Dearden: "There's a lot of positivity"

Leicestershire CCC batsman Harry Dearden relished the chance to spend the winter abroad as he prepared for a first full season as a professional cricketer.

The 20-year-old, who signed a contract with the club ahead of the 2017 campaign, has spent time in warmer climates in both Australia and Spain.

Dearden has worked hard on his game and learnt more about life in general as he spent time away from home.

The left-handed batsman feels that he has come back a stronger cricketer for his experiences, something that will stand him in good stead ahead of a busy summer at the Fischer County Ground. 

He said: "I've been in Melbourne for five months playing for Greenvale as well as spending nine days in Spain with the Tom Maynard Academy, so it has been a good winter for me.

"I learnt a lot about my cricket again, it was my second year back at Greenvale so it was good to catch up with friends and play a good standard of cricket again. Melbourne is one of my favourite places in the world so it was good to go back.

"We played 8 one-day games, 4 T20s and 6 two-day games, which was good. I have never played much T20 cricket so it was nice to play the format at such a high standard of cricket. Being from England, I naturally got a bit of stick and it was tough, which was exactly what I wanted.

“I opened in the longer forms and then batted at number four in the T20s. That gave me the chance to formulate a different gameplan and gave me a different perspective on things.

"I had a better season in the first year in all honesty, and thought I should have done a bit better this year in terms of performance, but it was all part of my learning experience and I feel that I have improved. Coming back as a better cricketer was the main aim.”

The Bury-born Dearden first arrived at the Fischer County Ground in the early part of the 2016 season, where he played for the Second XI while on trial with the club. The southpaw impressed enough to be given a second opportunity later in the year and took it with both hands, earning himself the opportunity to play in two first-class games.

Those came at the end of the season against Derbyshire and Glamorgan and were both dramatic affairs, with the two results not confirmed until the dying embers.

Dearden had little time to think about what was happening given everything moved at breakneck speed in August and September, but in reflection realises that an important breakthrough was made in his career.

He said: "I really enjoyed my time here trialing, I got to know some of the Second XI lads really well, and then I trialed for six weeks at Hampshire.

“I got asked to come back to play in the Trophy semi-final at Taunton, we then had an intra-squad game immediately before getting the nod to make my first-class debut, so it all happened really quickly. I didn’t have too much time to think about it.

"The Derbyshire game could have gone any of four ways going into the final session and the Glamorgan game was crazy, to win after being bowled out in the first session was amazing.

"To win like we did, with Clint (McKay) and Shrecky (Charlie Shreck) bowling so well after lunch on day three, was incredible and it gave us all a real buzz and some momentum to take into this season.

"To start this season with Nottinghamshire is an exciting challenge and there is a lot of positivity around the place. Everyone is excited about that first Specsavers County Championship game and wants to be part of the squad.

"I still remember the ball going high up into the air and thinking 'I can't drop this' and to be fair it was a pretty easy catch by professional standards, but it was a nervous moment because had it gone down, (Will) Bragg could have won the game for them with only a few runs to get.

“It was an incredible feeling to take the catch and then the celebrations will live long in the memory. Looking back, it was great to get the opportunity to play in those games and it has given me the appetite to play in more.”

Don’t miss a ball during the 2017 season! Leicestershire CCC’s Membership packages are on sale through the club’s website HERE, or alternatively you can call 0116 283 2128.