December 7, 2022

From the Peninsula to Prime Time – The Rapid Rise of Cockbain

By Marcus Uhe

As the Adelaide Strikers knocked down their goal of 162 against the Sydney Sixers in their Monday Big Bash League game, social media was on fire: who is Ian Cockbain?

The UK’s Gloucestershire left-hander batted 71 from 42 deliveries with five fours and four sixes after coming into the crease at 1-45 late in the fourth, guiding the Strikers to a dominating victory by eight wickets and a man winner. – the honors of the match.

While the wider cricketing community may have been unaware of his talents, Melbourne’s grassroots circles have grown accustomed to the Englishman, who made a habit of spending his English winters in Australia playing in cricket as an overseas professional for a number of Melbourne cricket clubs, including Buckley Ridges in the Dandenong District Cricket Association and Langwarrin in the Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association.

On Friday, January 14, he added another club to that list, but this time found himself in the middle of the Adelaide Ring batting three for the Strikers.

And he’s made his presence felt – his new club has three wins in three matches since joining the team and he’s averaged 123 with the bat, with a practical strike rate of 148.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest,” he said.

Cockbain was on vacation in Adelaide with his wife Amy and son Leo when his good friend and Strikers team-mate Daniel Worrall informed him that he had suggested Cockburn as a potential call-up as the team battled Covid-19 and delivered players to international duty.

The 34-year-old has established a reputation over the past decade as a dashing middle-order batsman in English county cricket and was an inaugural member of Welsh Fire in the inaugural Hundred Contest in 2021.

“Things kind of fell into place, and then I got a phone call a few days later saying I was going to join the team,” Cockbain said.

He returned to Melbourne to meet the Strikers who were in town to face the Melbourne Stars, before following them to Queensland for their match against the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday January 12.

Facing a critical three-game span in four days, head coach Jason Gillespie and Strikers management moved quickly to sign Cockbain after their big win over the Heat to prepare him for the clash against Perth, as they were fighting for the Jason Gillespie Trophy. .

Cockbain signed his contract on Thursday January 13 before donning blue for the first time the following morning to face the Scorchers.

Chasing 128, he came into the crease at 1/22 with a mandate to provide stability and control the middlemen.

As wickets fell around him, a problem that had plagued the Strikers and was cited as a reason for Cockbain’s recruitment, he kept a cool head to finish with 35 steps on 24 deliveries, taking the winners with glorious coverage Upside down. the infield for four.

The setting provided an element of serendipity for Cockbain; his wife is from Church Town and he played club cricket for East Torrens District Cricket Club in West Adelaide.

“I used to joke with the guys that Adelaide was a bit like home,” Cockbain said.

“I have already spent three seasons here and Adelaide will always hold a special place in my heart, my wife being from here.

“Being straight there and being there at the end, seeing the guys at home, that was awesome.”

The following day he backed it up with a run-a-ball 17 against the Melbourne Stars, where he clashed with former East Torrens team-mate and Australian leg spinner Adam Zampa, a key member of the recent Australian victory in the T20 World Cup. team.

He was frustrated going out the way he did, bewildered going down the wicket and not picking the wrong one as he overshot his outside edge, but that didn’t matter as the Strikers took a 23-run win.

While rotating for the Strikers, Cockbain was forced to temporarily give up his commitments to Langwarrin, missing their clash with Sorrento last weekend.

And having been signed for the remainder of the Big Bash season, his availability for upcoming matches against Baden Powell and Long Island is in jeopardy.

He said it wasn’t an easy phone call to have with his coach, Matt Prosser, but they were thrilled to see him selected for higher honours.

“Everyone at the club was super happy that I landed the Strikers gig and they’re all behind me,” Cockbain said.

“They couldn’t have been more accommodating to my wife and baby boy too, they looked after us so well.”

This is Cockbain’s first season at Langwarrin after leaving Buckley Ridges in the offseason.

He had a great 2020/21 season for Buckley Ridges, averaging 42 in seven innings with a high score of 95 not knocked out against Springvale South, and ranked in the top 20 in votes for the Alan Medal Wookey, awarded to the player who received the most referee votes throughout the season.

Monday’s win over the Sixers secured another Finals birth for the Strikers, but their final position on the standings will be determined by the results of Wednesday’s remaining matches.