By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
NIGEL Ashplant is waiting for medical clearance to fly home from Australia after suffering a broken arm playing for England Over-60s during the current Ashes tour.
Sandford’s veteran keeper-batsman, who got a late call-up into the touring party when one of the original squad members dropped out, suffered a fractured right arm while standing at the non-striker’s end in a match.
The squad is due to fly back next Monday the day after the third and final one-day international in Brisbane. Ashplant hopes he will be on the plane.
“I have been in plaster since last Monday (November 25) but could not come home early as I am not allowed to fly until cleared by doctor and airlines,” said Ashplant.
“We have been based in Surfers Paradise for our last two State games against Queensland sides before moving on to Brisbane for the final one-day international on Sunday.”
The one-day series is all-square on a game each with the decider to play.
Ashplant played two full games before his injury, which was sustained in a freak manner.
“It was the final warm-up game before the second one-day international and I fractured my right forearm when batting at the non-strikers’ end against NSW City XI at Manly Oval,” said Ashplant.
“My colleague, the Lancashire captain John Punchard, hit one straight back and I could not get out of the way.”
Ashplant did not have a lot of luck on the tour as he was ruled out of first international due to illness.
“I missed the opportunity to challenge for a place in first ODI because of a dodgy Vietnamese beef salad that kept me away from the ground for final warm-up game,” said Ashplant.
In the games he did start and finish – Tasmania on debut and against the Australia Capital Territory XI – Ashplant took three catches.
Ashplant is the only Devon player on the tour, but not the only player with Devon connections.
Dorset’s Richard Merriman, a batsman with Minor Counties credentials, played for Torquay when they won the Devon League Premier Division in 1997.
Merriman was the head teacher at the now-defunct Wolborough Hill School in Newton Abbot when he played for Torquay.
“Richard has not played in either ODI but has scored runs in State games,” said Ashplant.
Although the tour has not gone according to plan for Ashplant, he said it has been memorable.
“Droughts, bush fires, rain, great venues, tough opponents – it has still been a great experience,” said Ashplant, pictured second from the right in the front row in the squad picture below.