Another Bear is embarking on their first overseas franchise opportunity, with Warwickshire Lead Analyst George McNiel embracing the chance to work in the Pakistan Super League.
George has arrived in Pakistan and will undertake the same role for Peshawar Zalmi in the eighth edition of the competition.
George, who joined the Club full-time in January 2022, already has a strong resume, working with Southern Vipers and Southern Brave Women as well as the Scotland Men’s team whom he assisted during two T20 World Cup campaigns.
The 23-year-old will now be able to build on those experiences, especially with a busy domestic calendar year.
“I’ve built a relationship with Darren Sammy who is their head coach,” said McNiel. “I put my CV in, had some conversations, and thankfully I was chosen.
“The opportunity is incredibly exciting and I’m grateful for the support that Warwickshire gave me throughout the process. Ian Westwood has recently returned from the International League T20 in Abu Dhabi and recommended working overseas, so when I spoke to them they really encouraged me to take the role.
“I’ll still be working for the Club, so the Members shouldn’t be too worried. Our winter plans have gone well so far and we look in a good place. These next few weeks will therefore allow me to learn in a new environment, which hopefully we can translate into the Bears Blast campaign.”
George’s role at Edgbaston is vital to the team’s knowledge and tactical awareness. Found most days at his desk overlooking the pitch, a key part of his role is to communicate the club’s data in a more digestible format.
This allows our players to not only understand their own strengths and weaknesses but prepare for the opposition too.
“There are situations when analysis can give you an extra 1 or 2% and in T20 cricket any advantage can make a huge difference,” added the Harpenden native. “Working with Cricket Scotland, I have seen the importance of having as much information as possible.
“When we beat the West Indies, the squad were prepared on all eventualities such as field settings, par scores, bowling and batting match-ups etc and sometimes something so minor can influence such a high-pressured moment.
“With Peshawar, we’ll be looking to do the same in a much-condensed schedule. I was part of our draft strategy and worked with Darren on who we could sign to fit our style of play, so that’s given me a head start.
“The PSL has a large talent pool, and with four grounds, there is a lot of information to consume. Karachi has a chase bias for example, whilst Lahore is more effective for spinners. It’s a lot to take in, but a challenge I’m relishing.”
Peshawar’s first game is Tuesday against the Karachi Kings, with Pakistan star Babar Azam named as captain.
The team, and tournament, are flooded with international talent allowing George to see how the very best operate on the world stage.
“Babar is an incredible player and I’ll obviously try and steer him here ” joked the sports science graduate from the University of Portsmouth. “I’m interested to see how he operates and consumes data as that’s something that could help us going forward.
“Darren is a proven winner and he’s already given me valuable insight into the tactical side of the game. With an abundance of talent across six teams, I’m ready for an exciting tournament that will include Moeen and Hassan Ali.
“I think both of those players will play an important part in our summer and seeing them up close will allow me to get a head start to a busy year.”
Early Bird tickets for Vitality Blast on sale now
Early Bird tickets for this summer’s Vitality Blast are now on general sale, with prices starting from only £13.
Get tickets for £13 for the Bank Holiday game against Lancashire Lightning and from £17 for all other T20 games. But don’t wait too long, only 1,500 tickets are available for each match at this price.