Worker hitting the ball as well as ever ahead of Auckland debut

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George Worker will swap the greens of Central Districts for Auckland blue this season.

SHANE WENZLICK/PHOTOSPORT

George Worker will swap the greens of Central Districts for Auckland blue this season.

As his new provincial team-mates anxiously wait for the green light to begin training when Auckland emerges from lockdown restrictions, George Worker is honing his game in his home town.

After more than a decade at the top of the order for Central Districts, apart from a couple of seasons in Canterbury, the stylish left-hander will this season turn out for Auckland in all three forms of the game.

The loss is a blow for the Stags, but the decision makes sense given Worker has lived in New Zealand’s biggest city for seven years and can cut down on travel.

“I got to the point where I was on the road too much for me, especially now that I’m 32. Basically I’m travelling from September to April.”

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Worker, pictured batting against South Africa in 2015, has played a dozen times for New Zealand.

photosport

Worker, pictured batting against South Africa in 2015, has played a dozen times for New Zealand.

The desire to play international cricket is still there too and Worker admits he is frustrated at missing the recent Black Caps squads for white ball tours shorn of many stars.

A regular for New Zealand A, Worker’s top-level career totals 10 one-day and two twenty20 matches between 2015 and 2018. Worker did well in those appearances and his winter tour omissions were baffling given his recent good form in white ball cricket and experience in twenty20 leagues in the Caribbean and Canada.

“Whether there’s a chance or not I don’t really know,” he said about further international caps.

“I was pretty disappointed to miss out on the recent tour to Bangladesh and Pakistan. It was pretty disappointing not to see my name in the squad.

“I don’t really know if they see me as a chance or not, or if that boat has sailed.”

Worker’s first class record isn’t as strong, but more than 5000 runs over more than 100 matches can’t be sneezed at.

“I feel like my game’s in a pretty good space. I have done well in the white ball formats and struggled opening the batting in the red ball.

“I don’t put that down to a lack of form or anything. I feel like my game’s in a good space.

“I still think I’ve got plenty more to give and I feel like I’m hitting the ball as well as I ever have.”

He missed the confines of Auckland’s level 3 and 4 restrictions by staying in Palmerston North with family, arriving in the city before the Delta outbreak in August.

That’s meant he’s been able to train, teaming up with Manawatū stalwart Robbie Laird at the nets, with Laird feeding the bowling machine, using the dog ball thrower and even sending down his wiley off-spin.

Worker’s also been doing one on one work with younger Manawatū players.

The domestic schedule has Auckland starting their Plunket Shield campaign in November and Worker was waiting to see when he could train with the squad, after recent communication over Zoom.

He said he enjoyed his years with Central Districts and one of the hardest parts of the shift was leaving his team-mates.

Worker was more relaxed and assured these days, and didn’t have specific goals for the coming season apart from working hard and enjoying his cricket.

Away from the sport he has finished a business management degree through the Otago Polytech and is doing a financial advisors course.