Published: 13th February, 2019
Since arriving in early January, Scott Borthwick’s Perth experience has had him bowled over.
The leg-spinning all-rounder has clocked up more than thirty overs in just four red-ball matches for Midland-Guildford in Perth’s highest standard of grade cricket as well as scoring 188 runs.
Outside of his weekend matches Borthwick has been invited to bowl at Big Bash League side Perth Scorchers during the week alongside working on his batting with former Surrey man Stewart Walters.
After arriving at the Kia Oval in 2017, the 28-year-old has consistently performed with the bat but not featured with the ball as much as his 285 wickets for Durham would suggest he could be capable of.
He’s determined to change that in the coming county season, starting with his work in Perth that includes best figures of 3/15 earlier this month.
“My bowling has been pretty good while I’ve been out here. I feel like I’m in good rhythm which is a nice place to be at any time of the year. It’s a young squad out here so it’s important for me to take the lead and try to be the match winner and that’s a big boost when I can pick up wickets,” said Borthwick.
“I’ve always classed myself as an all-rounder and I still want to be the guy who Burnsy or Jade can chuck the ball to and have confidence in that I will do the job.
“That’s the level I want to get to and it’s something that I’ve done in the past. The wickets I’ve got in the past are all there and now it’s just about building up my confidence so both skippers feel like they can rely on me.”
What have the rest of the Surrey squad been doing through the winter? Click on the below video to find out.
It’s not all plain sailing when it comes to bowling however. When we phoned to catch up with him, he had just finished a team bonding session of lawn bowls that didn’t seem to have gone too well for our man.
He admitted: “I’m rubbish actually. My first couple went miles out of bounds, smashing into the barriers at the back, and then my next few were six foot short. I don’t think this game is for me.”
Despite his frustration with his bowls game, Borthwick is enjoying many of the other benefits that come with life in the warmer climes of Western Australia; soaking up the sun ahead of another gruelling county campaign in which he will be aiming for his fourth Division One title.
Midland-Guildford was the chosen destination for the early months of 2019 partly due to the club’s shared history with Surrey Director of Cricket Alec Stewart. Stewart spent seven consecutive winters at the club from 1981 onwards and his presence clearly remains an influence around Lilac Hill.
“I didn’t realise how much of a legend he is here. His face is everywhere in the clubhouse and if you walk into any bar around here and say his name then you’ll make a lot of friends very quickly,” said Borthwick.
“Everyone at the club is so friendly and have made me feel right at home. It’s important for me to give something back and keep working with the youngsters and get a few wins before I return home.”
He’s no stranger to Australian grade cricket, having played in Adelaide and Sydney before this spell in Perth, and recommends it to any county player wanting to learn more about their trade.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity, especially for younger guys. Will Jacks loved his time here, learning about his game and himself. You tend to live by yourself while you’re out here and it gets you out of your comfort zone. I’d say it’s almost a must to play in different conditions and find out about yourself as a cricketer and a person.”
Borthwick will be back at the Kia Oval from the 4th March before joining the squad on their pre-season tour of Dubai in the second half of the month.