if needed… after that grabbing lunch with team mates, doing admin and then very often heading to the golf course! If it’s a match day then obviously most the day is on the field.
Yes, I made my debut for Northants in the four-day county championship/ Bob Willis trophy against Somerset. However, The club has mainly used me in the Twenty20s so far.
It is a very professional environment which I love, but I do miss the post training beer and toastie at the VCC club house!