Sleaford CC sign former New Zealand international Brett Arnel

Tall seam bowler Brett Arnel played six Tests for New Zealand EMN-170612-164124002
Tall seam bowler Brett Arnel played six Tests for New Zealand EMN-170612-164124002

Sleaford Cricket Club will have the services of a former New Zealand Test cricketer when they take to the field next season.

The club last week announced the signing of bowler Brett Arnel as their overseas player-coach for the 2018 Lincs ECB Premier League campaign.

Arnel aspires to be a head coach once he hangs up his boots, with a role on the Black Caps staff his ultimate goal, and will be looking to hone this side of his game at London Road next summer.

He has had three previous player-coach stints in the UK for Beckenham (2007, 2008, 2013) in the Kent Premier League, taking 95 wickets at 15.49, including best figures of 6 for 1 against Sevenoaks.

And club president Chris Travers believes Arnel’s impact off the field could be as important as his skills in the middle as Sleaford look to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish.

He said: “As well as being a high quality cricketer, Brent has an enviable reputation as a coach and I’m confident he will have a significant impact in all aspects of our club.”

The towering right-arm seamer boasts an enviable domestic record in New Zealand, spanning more than a decade for State sides Northern Districts (2006-13, 2017-present) and Wellington (2013-17).

The 38-year-old Kiwi has bagged more than 560 wickets during his career, and at his peak, played in New Zealand’s Test side between 2010 and 2012.

Arnel made his debut against fierce rivals Australia in March 2010, and went on to take best figures of 4 for 95 against Pakistan.

He played the last of his six Tests against South Africa in March 2012, before returning to domestic cricket.

Having been kicked out of junior cricket for bowling too fast, he was soon up against college-level players and made his ND Knights debut in the 2006/07 season.

He cemented his spot in the Knights bowling attack the following season by topping the Plunket Shield wicket charts to earn a place in the New Zealand A squad for the tour of India.

His exploits for the A squad against the England Lions in 2009 led to a call-up to the New Zealand Test squad against India, but he didn’t get a game and had to wait until the following March for his Test debut.

After a glittering domestic career with Northern Districts, he took up a role with the Wellington Firebirds for the 2013/14 season as bowling coach, and the team ended a decade-long title drought.

The Firebirds won three titles during his four-year tenure, and Arnel claimed 30 first-class wickets in his final season before moving back to Northern Districts for the current 2017/18 season.

His form remains in good nick for the Knights, recently taking his 15th first-class five-wicket haul in the third round of the Plunket Shield.

This included the notable wicket of in-form Tom Blundell who made a century on his Test debut for New Zealand last week.