Young cricketer on far side of world

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New home . . . Sam Bastin checks out King George Park in Oamaru.
New home . . . Sam Bastin checks out King George Park in Oamaru.

Sam Bastin is ready for a slightly less eventful summer than the last one.
The 20-year-old Englishman has arrived in Oamaru to spend the season playing club cricket for Union in the Borton Cup and working for the North Otago association as a development officer.
At a tender age, he is already on to his second overseas coaching gig, having spent three months in South Africa this year.
“I was in Port Elizabeth, coaching under-privileged children and playing some cricket,” Bastin said.
“It was a really good experience. But it’s a bit different when you’re coaching and gunshots go off 10 seconds down the road.
“That was the bad bits. Mostly, it was pretty good, and I met a lot of friends there. The language barrier was hard but it got better the more I coached them.”
Life in Oamaru will be a bit quieter. Outside cricket, Bastin is volunteering as a hostel master at Waitaki Boys’ High School and will flat with North Otago fast bowler Francois Mostert.
He found out about the opportunity through North Otago all-rounder Jeremy Smith, who played with Bastin at the Long Marston club in the English summer and passed on a few tips about Oamaru.
“He talked it up a bit. It’s a bit different to how he described it, but I like it.”
Bastin has been coaching since he was just 13.
He was initially coming to Oamaru just to play club and, potentially, Hawke Cup, cricket but was given the opportunity to assume a coaching role when Stephan Grobler accepted a job in Australia.
“Hopefully, I can add plenty off the pitch as well as on the field. Cricket’s cricket. It can go one of two ways. I’m hoping to add to the club and to the area and to the kids with my coaching. Obviously scoring runs would be brilliant – I’d love that – but as long as I’m adding something to the place, that will be good.”
Bastin, a right-handed top-order batsman and part-time offspinner, has played cricket since he was 5, and hails from a spot just outside Long Marston, where Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire intersect.
He is an only child, and smiled when asked if his parents were concerned about their lad being so far away.
“Mum was more worried about South Africa. I’ve put them through the mill a bit this year.
“But I’m only 20. I’ve got the rest of my life to spend in England, so I might as well get out there and see the other side of the world.”