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Journeyman Eskinazi ready to make his mark

Perth Scorchers recruit Stephen Eskinazi is delighted to finally have a chance to represent his adopted home state.

Eskinazi was born in Johannesburg to a Zimbabwean father and an English mother, moving to Perth by way of England and representing WA in under 17 and under 19 cricket before forging a career in county cricket with Middlesex.

The top order batter said he thought his chance to play top level cricket in Australia had passed him by when he left for London a decade ago.

“Quite a remarkable story, really, considering I spent a fair bit of time down at the WACA about 10 or 12 years ago as part of the WA pathway system before using my British passport and heading over to the UK,” Eskinazi told Sports Breakfast.

“My family do live out here in Perth, and it’s a bit of a nicer place to spend the winter months than London at the moment, considering it’s minus four over there.

“An opportunity I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get to represent the state, at the Optus Stadium is very exciting too, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to it, feeling really grateful.”

Eskinazi’s record in the shortest format for the Lord’s based side is strong, averaging 35.54 with a strike rate of 140.34, having made thirteen fifties and one hundred.

“I think one of the benefits of playing in the structure of English domestic cricket is you get to play so much more cricket than anywhere else in the world,” he said.

“I’ve had a diet of T20 and 50 over cricket for the majority of the last ten years, so have a real opportunity to learn your game.

“The style of cricket in the power play really suits my game, I like to hit strong shots at the top of the order and expand as I go … and I’m really looking forward to batting on the fast bouncy pitches like Optus, because I do think having grown up and based my game around West Australian pitches in my formative years, it’s really helped me going into professional cricket.”

The 28 year old is currently representing his old club Claremont-Nedlands in WACA Premier Cricket, with the Tigers currently sitting well clear on top of the ladder having not dropped a game all season.

“We’ve got Matt Kelly and Nick Hobson, we both played under 13’s together and all the way through to colts and first grade, so they’re not just teammates, they’re incredibly close mates,” Eskinazi said.

“It’s actually made the transition into the dressing room incredibly easy, I’ve played against a lot of the guys, I’ve been good friends with a lot of the guys, and the coaching staff of Adam [Voges], who was a captain of mine at Middlesex.

“There’s a real Tigers feeling down there, which has made it incredibly easy to slot in, and I think in my experience, teams that have that sense of cohesion often play the best, so yeah, I’m really excited, I don’t think it could have worked out any better.”

Despite his local connections, Eskinazi is considered an overseas player, and is expected to feature more strongly in selection considerations once fellow imports Faf du Plessis and Adam Lyth depart for South Africa and the UAE respectively halfway through the season.

The defending champion Scorchers kick off their Big Bash League campaign with a grand final rematch against the Sydney Sixers at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

IMAGE: The Cricketer.


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