After his planned stint at Surrey was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Neser has belatedly got the chance to play county cricket in 2021 after signing with Glamorgan for the County Championship and Royal London Cup.
Neser, 30, will link up with Queensland team-mate Marnus Labuschagne in Cardiff, with the pair filling Glamorgan’s overseas quota for four-day and 50-over cricket following Marchant de Lange’s departure to Somerset. Labuschagne is also set to be available in T20 cricket, pending his international commitments, and they have one remaining overseas spot for the Blast.
Labuschagne has previously credited his time at the club ahead of the 2019 Ashes as a springboard for his international breakthrough, and Neser – who is yet to make his Test debut despite regularly featuring in Australia squads – said he hoped that it could have a similar effect on his career.
“I’m thrilled to sign for Glamorgan and play in Wales,” Neser said. “I’ve played with a few guys who have played at Glamorgan – Charlie Hemphrey, Usman Khawaja, and especially Marnus – and they’ve had nothing but praise for the club, the way things are done, the culture at Sophia Gardens and the friendliness of all the staff and locals.
“I’m still desperate to play county cricket after my spell this year was cancelled, so when I heard Glamorgan were interested I didn’t have to think twice. I’m keen to come over, showcase my skills, and do what I can to win games of cricket for Glamorgan. I’ve got those international ambitions, and I saw what playing for Glamorgan did for Marnus, and I’m hoping to do the same thing.”
Neser started the Sheffield Shield season in style, taking his fourth career five-wicket haul before adding a maiden first-class hundred in an innings win against Tasmania. That performance prompted Justin Langer to describe him as a “fine cricketer”, having highlighted the lack of allrounders as a problem area for Australia.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an opportunity with the Australian cricket team soon,” Langer said. “He’s been in lots of tours but, geez, he keeps knocking hard.”
Neser was due to play in the first half of Surrey’s County Championship campaign last summer, but in early April was the first in what became a torrent of players to have an overseas deal cancelled because of international travel restrictions.
With the club’s chief executive Richard Gould confirming that they would keep Hashim Amla and Morne Morkel as overseas players following the expiration of their status as Kolpak signings, they were unable to offer Neser a new deal.