South African Coenie Nel is settling into life at Sale Cricket Club

Sale cricketer Coenie Nel is enjoying a good start to the season after coming over from South Africa.
Sale cricketer Coenie Nel is enjoying a good start to the season after coming over from South Africa.

COENIE Nel is settling into life at Sale Cricket Club, after making the long trip over from South Africa.

The all-rounder is in Australia for the second time, after playing in the Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh last season.

Hailing from just outside Cape Town, Nel said he was grateful to Sale Cricket Club for the opportunity to play this season.

"The agency made contact with me and sent my summary and cricket CV in and luckily enough Sale saw my name and dug some info out and were happy to offer me a contract for the summer," he said.

"There's some nice people that I've met in the first couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to spending my time here."

In comparing conditions between the two countries, Nel said there was no huge differences, as the South African and Australian summers run at the same time and in roughly the same climate.

"I would say it's more or less the same, the pitches over here just stay a bit harder and truer for longer and dry up quicker," he said.

"Back home some of the pitches just do a bit more with the new ball.

"I notice batsmen go pretty hard at the ball over here as well which I'm used to seeing."

As well as Australia, Nel has also played in the UK, with stints in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and recommended the experience for anyone looking to test themselves.

"The UK is always an option, if any Sale-Maffra players would like to broaden their cricket knowledge and get to know the game a bit better I would strongly suggest going to play a season in the UK because you learn so much about cricket and a lot about yourself," he said.

"Conditions are a lot different to what you're used to in Australia, pitches are much greener and slower and there's lots of rain around.

"The ball really does hoop as much as everyone says, not only in the air but off the pitch as well, so it's a big adjustment coming from conditions where it's batsman friendly."

With Sale currently undefeated and on top of the SMCA ladder, Nel said the 2019-20 campaign was off to a promising start.

"You can't ask for a better beginning to the season. Who knows what this season holds, it's still early days so lots can happen till the end of the season," he said.

"Sale-Maffra cricket is a really good standard, it's a good competition, nice and challenging."

Nel has also began the season in good form individually, currently averaging 44.5 with the bat and is equal third on the SMCA bowling aggregate leaders.