Two young Otago players bound for Middlesex county league

Don't break them.

Two of Otago’s brightest young cricketers will spend the off-season in England honing their skills.

Left arm spinner Ben Lockrose and all-rounder Beckham Wheeler-Greenall leave for the United Kingdom today.

They will play for Hamstead Cricket Club in the premier league of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Both players have represented New Zealand at under-19 level and Lockrose has played four games for Otago (two T20s, a first-class and list A game).

The 21-year-old has not suited up for Otago since December 2018. But he remains in the wider training squad and was the leading wicket-taker (16 wickets at 26.25) for Otago A this season.

"It will be just cool to do a winter of cricket and play instead of being in cold Dunedin," Lockrose said.

"And hopefully I’ll come back with a few more skills and try to push my case a little bit more."

Lockrose’s way in to the Otago team is blocked at the moment. Spinners Michael Rippon and Anaru Kitchen both bat in the top six in the first-class side, so making room for Lockrose would involve tinkering with the mix too much.

But despite the immediate pathway looking clogged, Lockrose has not considered trying his luck with another association.

"I’m a local so I’ll stay here," he said.

"It is up to me to improve my skills and raise them up to the standard of the likes of Anaru [Kitchen] and Michael [Rippon]. Their batting is significantly better than mine.

"But that is cool because it shows me where the standard is and the direction I need to head.

"I’ve just got to keep doing the work behind the scenes and trust that the rewards will come."

Lockrose was born in the United Kingdom but shifted out to New Zealand when he was 5.

"New Zealand is definitely home for me but I have family over there so it will be cool to make acquaintance with them again."

Wheeler-Greenall (18) was one of the stars for New Zealand at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa early last year.

He struck an unbeaten 75 from 83 deliveries in a losing effort in the semifinal against Bangladesh.

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