Ashwell Prince encourages international and franchise stars to play club cricket

Ashwell PrinceFile image: Ashwell Prince.

Former South African Test batsman and current Cape Cobras head coach Ashwell Prince has encouraged international and franchise stars to occasionally play club cricket.

Prince represented Gelvandale Cricket Club in Port Elizabeth and Victoria Cricket Club in Cape Town en route to a successful Proteas career.

“I am all for it. I try to encourage it,” Prince told Club Cricket SA.

“There are a lot of club cricketers out there who have aspirations to play at a higher level. There is plenty of learning to be had when playing club cricket alongside franchise and international guys.”

Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn, batsman JP Duminy, all-rounder Vernon Philander and seamer Wayne Parnell have made relatively recent appearances for Western Province Cricket Club, Strandfontein Cricket Club, Tygerberg Cricket Club and Montrose Cricket Club, respectively.

Batsman Temba Bavuma’s commitment to Soweto Pioneers Cricket Club and all-rounder Robbie Frylinck’s Pinetown Cricket Club allegiance are among other leading examples of Proteas cricketers at club level.

“I think back to when I was a youngster, making my way through club cricket, and how I was fortunate enough to have Eldine Baptise from the Caribbean at my club. He was Eastern Province’s overseas player and he was affiliated to Gelvendale Cricket Club,” added Prince.

Baptiste played 10 Tests and 43 ODIs for the West Indies between 1983 and 1990.

“I owe a lot of gratitude to somebody like him, for a lot of things. To be able to have someone of that calibre in the changing room, and being exposed to to what it is like to be a professional cricketer, that was great. You get to see the professionalism and behaviour it takes to get to the top,” concluded Prince.

Proteas veteran Herschelle Gibbs, too, played for Pinelands Cricket Club after international retirement.