At 34 years old and raising a young family between two countries, Ian Cockbain may have thought his dream of playing T20 cricket around the world was slipping away.
Despite a ten-year career in the English T20 league and being picked up by the Welsh Fire in the new eight-team 100 tournament last year, Cockbain has yet to play in an overseas competition.
That was until two weeks ago when he got a call from his Gloucestershire mate, South Australian navigator Daniel Worrall.
It was then, midway through KFC BBL|11, where all eight teams were littered with positive COVID cases, that the Adelaide Strikers plucked Cockbain from a synthetic wicket club cricket in the southeastern Melbourne suburbs.
The righthander had scored 196 runs in seven innings for Langwarrin in the Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association before being named to the Strikers-squad on January 14 to face the Perth Scorchers.
But his remarkable elevation to the highest level of Australian domestic cricket will come as no surprise to those back home in England.
Cockbain has played 57 first-class appearances for Gloucestershire in the last decade with a top score of 151 not out, while having an average of 34.15 and a strike rate of 132.05 in T20 cricket.
And he’s being taken to the Big Bash like the veteran campaigner that he is, with scores of 17, 35 no out and 71 no out in his three matches to help a resurgent Adelaide qualify for the BBL|11 finals.
“I was in Adelaide on holiday with my (Australian) wife and little boy to catch up with some people I played with a few years ago and ‘Franky’ Worrall just messaged me,” Cockbain told cricket.com .ouch.
“He said to me, ‘some of our batters are out, do you think you’d like to get your name in the mix?’
“I was like ‘absolutely’. He threw my name in the hat and I got a call a few days later and everything fell into place.
“I should probably buy Franky a beer.”
In a “weird coincidence”, Cockbain also signed his second overseas T20 deal on the same day, picked up by Pakistani Super League team Karachi Kings as a replacement for injured compatriot and Brisbane Heat importer, Tom Abell.
Cockbain said it was “hugely satisfying” to get into the Strikers team and make an immediate impact, and that it would be a huge boost to his profile as a T20 cricketer.
“I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door in an overseas competition for years,” he said.
“I’ve never played for England, I’ve never been on a Lions tour, so my profile as a player doesn’t really appeal to foreign teams.
“My record speaks for itself, but in terms of profile, of a name, that’s what held me back, I think.
“To get my name out there and do well on the big stage, hopefully a few more competitions will get going in the coming years.
“I’ve been doing it at home for a number of years now and to finally get the chance here to show what I can do and what I’ve been doing at home for the last few years, it’s really nice.”
Cockbain is no stranger to Australian conditions, having played cricket in Melbourne and Adelaide for 10 of the past 14 summers.
He met his Australian wife when he played for Premier cricket club East Torrens in Adelaide eight years ago and with their 18-month-old son they chase the sun by spending six months a year in England and the other six in Australia.
“It was initially to get away from the winter at home and not get harassed by the S&C (strength and conditioning coaches) in the pre-season,” Cockbain said when asked why he first chose to work in Australia. to play.
“Now that my wife is Australian it’s a double whammy. It’s a good idea to come here now for the (English) winters, it gives her a chance to catch up with her family and spend some time with them .”
Despite the immediate success, Cockbain will have to wait to see if he keeps his place in the Strikers side for Friday night’s Eliminator final against the Hobart Hurricanes in the MCG, given the return of Test stars Travis Head and Alex Carey.
“Obviously it’s up to the coaches to decide what they think is best. I would love it if I could keep my spot and play alongside those guys,” Cockbain said.
“They are two class players and I will want to learn from those guys.”