Ben McCord

Ben McCord

Ben McCord is not coming back to the South Canterbury cricket team for himself, or his batting and bowling averages, he is coming back to win.

The 24-year-old all-rounder will end a seven-year hiatus from the senior team, when he returns to play against North Otago in the opening two-day match of the Hawke Cup campaign, in Oamaru, on Saturday.

A medium-fast bowler, who can bowl about 130kmh, and a handy middle-order batsman, McCord said he was keen to play a part in giving South Canterbury a winning culture.

“I just want to win,” he said. “Sometimes you can get caught up wanting to chase your own statistics and that can sometimes be a detriment to the outcome for the team.

“That’s what I’m all about – winning – and if I can help [South Canterbury] achieve wins, then that would be great.”

McCord, who plays for the Marist-Harewood senior side in Christchurch, said he was approached by South Canterbury coach Bruce Carlaw about playing Hawke Cup cricket under the player of origin rule.

“I never thought I’d get out of club cricket here, because when [Canterbury representative] Willie Lonsdale is away, I’m usually the captain.

“I spoke to [coach] Lance Cairns and surprisingly he thought it was a good idea.

“I’m hoping to be available for the rest of the [Hawke Cup] season, if we can keep a reasonably strong club side together, then I should be available.”

McCord has spent his recent New Zealand winters in Ireland, chasing an Irish national team callup, while his summers have been spent on the cusp of a Canterbury Wizards debut.

Despite his lofty goals, the former Timaru Boys’ High School student said he did not see a return to South Canterbury as a step back. “I’m not expecting an easy time. I’m not going in to it thinking I’m going to take five-wicket bags and score centuries, I’m expecting some long periods in the field.”

He said the chance to bowl long spells was exciting.

In naming his squad for the match on Saturday, Carlaw said he saw McCord as someone who could be a strong medium-fast bowling option and someone who could also score runs in the middle order.

McCord said he would train with the team for the first time tomorrow, and was willing to be considered as a new-ball option if needed. He had two of his previous TBHS captains in Jeremy Liddy and Mark Tutton as familiar faces in the squad, while he had also played with Craig Davies, he said.

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