Rawlins: playing for Bermuda is special
Delray Rawlins has ruled himself out of Bermuda’s next two international tournaments in the next four months, but has not dismissed the possibility of playing for his country again.
Rawlins has made it no secret that he has aspirations of playing for England in Test cricket. The England and Wales Cricket Board already has the talented Sussex all-rounder on its radar, picking him for the Under-19 tour to India this year and recently sending him to Australia to play for Sydney Cricket Club as part of its International Pathway programme.
Rawlins, back home during a Christmas break from league cricket Down Under, was welcomed at the Bermuda Cricket Board office yesterday by new president Lloyd Smith, who gave the 20-year-old encouragement before his return to Australia in time for the resumption of matches on January 6. The season in Australia will finish in early March, after which he will return to England to begin preseason training with Sussex.
With Bermuda competing in the Americas Twenty20 subregional qualifiers in Argentina in February and the World Cricket League Division Four Tournament in Malaysia in late April, Rawlins has ruled himself out, as he will be ending one season and getting ready to start another when he returns to England.
Rawlins helped his club to win the Kingsgrove Sports Twenty20 final last weekend when they beat Penrith by 36 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the venue for the fifth Ashes Test match between Australia and England, which starts on January 4.
“As Mr Smith said, the timing of both tours are not ideal for myself, the main reason why I probably won’t be involved in any of them,” Rawlins added. “But any chance you get to play for your country is quite special.
“I just want to say thank you to the Bermuda public, the Bermuda Cricket Board and everyone who has supported me. I feel the love when I’m overseas and I just want to continue to make my family proud as well as everyone here at the cricket board.
“I leave here in the new year, have a couple of days to go to the Sydney Test match and chill out for a bit and then go back into it on the weekend of January 6.
“I will continue to work on my game so that I can go back into the English summer with some confidence. Hopefully the boys can pull off victories in the next couple of Tests.”
Although Bermuda could eventually lose out on Rawlins’s talents, Smith insists that the BCB is completely supportive of him in his cricketing endeavours.
“I just want to congratulate you on behalf of Bermuda’s cricket fraternity,” Smith told Rawlins. “We’re so proud that you’re doing well down there in Australia, as one of the eight players selected by the England Cricket Board on their International Pathway placement. The Bermuda Cricket Board is proud of you and we are keeping an eye on you, hoping that you succeed and go as far as you can go in your professional career.
“I want to make it clear that the Bermuda Cricket Board is completely behind Delray in his professional career, and behind him in any way possible in helping him fulfil his dream.”
Rawlins made the long trek from Australia, returning home on Monday night to surprise his father Millard. His mother and sister were already in on the secret.
“I showed up at the door and he was surprised, he said I got him good,” Rawlins said. “He said that’s the best Christmas present he’s ever got.
“My mom and my sister did know, but nobody else really knew.
“Because we have a Christmas break there are no games. Initially I wasn’t meant to come back and then decided to come back and see family.”
Rawlins will be working under a new head coach at Sussex, after the appointment of Jason Gillespie last month.
Gillespie is a former Australia Test player who also coached Yorkshire to successive county championships in 2014 and 2015. A fast bowler, Gillespie famously scored a double hundred in his final Test match against Bangladesh in 2006.
“It will be quite exciting to work with him, to listen to his theories about how he wants to go about helping the club be successful,” Rawlins said. “He had a stint with Yorkshire when they were quite successful in the County Championship and it is an exciting time for all the players at the club.”
The highlight of Rawlins’s Australian summer was playing at the SCG, one of the world’s most famous Test grounds.
“It was a good day for everyone, some of the boys have probably played there before, but to play at such an iconic venue was quite special for myself,” he said. “I train at the SCG in the nets but have never really been inside the stadium.
“To get the opportunity to walk in and see the history was a very good feeling.”
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