Former Warwickshire off-spinner Maurice Holmes has taken a year out from his studies and paid his own way to India in an attempt to resurrect his county career.
Holmes, 21, was released by Warwickshire last September after a brief spell at Edgbaston that saw him suspended from all cricket by the England and Wales Cricket Board after doubts were raised about his unusual action.
The terms of the ban were relaxed and the suspension was lifted altogether in September although Holmes has been advised not to bowl his controversial ‘doosra’ in competitive cricket.
Holmes is now at an academy in Pune where he is training and playing alongside other county players including Essex pair Jaik Mickleburgh and Tom Craddock, Surrey’s Matthew Spriegel and Hampshire newcomer Sean Terry.
Holmes took five wickets for the academy against a local club this week and believes that his stint working under the tutelage of local coach Umesh Patwal, director of cricket at the Global Cricket School, will benefit him when he returns to England.
“Loughborough have been very good about me taking a year out and I have used some of the money I saved when I was playing for Warwickshire to come out here,” Holmes said.
“It has been a brilliant experience and it has given me the chance to work on my bowling and try to make myself the best bowler I can be.
“A lot was made of my ‘doosra’ last season but I’ve hardly touched that out here. I’ve been working on lots of other things and improving my action.
“Working with Umesh has been a big help. He’s got a unique way of thinking about the game and coaching players. I don’t know anyone who has come across this guy and not gone away having a huge amount of respect for him.”
Holmes has no county lined up when he returns to England but is hoping to secure trials in the hope that the player who is nicknamed the ‘English Murali’ might be given a second opportunity to display his unusual talent.