Mott puts in good word for Dutch
The outstanding bowler in this year’s Clydesdale Bank 40 is a little-known Australian who had not played a senior match before his Netherlands debut.
Shane Mott, a 26-year-old left-arm seamer and useful middle-order batsman, had signed to play for Bangor in the North Wales Premier League when his agent contacted him about representing the Dutch in the CB40.
He jumped at the opportunity and has not looked back, taking 21 wickets in nine matches. That made him the competition’s leading wicket-taker, an accolade injury denied him the chance to claim outright as Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid drew level on Sunday, albeit from two more matches.
Mott’s season was ended when he suffered a broken leg and ankle playing for Bangor on Saturday, the day before the Netherlands’ last group game against Worcestershire.
“It had been raining on and off all day and I basically just slipped and my ankle went underneath me and I sort of crashed down on it,” he told ecb.co.uk from hospital.
Without Mott, the Dutch won their fifth game, four more than last year, lifting them to third in Group A. Although that will not be enough to reach the semi-finals, it vindicates the Netherlands’ participation in the CB40.
Mott, who believes the team has a different mindset to last season, said: “This year we came into games expecting to win, whereas from what a few of the players had said in the past that hasn’t been the case. I know for sure they would have turned up to Worcester expecting to win that match.”
Mott is an example of the Netherlands’ resourcefulness, mixing experienced international campaigners with the likes of fellow Australian Michael Swart, who qualifies as a non-overseas player, therefore allowing Mott to feature in the same team.
Although Mott was the leading wicket-taker in Sydney first grade cricket last winter with 57 scalps for Hawkesbury, the Dutch took a gamble by signing him on the eve of their CB40 campaign.
Indeed, Mott met his new team-mates for the first time on the morning of their opening fixture versus last year’s semi-finalists Yorkshire at Headingley Carnegie.
“I was a bit unsure how well I would fit in, coming into a side the morning of their first match,” he revealed.
“Obviously they’d had training and everything like that and you come in as an outsider; you worry how you are going to fit in. But full credit to all the guys - they made me feel welcome from the first morning I met them.”
He made a positive first impression, scoring 50 not out from 47 balls at number eight to lift the visitors from 112 for seven to 190 for eight.
That soon became a competitive total when Mott, taking the new ball, had Adam Lyth caught and bowled in his second over before Yorkshire slumped to 27 for five.
The hosts recovered to require 19 from the last over, with one wicket left, and four from the final ball, but the Netherlands prevailed by two runs.
“It was a highlight from my batting perspective and because it was my debut,” Mott explained. “We had the game at the end and all of a sudden they had it and we clutched it back in the last ball.”
Mott could not match that innings, although he was thrice unbeaten in his other five, but starred with the ball at Derbyshire where the Dutch made it two wins in as many days.
Having recorded a duck in his side’s 204 for six, he responded with an outstanding opening spell of 3-16 in six overs to set up a 13-run victory.
“In my first spell I took three pretty early wickets, which put us in front a little bit in that game, so that one sticks out,” he recalled.
Mott’s new side almost made it three from three, but fell one short of Middlesex’s daunting 286 at Lord’s. Following losses at Sussex and in the return match against Middlesex, Mott starred with 4-29 in a tie versus Derbyshire at Deventer and 3-27 in a Duckworth/Lewis win over Kent in Rotterdam.
He demonstrated his economy with 2-18 from eight overs as the Dutch did the double over Yorkshire in Amstelveen and picked up three more wickets in defeat to Kent at Canterbury, which proved to be the end of his CB40 campaign.
Although disappointed his season ended prematurely, Mott, who believes his left-arm action troubles many right-handed batsmen, is happy with his returns for the Netherlands and 45 wickets for Bangor.
“I didn’t go in with any particular expectations. I just decided I’d try and enjoy it from game one, obviously do my best, and whatever came of it came of it. Looking back now I’m really pleased the way I performed,” he said.
“I try and swing the ball back into the right-hand batsman. I think that gives you an advantage when you’re bowling over the wicket - just bringing different modes of dismissal into play.”
Mott had previous experience of playing in the United Kingdom, having represented Scholes in the Huddersfield Premier League during 2009 and Terenure in Ireland’s Leinster League last year.
In contrast to many who argue modern-day professionals play too much, the amateur says he has benefited from consecutive seasons in Europe and Australia.
“I’ve found it’s helped me over the past few seasons just continually playing and continually being able to test myself and develop your skills in new conditions,” he said.
Mott, who has played second XI cricket for New South Wales and had a trial for Victoria, thinks balancing commitments for Bangor and the Netherlands has given him a taste of the UK game.
“It’s been quite hectic because sometimes I’d play for Bangor on the Saturday, get to the airport on Saturday night and get to Holland on the Sunday,” he explained.
“It’s something I’ve enjoyed and it’s certainly given me an insight into how some of the other counties might have a four-dayer and then a one-dayer straight after, and a lot of travel in between.
“It’s given me more experience playing more back-to-back days. Back home in Australia I’ve only played a couple of four-dayers in second XI cricket.”
The secondary school biology teacher, who refused to rule out playing for the Dutch in next year’s CB40, has heeded lessons from his CB40 appearances.
“I’ve tended to bowl most of the overs in the powerplays, just learning where to bowl how to bowl, just trying different strategies,” he concluded. “That’s been really beneficial and that’s something that I’ll take home with me.”