Worcestershire pace bowler Mitchell Stanley says he is using his mixture of T10, The Hundred and T20 cricket in the Vitality Blast as part of a massive learning curve at this stage of his career.
Stanley admits he began the 2022 season expecting to predominantly play for the Seconds and aiming to feature in some senior cricket in the Royal London Cup.
But he made his breakthrough in the Blast, picking up wickets in the initial powerplay during his six appearances.
His scalps included Finn Allen, Harry Brook, Alex Davies, Sam Hain and Joe Clarke, and he also had England’s ICC T20 World Cup-winning captain, Jos Buttler, dropped first ball against Lancashire Lightning.
The Manchester Originals then selected the 21-year-old for The Hundred as a replacement for Daniel Worrall.
He played in three games and said he gained a lot of knowledge from lead coach Simon Katich, the former Australia player.
Now Stanley is looking forward to working under former England Head Coach Andy Flower for the Abu Dhabi T10 League, where he will play for Delhi Bulls.
He flies out this Thursday (November 17) for the two-week tournament in which new Worcestershire signing, Adam Hose, is also playing.
Stanley said: “It has been a great experience throughout the summer, a lot of learning from it. The more you can learn from people at this stage of my career, the better.
“At the start of the season, I did not imagine 2022 would pan out as it has.
“I thought it would be a year where I would predominantly play in the Seconds, and I might get a game during the Royal London Cup when people went away for The Hundred.
“To be one of the people myself going away (to The Hundred) just came out of nowhere.
“It’s been brilliant all season picking people’s brains, getting ideas off other bowlers, how they cope with situations and what they would do, the different field settings, and learning a bit more about my own game off the coaches.”
Stanley was given clear guidelines as to his role when playing in the Blast.
He said: “They told me to get wickets and be as attacking as I could because it can be such a big difference to get early wickets in T20 cricket.
“There is a statistic that teams who lose three wickets in the powerplay more often than not go on to lose the game.
“It slows down that early run rate, especially when you’ve only got two fielders outside of the ring.
“If you can make sure the two batters don’t get going, they are having to rebuild during the middle period of the innings rather than kicking on.”
Stanley impressed sufficiently to be picked up by Manchester Originals for The Hundred after Worrall withdrew.
He said: “When I first got there, I looked around the dressing room, and there were all these international stars.
“But everyone was so nice and welcoming and made me feel at home. There were some experienced bowlers, like Sean Abbott, to pick things up from, and Simon Katich helped me a lot with bits of advice.
“Getting used to playing under lights was a big thing for me. I’d only played one match previously, and judging the ball when taking a catch and fielding under lights was a big challenge.
“But it was really exciting with the big crowds and a lot of emotions flying around amongst the spectators, and I bowled what I think is my quickest delivery at 92mph.”
Stanley is now looking forward to experiencing T10 cricket for the first time in Abu Dhabi.
He said: “It won’t be too dissimilar to T20 for me because obviously, I bowl quite a few of my overs in the powerplay when fielders are inside the ring and batters are going pretty hard at you.
“But it will be definitely different because having wickets in hand isn’t as important in T10 with only 60 balls. People will go at you from ball one, and there is less chance of getting teams all out.
“I’m looking forward to working with Andy Flower with his vast experience.”
Stanley will come up against Hose, who has signed for Northern Warriors and believes he is an excellent signing for Worcestershire.
He said: “We’ve been training at Malvern and had a really good battle one day last week in the nets. He is a great signing for us.
“I bowled against him when he was playing for the Northern Superchargers at Leeds, and he is tough to bowl at because he is such a 360 degrees player.
“He hits the back of the length balls, which is my strength. He hits them so powerfully and has so many different shots. I’m sure it will be a tough challenge coming up against him.
“Delhi Bulls have got an extremely strong team, and I’m going to be there to try and learn and learn off the more experienced players. At this stage of my career, it is about learning and learning and then trying to put it into practice.
“Trying to take bits from other people’s games and try and work out how it fits into my game and where I can use certain things.
“I’m inexperienced in terms of game time, and I need to learn as much as I can and as quickly as I can.”