Queensland’s Duke of Hazzard
WITH barely a ripple of fuss or fanfare, Michael Neser has become Queensland cricket's Duke of Hazzard.
The understated South African-born all-rounder has been a key man in powering a young Queensland Bulls side to Friday's Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania at Allan Border Field.
Neser has taken 37 wickets at 19.7 for the Bulls with his crafty swing bowling reaping 22 wickets in five games after Christmas when the competition switched from the Kookaburra to the more swing-friendly English Duke ball.
"I love the Duke ball, as a swing bowler it has helped me a bit,'' said Neser, who sits third on the Shield wicket-takers list this year behind Victorian duo Chris Tremain (51) and Scott Boland (38).
"It provides an even contest too. Sometimes I feel the Kookaburras can become a bit soft and it becomes a one-sided affair but the Dukes keep giving you something throughout the day.''
Had his life taken a different course Neser might well have been playing in this week's third Test in Cape Town for South Africa as the all-rounder they are craving for but cannot find.
Pretoria-born Neser moved to the Gold Coast with his family when he was 10.
While in South Africa his family were involved in a car accident returning from holidays and while Neser was asleep in the back at the time of the crash he remembers it vividly.
"Someone went through a set of lights and went head on with us and the car was pretty smashed up. Mum and Dad were pretty dazed and got all the kids out on the sidewalk," he said.
"In the midst of it someone went in and took all our stuff so we were robbed as well.
"Mum and Dad could see the future in South Africa was not as good as it could be in Australia. I am so happy they did because Australia is a great country.''
Neser, 27, is a relatively senior member of a young side but still feels he has much to learn.
"I have only played 30 games and they have been spread out. This is my second full season.''
He is shooting for his second title of the summer after being part of Jason Gillespie's Adelaide Strikers outfit who won the Big Bash.