So far as Nottinghamshire supporters were concerned Drakes was rather an unknown quantity when he arrived at Trent Bridge. He had spent two seasons with Sussex with moderate success and had briefly represented West Indies in One Day Internationals in 1994/95. Clive Rice considered him the outstanding bowler in South Africa and he was therefore signed, for one season, on the cricket manger’s recommendation.
Drakes was quick to confirm Rice’s opinion and in his second Notts game (he did not bowl on his debut), he took 5 for 49 and 4 for 60. This form continued throughout the summer and he finished with 80 wickets.
Only two bowlers took more first-class wickets in 1999. Twice he captured 10 wickets in a match and five times five in an innings. Perhaps a little more could have been expected from him as a batsman, but that said he made a most favourable impression in Nottingham.