It appears that Andrea Agathangelou is the first man with Cypriot blood to play county cricket.
The 21 year-old South African born player is almost certainly a history maker – or so the Mediterranean Island’s national coach says.
Terry Holt is the manager of the indoor Cricket Centre at Old Trafford but also the coach of the associate nation: “I can’t think of one if there has been,” he said. “I’m pretty sure Andrea will be the first.”
But batting all-rounder Agathangelou, who impressed for the Red Rose county’s second team last season, is determined to make sure that people remember him for things that happen on the field.
“My aim last year was to make an impression in the second team, which I did to a certain extent,” said Agathangelou, who played his provincial cricket in South Africa for North West.
“I am a stroke-player, I can be attacking. I like to think I’ve got a good technique. I can hit it strongly down the ground, I rotate it well enough off the spin and can bat for a long period of time.
“I really hope I can play as many first team games as I can for Lancs. But if I do start off in the second team, I want to do as well as I can to earn my spot in the first team. When I first came here last season I had to make a few technical changes – make bigger strides and wait longer for the ball.
“Obviously the ball swings more here, so you have to play it as late as possible. But it’s fantastic to be back. I can’t begin to explain. It’s really an honour to come to such a prestigious club. There’s a sense brotherhood in the side. I’ve felt welcome, and it’s been awesome so far.”
Despite being born in Rustenburg, learning his cricket in the school system there and talking with a strong South African accent, Agathangelou feels more Cypriot.
He continued: “My father’s Cypriot and my mother’s South African. I was born and raised in South Africa – but, through my ancestral visa, I’m actually Cypriot. I see myself as more Cypriot than South African.
“I have family in every city and town in Cyprus. My grandmother lets everyone there know all my achievements. When we get some long weekends, I might have to try and get over there.”
There is also the issue of how is name is spelt. Is it with an n or without an n?
He added: “When my grandfather moved to South Africa a lot of people were really struggling to say the name. He actually had the letter n removed, so in South Africa that’s the way people spell my name. But in Greek, it’s actually pronounced Agathangelou which, translated, means Archangel.”
Nicknamed Aggers by his team-mates, he actually got a duck in his first innings for the Red Rose. But that’s not the only string his bow. He can bowl leg-spin and also keep wicket if needed.
Assistant coach Gary Yates, who saw a lot of the player in the second team last season, said: “I’d probably say that he’s now our best slip catcher in the squad too. He’s in the mix for the first Championship game like the rest of the squad. He’s one to watch, definitely.”
And Red Rose head coach Peter Moores added: “Andrea is an impressive young man. He has a real focus on what he wants, and is hungry to do well. We will have to wait and see if he gets in the side, and if he does he has to take his chance.
“Obviously there are certain roles in the team that are already taken, but batting wise we have to move forward from the way we performed in the last two years and that creates opportunity for all players.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
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