Rishton's South African pro Andrea Agathagelou may be missing out on the buzz of the World Cup but he is finding his own buzz in England.
The 20-year-old is in his first spell in the UK and has gone cricket-mad after earning a six month scholarship to play for Lancashire seconds during the week and then turning out in the Lancashire League at weekends.
And Agathagelou, who also holds a Cypriot passport, is hoping he can make enough of an impression at Old Trafford to earn a full contract next season.
"I am loving it," said the all-rounder. "It’s an unbelieveable experience. I even got a pair of trainers given to me from Saj Mahmood at Lancashire when he noticed mine were looking a bit worn and he had about 10 new pairs in his locker! Luckily I am the same size as him.
"But I have settled in really well and now I just want to do my best.
"I struggled at first with the wickets but now I feel I am coming into some form. I have got a couple of 80s and 90s for Lancashire seconds and started taking a few wickets for Rishton now.
"I am having to work hard on my bowling as I ended up being a wicket keeper back home as our regular one left half way through the season," said Agathagelou, who plays for North West and Lions and has also represented South Africa at Under 19 level
"So I hadn’t been able to do a lot of bowling but now I feel I am improving,"
He admits, while the English are flocking to South Africa, it’s weird missing out on all the World Cup fever ‘back home’ and watching it on the television.
"My friends are telling me how crazy it is with the World Cup, that there is really good vibe and it’s just ridiculous.
"It’s winter over there and they are saying people are walking around the streets without their tops on and everyone seems to have their face painted and are charging round. Mind you, if I was in South Africa I would be doing the same!
"They say it is brilliant so it is hard missing out on it all that but hopefully it will be worth it. I am still cheering on South Africa from afar though."
The lively character didn’t know too much about the Lancashire League or Lancashire when he landed in England in April, but a quick look at the internet told him all he needed to know about county cricket and walking into the Blackburn Road clubhouse was an eye-opener for him.
"It was a culture shock at first and when I walked into the Rishton club house my jaw hit the ground looking at the pictures of all the professionals that have been here before," he said, with Viv Richards, Michael Holding and Allan Donald to name but a few.
"There are such big names and I can’t believe I am sitting in the same changing rooms where they have and playing on the same field as them. But, while that makes my job a lot more pressured, I think it is a healthy pressure and one I am determined to stand up to."
Rishton, league champions in 2007, are not having the best of seasons, second off bottom of the Lancashire League table, but he is hopeful he can help them turn it around.
"At first the conditions were so different to back home that I was struggling both scoring runs and bowling.
"But my coach at Lancashire has helped me alter my batting to cope with it and Craig Smith at Rishton, who has got a lot of runs, has also played his part. Now I feel I am coming good."
While he feels he should have got more than his 267 runs this season for the Blackburn Road side, he has hit 77 in the Twenty20 last Friday and 73 in the last completed league game, where he also took five wickets to take his tally to 16 scalps for the season.
"The aim is always to get to 1000 runs and get around 60 wickets. I think that’s what most professionals aspire to.
"It’s about more positive bowling and batting and I am learning fast. Hopefully Rishton can go on an upward curve now. Unfortunately the defeats have had a snowball effect and losing can turn into a habit and become a bad place.
"But we can also snowball in the other direction and that’s up to me to stay positive and go on from here.
"I have been really lucky as everyone at Rishton wants to help me and everyone at Lancashire does as well,
"It is my big chance. With my dual passport, I have been offered the chance other players wouldn’t get back home so it is up to me to make the most of it.
"I want to try and win a Lancashire contract for next season, that’s the aim of anyone who comes over here, and I just want to play as much as I can.
"I am always itching to get out on the pitch and being here is fantastic, even though I’m missing the World Cup."
ALL THE games were washed out at the weekend and will be replayed tomorrow.