Notts Outlaws’ new signing Will Fraine had to ask his university's Board of Examiners for an extension on one of his essays in order to help him fulfil his dream of signing a professional deal.
The 21-year-old is just finishing his degree in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity at Durham University and still has a couple of pieces of work to complete before he can graduate.
But because of a whirlwind week – from playing club cricket for Honley CC in the Huddersfield Drakes Premiership on Saturday and Notts Seconds at Dunstable on Monday, to training with the Outlaws’ first-team squad on Tuesday and travelling with the senior side for the Royal London One-Day Cup match against Lancashire tomorrow night – his studies have temporarily taken a backseat.
“I’ve got an essay due in on Friday, so I’ve had to contact the university and board to explain that I might struggle to get the essay done as I’m in the squad for quite an important game tomorrow night!” said Fraine.
“I tried to explain that it's exceptional circumstances, and thankfully they agreed to a 10-day extension. I’ve still got to do a couple more bits of work when I can fit it in when I’m not playing, but I have to admit it’s been quite hard to concentrate over the past couple of days.
“It’s so exciting to have joined Notts because I’ve always wanted to become a professional cricketer and now, after lots of trials at different places, this is my chance and I’m hoping to take it.
“I’ve got an essay due in on Friday, so I’ve had to contact the university and board to explain that I might struggle to get the essay done.”
“It’s been a long run (getting a professional deal). I was with Yorkshire until I was 16 to 17 then I got let go and I went to boarding school down in Bromsgrove, Worcester between 17 and 20 and was with Worcestershire, but then they released me to go off and trial somewhere else.
“I played one season with the Combined Universities after doing alright at University cricket and I’ve also been playing for Durham MCCU while I’ve been studying, plus had a brief trail at Leicestershire along the way.
“Then I got a call from Ant Botha one day to ask whether I wanted to play at Notts for a couple of games last year and obviously I was really happy to do so and loved playing here.
“I have started well this season and I have got a couple of scores that have made people stand up and take notice, with Notts obviously being one of them. My first game back for Notts’ seconds went pretty well (scoring 58) and here I am now a week later going to Old Trafford with the first team.”
Fraine believes it is his ability to strike the ball cleanly and powerfully that has caught the eye of the Notts management.
“I have started well this season and I have got a couple of scores that have made people stand up and take notice, with obviously Notts being one of them.”
The right-hander will vie for a first-team spot at Emirates Old Trafford with other powerful hitters such as Captain Steven Mullaney, overseas batsman Ross Taylor, Samit Patel, Riki Wessels, Chris Nash and Tom Moores.
He said: “I’d say my best asset is probably striking the ball, that’s what I like to do, I’m quite aggressive and I won’t hold anything back
“I like to try and put my best foot forward and try and put the bowlers under a bit of pressure and I’m going to try and keep going with the form I have had this season.
“I feel like white ball cricket is probably where I am most at home at the minute and I feel like if I get my eye in and the pitch suits me then I feel like I can bring positive results for Notts and do well for them.”
Having signed on at Trent Bridge for the duration of the summer, Fraine is hoping that if he plays and impresses in 50-over cricket, he can force his way into the team in other formats too.
He made his first-class debut for Durham MCCU against Gloucestershire in March last year has played four games at that level in all.
“I’m not just here to be a one-trick pony,” said Fraine. "I want to be able to play all assets of the game – T20, one-dayers and red ball as well.
“This is all I have wanted to do, so I am going to be as committed as anyone here to make me into the best player possible.
“My main aim is to nail down a long term deal so I’ll be focussed on performing this summer and making sure Mooresy (Head Coach Peter Moores) and all the support staff want me here for longer.”
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