Moin Ashraf has joined Yorkshire’s winter exodus to the Southern Hemisphere in an attempt to start the new season strongly and become an established first team player.
The 22-year-old seamer from Bradford has added his name to the long list of other Yorkshire players who are supplementing their pre-season training by playing overseas this winter to try and boost their chances of success this summer.
As competition hots up to make the starting line-up for Yorkshire’s opening match in Division One of the Championship, starting at Taunton on the 13th April, Ashraf has responded to the challenge of breaking into that side by agreeing to his longest ever stint away from England, with six weeks playing cricket in Australia.
He has called on the contacts of Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who has helped fix him up with cricket at East Torrens District CC in the Adelaide suburbs.
The Yorkshire bowler hopes his time in a new country will help him start the season strongly and force his way back into Yorkshire’s championship side having played only one match in Division One last summer.
“I’ve never been abroad for that period of time in pre-season before and I’m looking forward to getting some cricket, getting stronger out there by doing my gym work and just having a change of scenery – it will be very competitive cricket out there,” he explained.
“I was looking to play cricket overseas in Australia and my initial thought was maybe the Darren Lehmann Academy, but East Torrens came in and were happy to take me on and I’m looking forward to playing competitive cricket.”
Yorkshire seemed particularly keen for their young bowler to take advantage of the opportunity after struggling in recent years to begin new seasons strongly.
Although a consistent member of Yorkshire’s youthful YB40 line-up last summer, Ashraf’s only taste of Championship action was the drawn match against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough in June.
“I’m honest to admit that I’ve been a notoriously slow starter in previous seasons because I haven’t actually started in the team in the last two or three seasons and when I have had good seasons, I’ve come into the team mid-way through the summer,” he added.
“I’m hoping that the six weeks I spend in Adelaide and a further two weeks in Sri Lanka with the Yorkshire squad in pre-season will help me start strongly.
“It’s going to be a challenge in the heat and the conditions and tough cricket but I’m excited for the challenge and I think it will help my cricket massively.”