Delray Rawlins might not be one of the most instantly recognisable names on the MCC teamsheet for the Champion County match against Essex next week, but the all-rounder who hails from Bermuda is making plenty of waves across the globe as his promising career continues.
The 20 year-old highly-rated Sussex starlet, who will play for MCC for the first time under the floodlights at the Kensington Oval next week, is aiming to push for further first-team honours at Hove this summer, after playing a handful of matches last season and working with the England Lions earlier this winter.
Rawlins made his debut for Bermuda’s senior team in 2013 aged only 15 and starred for them in the ICC World Cricket League, before going on to earn a scholarship at St Bede’s College in Eastbourne.
Whilst completing his education, Rawlins played for both Sussex’s Second XI and Eastbourne CC in the Sussex Premier League, combining left-arm spin with his top-order batting to go on to sign a first professional contract at Hove in November 2016.
In early 2017, he really came to the fore as he toured India with England Under-19’s, scoring 586 runs in eight matches, averaging 73.25. His education in Sussex, coupled with his British passport due to Bermuda’s relationship with the UK, ensures he is eligible for England and he has set his sights on full international honours.
His form last year saw him seal not only a contract extension with Sussex, but a taster of the Specsavers County Championship, playing four matches. However, Rawlins is hoping that selection for MCC will give him the platform for Sussex, and new Head Coach Jason Gillespie, to take notice.
“It’s a really exciting time for me, especially to have the chance to put in a performance before the season really starts.” said Rawlins, who is currently in Barbados representing 'South' in the North vs South series.
“I’m hoping to put my name in the hat for selection with Sussex, but also to learn off the guys in the MCC team and to have the experience of playing a pink ball game again. I actually played in the pink ball round of matches in England last summer against Gloucestershire. It will be nice to experience that again.
It’s a really exciting time for me especially to have the chance to put in a performance before the season really starts
“It’s a young and exciting team, but there’s also those older guys who have been around the international scene and I’ll be looking to learn as much as I can off them.”
Rawlins will join up with MCC after featuring in the ECB’s North-South Series, as will a number of other members of the team. The sides are playing three 50-over matches against each other.
“It should be an exciting series. It’s about learning and trying and put my name forward with the selectors and coaches for years to come, and hopefully I’ll put in a couple of decent performances.
“I’ve been learning a lot this winter, how I prepare and how I go about things. I talk to Michael Yardy (Sussex’s batting coach) quite a lot and keep in contact to help me when it comes to a game.”
Australian legend Gillespie will be embarking on his first season in charge at Hove and Rawlins is relishing the chance to work with the former paceman.
“Just seeing what he’s done with the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash, and his record back in England, it’s exciting to see what happens with the good squad we’ve got. I’m really looking forward to it.
“It would be nice to impress him in what is a big fixture against Essex. Obviously they won the competition last year and to do well for MCC would stand me in good stead.
“I feel good to have had a bit of a look at what county cricket is about in my first full season. Hopefully I can feature in all three formats and help the club move in the right direction.”