RAYNER GRABBING GERMAN INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITY WITH BOTH HANDS
Last weekend Middlesex spinner Ollie Rayner travelled over to Husum in North Germany, having been given the opportunity to train with the German national cricket team.
Born in Walsrode, Germany, into a military family in 1985, Rayner received the call recently from German national selectors, enquiring as to his availability, which led to him travelling to his country of birth to meet up with his new teammates for the very first time.
With crucial World Cup qualifying matches on the horizon, Germany Cricket selectors were keen to get the squad together, and Rayner, along with Glamorgan all-rounder Craig Meschede and Leicetershire's seamer Dieter Klein, teamed up with the squad for an intensive weekend of training on the German/Danish border.
Rayner, having previously represented the England Lions in both 2013 and 2016, was keen to make the most of the international opportunity presented to him by Germany.
Gareth Berg followed a similar path, when selected for Italy in 2011, which ultimately led to him playing for the Italian national side in both 2011 and 2013 in a number of World IT20 Qualifying matches.
Rayner, hoping to follow suit, had this to say of his experience with the German national side this week...
"I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone involved for making me feel so welcome and for letting me come over to share the experience. I'd also like to offer a special thanks to Daniel Weston who was the driving force behind getting me involved and to Head Coach Steven Knox for the opportunity.
"I was overwhelmed with the levels of passion and dedication that my fellow squad members have for the game. The fact that most of these guys are in full-time jobs outside of cricket, yet are able to dedicate so much time and commitment to the game is quite incredible.
"It makes you feel privileged to earn a living from cricket and especially to be able to call Lord's Cricket Ground your home. It was a humbling experience meeting the guys and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them all.
"I am really excited about what may lay ahead for us as a aide and can't wait to team up with the squad again in the future and hope to help them achieve plenty of success in the future.
"Kommen Sie auf Deutschland"