When Delray Rawlins left Sussex for his ECB Overseas Placement in Sydney last autumn, it is fair to say he could not have envisaged winning an individual award at the SCG.
But like Mason Crane in his Placement with Gordon last summer, the Bermuda-born all-rounder has made an impact well beyond his club team, Sydney CC.
And now his winter is set to take him much closer to his roots, after his selection in the South squad to defend the North-South Series in Barbados in March.
Rawlins, who excelled for England Under-19s on their tour of India last winter, was named man of the match as Sydney won the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup just before Christmas – beating a Penrith team that included Sam Billings in the final.
“I’ve really been enjoying it out here, and that was definitely a highlight,” said Rawlins, who top-scored with 57 from 42 balls, after taking two for 21 in Sydney’s semi-final win over Sutherland earlier in the day.
“To play at the SCG was a good feeling, walking out at such an iconic cricket ground. And then for us to win the trophy was a big win for the club.”
“I've really been enjoying it out here. To play at the SCG was a good feeling, walking out at such an iconic cricket ground.”
Rawlins has also been contributing consistently for Sydney in the New South Wales Premier Cricket competition, where fixtures are played over consecutive Saturdays.
And like Crane last winter, he has also relished the opportunity to work with Stuart MacGill as part of the ECB Placement – as the former Australia leg-spinner’s nous converts comfortably to Rawlins’ own slow-left-arm.
“I’ve worked with Stu on my bowling for a couple of months now and he’s been brilliant actually,” added the 20-year-old.
“Understanding spin bowling is the same no matter what sort of spinner you are. He has taught me a lot about the tactics and things like that.”
Rawlins, who made his senior debut for Sussex last April and hit 41 in a List A game against the touring South Africans as well as scoring two half-centuries in five first-class appearances, now has a perfect platform to showcase his development in the North-South Series.
He has been selected in the South squad alongside his young Sussex team-mate George Garton, meaning both will have the chance to impress coaches Andy Flower and Mark Ramprakash – with whom Rawlins struck up a good relationship on the England Under-19s tour of India last winter.
“It was a really nice surprise to get the call for North-South,” he said.
“I kept up with the series last year and the South smashed it. It would be good to carry that on this year, but the North have got some good players.
“For me, it’s going to be great to be involved.
“I know Barbados pretty well and I’ve trained at the Kensington Oval but I’ve never played there, so that will be good as well. I’m looking forward to it.”
But before that he is determined to make the most of his remaining two months in Sydney – with the added bonus of a close-up view of his Sussex team-mates Tymal Mills and Jofra Archer, who are currently playing for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash.
“We’re all in regular contact and I texted Jofra the other day before their game against Brisbane, when he took that great catch,” added Rawlins.
“Me and him are close – he’s going really well.”
Rawlins is one of three young spinners working with MacGill in Sydney on ECB Placements this winter, alongside leg-spinners Matt Parkinson of Lancashire and Derbyshire’s Matthew Critchley.
Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Ollie Pope is also in Sydney, off-spinners Matthew Salter and Brad Taylor are working with Jeetan Patel in Wellington, and batsmen Max Holden and George Bartlett are playing in Perth.
ECB Overseas Placements
George Bartlett (Somerset)
Max Holden (Middlesex)
Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire)
Matt Critchley (Derbyshire)
Delray Rawlins (Sussex)
Ollie Pope (Surrey)
Andrew Salter (Glamorgan)
Brad Taylor (Hampshire)