A good overseas player is a boon a club while a bad one can ruin a season for you. How do you find the best ones?
Overseas player and owner of player agency CricX, Steven Hirst specialises in the topic so I turned to him to get some ideas on how to source players of the right calibre for your club. Here is what we talked about.
Demand for players
There is a huge demand within the UK for overseas talent. The ECB have indicated there are in the region of 6,000 registered clubs within the UK, of which a high percentage of these will look to source overseas players each year.
That's where a good agency comes in. Reputable agencies like CricX are built on an understanding of the various leagues and what level of player is best suited for them. Mismatches are bad for clubs and players so experienced agents are invaluable to the process.
There is a noticeable difference between countries in terms of ability. It's widely regarded in the industry that 1st Grade Cricketers from Australia perform at the level (and sometimes beyond) a first class cricketer from other countries. In general, UK clubs look to New Zealand, South Africa or Australia for players. This means no communication barriers and more potential for coaching, which is a key aspect to consider when choosing a player.
A good overseas coach can make a huge difference to a clubs future generation and give some tips to current players, pushing up standards long after the player has returned home.
Asian players are also a good option as they have traditionally performed very well at league level.
Why go with an overseas player?
Some people say the increase in overseas talent is lowering standards of English players as they have less chance to play. Will an overseas player fit at your club?
Steven certainly thinks so.
He is a strong advocate for overseas players when used in the right capacity. Players need to both perform on the field and can aid the club in a coaching capacity. According to Steven, having an overseas player not only provides a figurehead within the club, but can also develop and extend the talent. Playing alongside and against quality overseas players not only raises local players games, but it's a chance to pit themselves against the best from abroad.
It provides an opportunity for club mates to learn from the success of the overseas players and opposition can appreciate how good it is to play against them. Without them the standard would be well below what it is today.
Many disagree though, citing players who are so good they score all the runs and take all the wickets every week meaning younger, local talent misses out.
This clearly highlights to me the importance of the right overseas player rather than the one who does best on the pitch.
That said, there is clearly a great demand for players both in the UK and around the world in the southern hemisphere summer. If your club needs a player then don't leave it to chance. Get a good agency on the case.
If you are a player or club looking for an agency register your interest online at www.cricx.com for a response within 24 hours. Alternatively you can email Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01293 822 266 (Office) and 07809 432 237 (Mobile).
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