New Birmingham Bears signing Chris Green is a classic example of the modern-day, globe-trotting cricketer.
At the age of just 25, the South Africa-born, Australia-educated off-spinning all-rounder has already played in Australia’s Big Bash, the Caribbean Premier League, the inaugural T10 trophy, the Pakistan Super League, the Global T20 Canada and now the T20 Blast.
He has never played first-class cricket, yet he has turned out in a variety of multi-coloured strips for New South Wales, Sydney Thunder, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Northern Warriors, Multan Sultans, Toronto Nationals and now the Birmingham Bears.
And he has so far made one of the livelier introductions to English T20 cricket, taking in four games in three cities on two different continents – in only eight days. He started in Toronto, featured in two games in Birmingham and then will play at Old Trafford, Manchester on Friday.
“Travelling is something I love doing,” said Green, who has played second XI cricket for Surrey and Essex, as well as club cricket for Bishop’s Stortford and Sunbury.
“Any time which I get off, usually five weeks a year, I travel rather than sit at home. It’s nice going and seeing different countries and experiencing different cultures.”
The latest episode in his globe-trotting began on 4 August, when Green’s fellow Australian Ashton Agar injured his ankle in the warm-up before the Bears’ tied game with Yorkshire at Headingley.
The Bears needed a replacement, and fast. Green’s agent contacted him in Canada, where his man was out completing his latest short stint with Toronto.
“I was playing on the Thursday and the Bears were playing on the Friday night,” Green told BBC WM. “He told me that I’d have to get back in time to play in that.”
The trouble is, to enable Green to get through the red tape at the airport smoothly, he was going to need his UK passport (he was born in Durban to a South African father, but has an English mother).
And that passport was back down under in Sydney.
The solution was simple. He went on Facebook and asked if any of his mates fancied an all-expenses quick trip to Canada to drop it off.
A friend flew to Toronto, had several nights in a nice hotel, took in Niagara Falls and a trip to a Blue Jays baseball game. Green cancelled a holiday in Vancouver, played for Toronto against Winnipeg Hawks on the Thursday night – and, by Friday night, he was in Birmingham lining up for his Bears debut.
“It was a third v fourth knockout game in Canada,” said Green. “We finished at 8.30pm (01:30 GMT on Friday), I raced back to the hotel to try to get on to a 11.55pm flight to land here at 1pm and then raced up to Birmingham for the game here.”
Both games went badly. Two Duckworth-Lewis-Stern defeats, less than 24 hours but more than 3,450 miles apart.
But, on Sunday, it went a lot better. Against the previously unbeaten North Group leaders Lancashire, Green opened the bowling, took 1-19 from his four overs and formed a highly effective spin partnership with home captain Jeetan Patel – which survived a Glenn Maxwell onslaught to win his side the game.
“Glenn Maxwell’s 79 off 39 balls was one of the best knocks I’ve seen in a losing side,” Bears first-team coach Jim Troughton. “All the other Lancashire batsmen struggled and, if he had stayed in, we’d have been in trouble as he was hitting it everywhere. But Will Rhodes got the crucial wicket and we closed the game out well.
“The way Chris bowled with Jeetan, getting through their eight overs for less than five an over, was key.”
The Bears’ first win in four games lifted them back up to fourth in the table – and now, with just one win separating second and sixth, they have to try to do it all again when they again face Lancashire on Friday.
“Lancashire are top and we’ve gone and beaten them,” said Troughton. “It just shows how anyone can beat anyone, and we have to take that belief into trying to beat them again.”
Green added: “We know they’re going to try to get one back against us, but, again, we’re up for the challenge. We’ve got to keep having fun out there, running around and backing our abilities.
“Bowling in the first six is something I enjoy doing. It’s obviously a big challenge, but I embrace it. Sometimes you can get away with the first over.
“Coming back, you’ve got to execute your plan and some days it works in your favour and others in the batsman’s favour.
“Glenn ran past me a couple of times and said ‘don’t miss your hole because it’s going in the crowd!’ And I made sure I didn’t miss too many.
“It was a fantastic knock and he showed his class. But that Will Rhodes wicket turned the game in our favour.”