Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell is preparing for the forthcoming domestic season with a stint playing for the Mountaineers in Zimbabwe.
The 27-year-old opening batsman has linked up with the Mutare-based franchise on a short-term contract that includes three first-class four-day matches and three one-day games in Zimbabwe’s franchise system.
Mitchell is playing alongside former Essex captain Mark Pettini as one of the Mountaineers’ two overseas players but his start was inauspicious.
Mitchell made 26 in the his first innings but only two in his second as the Mountaineers were shot out for just 55 by Mashonaland Eagles at the Harare Sports Club and beaten by seven wickets.
Mitchell’s former county team-mate Ray Price, the experienced Zimbabwe slow left-arm spinner, was in the Eagles side.
It is the second consecutive winter that Mitchell has opted to play abroad to help prepare for the English season. Last year he had an enjoyable and successful stint playing for the Cornwall club in Auckland where he scored almost 1,000 runs.
Cornwall were keen to re-sign Mitchell but Worcestershire’s captain opted to have a break from cricket before Christmas and instead recommended his county team-mate Jack Shantry to the club.
Left-arm seamer Shantry lost his place in Worcestershire’s County Championship side towards the end of last season but will have an early opportunity to reclaim it in the absence of Gareth Andrew who has been ruled out until late May by a knee injury.