Josh Manley is set to make his Lisburn debut on Saturday in their Robinson Services Cup clash with CSNI at Stormont.
After arriving from his homeland of South Africa, Manley’s period of quarantine, which he is doing at his new home in Lisburn, will be over in time for him to take to the field with his new team-mates this weekend.
The Wallace Park side started their campaign with a 19-run loss to newly-promoted Woodvale before a 75-run defeat against CIYMS, but they got redemption on Sunday as they progressed to the LVS Twenty20 Cup semi-finals with a win over Carrickfergus.
Manley joined the club from Instonians ahead of the 2020 campaign, and after it looked like he wouldn’t be making the trip to Northern Ireland at all this summer, he is excited to get going.
“I definitely thought there wasn’t going to be a season at one point so I’m chuffed to get some cricket and that it’s happening,” he said.
“I’ve got a great flat over here and got some good views. I’m quite happy but just itching to get back out on the park.”
The fast bowler had the best average in the NCU last season (11.09) on his way to taking 22 wickets, but he isn’t expecting to be hitting that sort of form from game one.
“I think I’m going to be quite rusty to be honest,” he added.
“The problem with back home was that there wasn’t any facilities to train on because everything was locked down so I couldn’t even find nets or anything to train in.
“I think it will take a little while. I don’t think I’m going to be bang on from ball one but I’ll be going in with the mentality that it will be.
“We will see how it goes and I’m just looking forward to getting back playing.”
Manley has also been named in a 28-man Northern Knights training squad for the final inter-squad practice game that will take place at Wallace Park on Friday.
The first two of the series of matches were played at Shaws Bridge last week, where Ross Adair’s 89 was the highlight, while the first game in Lisburn was rained off on Monday.
Inter-Provincial cricket is set to return in August with matches in the Trophy and Cup taking place, and Manley will be expected to play a role after making his First Class debut last season against Leinster Lightning.
Manley’s long-term plan is to live in Northern Ireland permanently and believes he will be set-up here by April at the very latest after original plans were impacted by coronavirus.
“The schedule looks really jam-packed and I’m very excited that there’ll be some Inter-Provincial stuff. I’m very keen for that side of things as well and see where that goes,” he added.
“The plan at the moment is to move here from next year. We will head back at the end of the season, which will be the end of September.
“All of the plans got readjusted due to coronavirus. The original idea was January, and it still might be then, but everything is up in the air.
“By April next year I will 100% be here, it’s just finding out when we will be here permanently.”