McLaren kick starts new season with brief county stint

Sunfoil Dolphins all-rounder Ryan McLaren is looking forward to a busy month on the English county cricket circuit ahead of the upcoming South African domestic season after signing a one month deal with Hampshire County Cricket Club.

Having missed out on national selection for the ICC Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and Australia and not been given a chance during the recent tour to Bangladesh, McLaren has shifted his focus to his upcoming English stint that will see him in action from 1 September where he replaces Australia’s Jackson Bird in Hampshire’s squad.

“I’m just looking forward to playing some cricket!” explained McLaren. “I enjoyed my time on the English country circuit previously (with Kent and Middlesex) and I’m sure it will be another great experience even though it is a pretty short trip.”

“Ryan is an all-rounder and an exciting cricketer. He has four games to help us avoid relegation and hopefully he can have an influence,” added Hampshire coach Giles White.

In nearly 500 domestic and international matches across all three formats McLaren has notches up 8436 runs and taken 784 wickets, proving his worth in both departments while his fielding, experience and leadership makes him the complete package.

The man from Bloemfontein joined the Sunfoil Dolphins ahead of the 2014/15 season and despite limited opportunity due to national commitment and an unfortunate hamstring injury, the bowling all-rounder still left his mark on the franchise, particularly over the busy festive season.

An unbeaten 121 against the Chevrolet Warriors in Pietermaritzburg shortly before Christmas to rescue his side and secure a draw was immediately followed up with an equally impressive knock off 126* against The Unlimited Titans at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead between Christmas and New Year that saw the Dolphins to victory by an innings and 54 runs.

Having not been included in the Proteas mix for the current New Zealand series in South Africa and unlikely to receive a call-up for the Indian tour that follows, McLaren hopes his upcoming time in England will help him contribute greatly to the Dolphins cause during the 2015/16 domestic season, particularly in the Momentum One Day Cup and RAM Slam T20 campaigns.