Cricketer Brian Makwana has been selected to play in the T20 ProAm event at the Northamptonshire County Ground
A Rutland cricketer has been given the opportunity of a lifetime to play in this year’s prestigious T20 ProAm event.
Brian Makwana, who is captain of Market Overton, has been chosen for the Red Bull side to play in the four-team tournament at the Northamptonshire County Ground on Sunday.
The 34-year-old was short-listed from an entry pool of 2,500 applicants after submitting his career details to event organisers before being chosen for the final line-ups after an Indian Premier League-style draft night.
Each side in the annual event will be made up of a number of amateurs playing alongside a legend, a current professional as well as an unnamed celebrity.
They have also received first-class coaching in weekly training sessions with the event aiming to give the amateurs an experience which mirrors that of a professional.
Makwana explained: “It’s been running for three years now and is very similar to the Indian Premier League.
“I was in the hat to play last year, but unfortunately I couldn’t attend the draft night.
“I was short-listed again this year but, when the date for the draft night came through, I realised I would be away for it.
“I expected to miss out again so it was a bit of a surprise that I got selected.
“It’s very exciting, it’s going to be a really interesting day. The event is growing year on year and it’s superb to have the opportunity to be part of it.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Makwana will line-up alongside Pakistani legend Saeed Ajmal and current Northants all-rounder Josh Cobb in the Red Bull side.
Cobb, like Makwana, is a former Oakham School pupil who came through the ranks at Leicestershire.
Makwana played alongside current England Test star Stuart Broad while at Oakham before joining the Leicestershire Academy.
He has played top level Premier League cricket for Bourne, Sleaford, Thorpe Arnold and Desborough in recent seasons before returning to Market Overton who he first joined as a 13-year-old.
Makwana added: “For work and family reasons I haven’t played at the Premier League level for a couple of seasons.
“Market Overton is a fantastic club though. My wife comes down to watch most weekends and my son has just started playing cricket for the juniors. There’s a real family atmosphere.
“It’s a club I’ve got a great history with. I have scored more than 11,000 club runs for them which averages around 70 per season.
“That’s what the ProAm selectors would look at, especially after last season where I scored more than 1,000 runs for the club.
“I had a really good season last year, but I’ve started a new job this year which means I can only play every other weekend.
“That’s made for some late nights with the weekly training sessions for the ProAm, but it will all be worth it.
“You’re treated like a professional cricketer. It’s a professional experience which mirrors the IPL T20.
“It’s also a chance for amateur cricketers to show what they’ve got on the professional stage. I’m 34 so, unless I hit a couple of big centuries, my age would probably go against me.
“But it’s a great chance for any 18 or 19-year-old to hone their craft on a professional ground.
“The training sessions have even been designed to give us an insight into what life is like as a professional cricketer, how to train, prepare for matches, nutritional advice and strategical elements to cricket.”
More by this authorJames Bedford