Temuka fast bowler Nathan McNicol is used to coasting under the radar, but not for much longer.
The talented left-armer quietly went about his work spear-heading the Temuka senior team’s bowling attack last year, but was hardly rated as a possible South Canterbury call-up.
However, he was noticed by the Canterbury age-group selectors and put in the Canterbury under-18 team, along with Waimate batsman Glen Drake.
Strong performances there have seen him become a regular early-season fixture for the province’s under-20 team which plays in the top grade of Christchurch’s club competition.
The 18-year-old is preparing to bowl against former New Zealand players and current Canterbury Wizards captain Peter Fulton and fellow former New Zealand batsman Shanan Stewart, on Sunday.
“The under-20s [selection] was a bit of a surprise because I didn’t think I’d fit into their frame, but after the first game I felt a lot more confident.
“It’s good to have someone from little, old Temuka moving forward.”
McNicol took 34 wickets in one-day and two-day club cricket in South Canterbury last season at an average of 12 runs per wicket.
He was the fourth highest wicket-taker but was rarely mentioned for a Hawke Cup debut.
McNicol suggested he was a victim of circumstance.
“There were quite a few left-armers last season with [Craig Hinton], Glenn [Mathews] and Tahir [Afridi], so it wasn’t that much of a surprise to be over-looked.”
Temuka are set to have a number of high calibre fast bowling options this season, with McNicol being joined by Tom McKnight, former South Canterbury players Dylan Lees and Les Humphris, South Canterbury stalwart Kevin Teahen and English import Matthew Woods
“I think it’s a good thing for me, it will mean I will be able to bowl without the pressure of being the main wicket-taker.”
McNicol said playing two games of cricket in a weekend would benefit his fitness as much as it would improve his overall game.
He said he was learning how to bowl to plan and for long periods of time under former New Zealand spinner Paul Wiseman while in the age-group setup.