The off-season is looking a little different for Alex Russell in 2023, with the young leg-spinner heading to Zimbabwe for an overseas stint.

“I’m loving my time in Zimbabwe so far, it’s an incredible country and getting to be here and play cricket at the same time is a really special experience.”

The 21-year-old is currently competing in Zimbabwe’s Pro50 Championship after a Northamptonshire connection presented an invitation.

“Elton Chigumbura is Mashonaland’s Head Coach and he reached out about the possibility of me coming over to play for the Eagles over the winter and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Captain of the Zimbabwe national side at the time, Chigumbura arrived at Wantage Road in 2010 and made 21 appearances as an overseas player for Northamptonshire. The all-rounder impressed across formats with a bowling average of just 24 in six first-class matches while also helping the Steelbacks to the quarter-finals in the T20 Blast.

Russell is following his own impressive path in return, after his opening four matches he sits fourth on the competition’s leading wicket takers list as the Eagles enjoy an unbeaten start to the competition.

Despite the positive start, Russell was keen to take more from the trip than just silverware.

“I’ve got a few games ahead in red and white ball which I’m really looking forward to.

“The plan is to just try and take it all in really, pick up as many wickets as I can and hopefully help win some games before I head back to the UK in a few months and build into another big season for Northamptonshire.”

“It’s all a learning experience for me, getting to play professional cricket in different conditions has been really beneficial.

“The pitches are different, the ball is different and you’re playing with and against different types of players so you just learn so much.”

Russell is back in action on Friday morning against the Mountaineers.