Warwickshire professional contract dream put on hold but Alex Oxley looking to kick on with Suffolk and Copdock & Old Ipswichian for remainder of season
Former Culford School student Alex Oxley is looking to make up for lost time as cricket starts to return, writes Nick Garnham.
The 19-year-old Suffolk opening batsman’s career has been put on hold due to Covid-19, preventing him from pushing for a professional contract with Warwickshire.
Oxley, who is a member of the first-class county’s academy, spent from October until early March in Australia at the renowned Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide.
The player who has had spells representing both Woolpit and Bury St Edmunds was among a group of 20 players from all over the world based at the academy named after the former Australian batsman and national coach.
Oxley said players spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday working on their batting, Thursday working on their fielding and Friday recovering before playing on Saturday.
He played A-Grade cricket for Adelaide CC alongside Cameron Valente, who was overseas player last season at Oxley’s East Anglian Premier League club Copdock & Old Ipswichian CC.
Oxley, who met up with members of the Suffolk squad for a training session at Copdock on Monday, said: “I did okay but it is tough cricket in a different environment, getting used to different coaches and players.
“I would have liked to have done a bit better, but it was a great learning experience and I am already looking forward to going out again later this year.
“When I got back here I wanted to hit the ground running, but that didn’t happen as we went into lockdown and everything came to an abrupt halt.
“It was especially annoying and frustrating having worked on my skills to try and improve and then take that into my cricket here and not having the chance to do that. But it is what it is and you can’t control what has happened.”
He is hoping to play some academy and 2nd XI matches with Warwickshire this season, but that will depend on what restrictions may remain as cricket returns.
Oxley is in the second year of his academy contract, but that will finish in September and he will then be too old to be offered another academy deal.
Next season he will have to play as a triallist to try to prove he is worth a full-time professional contract, whether that is with Warwickshire or elsewhere.
Oxley, who is expected to play for Copdock & OI and Suffolk, fixtures permitting, when not required by Warwickshire this season will return to the Darren Lehmann Academy later this year.
“I will go away again and work on improving my skills even more so that hopefully I can get a few trials next season. It will obviously help that I have been in the academy at Warwickshire and being around the coaches and players.”
In 2017, when playing for Woolpit, Oxley became Suffolk’s youngest player since the Second World War when he made his debut in the Unicorns Championship match at Northumberland in June 2017.
He was just 16 years and 60 days old on the opening day of the match.
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