Sleaford Cricket Club committee is pleased to announce the signing of former New Zealand International, Brent Arnel, as Club Professional for the 2018 season.
Brent Arnel (38) is a towering right-arm seamer who boasts an enviable domestic record, spanning more than a decade, for State sides Northern Districts (2006-13, 2017-present) and Wellington (2013-17). The stalwart has bagged over 560 wickets with 15 five wicket bags. At his peak, Arnel was awarded national honours, playing 6 Tests for New Zealand between 2010 and 2012, taking best figures of 4-95 against Pakistan. Arnel’s journey began at an early age - he was kicked out of junior cricket because he bowled too fast and he was soon up against college-level players. Being pushed into the deep end so early, he recalls, helped him in the long run. Arnel is a product of a small-town upbringing, made his ND Knights debut in the 2006/07 season, playing four games, however, he cemented his spot in the Knights bowling attack the following season by topping the Plunket Shield wicket charts (33 wickets at 20.93). This performance earned him 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. He didn't get a game, but earned another Test call-up the following year, against Bangladesh, as a replacement for the injured Andy McKay. However, he was not selected, once again, but his Test debut finally came, against Australia in Wellington on 19 March 2010. He played the last of his 6 Tests against South Africa in March 2012, before returning to domestic cricket. After a glittering career with Northern Districts, which included back-to-back “ND Player of the Year” awards (2011-12, 2012-13), Arnel took up a role with the Wellington Firebirds for the 2013/14 season. His arrival, as bowling coach, coincided with the end of a decade-long Wellington title drought, when they beat ND in the 50-over final. With Arnel on board, the Firebirds went on to win three titles during his 4-year tenure, before his move back to Northern Districts for the current 2017/18 season. His final year with the Firebirds proved age was just a number, as Arnel (37 at the time) took 30 first-class wickets at an average of 21.40, and signed off his Firebirds career with 7-93 in their seven-wicket win over eventual champions Canterbury in March. He snared 125 Plunket Shield wickets at 31 for Wellington. In the T20 Super Smash, Arnel was equal leading wicket-taker with Central Districts' Seth Rance, snaring 15 at 24.46 and economy rate of 8.15. This season, it didn’t take long for Arnel to produce the goods once again, having returned to the Knights. In the third round of the Plunket Shield, the seamer welcomed his former team-mates to Hamilton’s Seddon Park, by taking his 15th first-class 5-wicket haul. He produced the outstanding figures of 5 for 73 from 34.2 overs including the notable wickets of in-form batsman Luke Woodcock, Stephen Murdoch, Fraser Colson and Tom Blundell. Clearly Arnel resembles a fine wine, getting better with age, and the Knights paceman is looking for overseas opportunities in 2018. He has played 3 successful Player/Coach stints in the UK for Beckenham (2007, 2008, 2013) in the Kent Premier League taking 95 wickets at 15.49 including his best figures, which incredibly red 6 for 1, from 8 overs against Sevenoaks.
The club looks forward to welcoming Brent in the spring. Please keep an eye out for coaching opportunities with the professional as we move closer to the season.
Updated 11:59 - 6 Dec 2017 by Andy Hibberd