On the verge of playing his 450th game for Carlton Cricket Club, we took the opportunity of getting to know the player and the man behind the gloves and the pads. 1. What do milestones mean to you in general and your 450th game in particular?You don’t play a sport to chase milestones. Playing 450 times for the Carlton Cricket Club is an honour
2. Did you ever think you’d reach this incredible milestone?I was young and slightly overweight when I first started out and playing a couple of games for 4thXI’s would have been an honour at the time. So 450 was never on my mind!
3. Any more milestones you have your eyes on for the future?Helping younger guys to mature and improve their cricket on and off the field so that they can play for higher honours in Victoria and hopefully in Australia. That’s my role as a captain of the 2ndXI’s and that’s what I enjoy doing
4. What inspired you to be a cricketer?I played high level tennis when I was younger. A good friend of mine who lived in my street played cricket and I went to field in. Bowled a bit of leg spin and enjoyed the experience of playing with blokes with a sense of team spirit and camaraderie. I enjoyed being part of a team sport.
5. The most challenging period in your journey as a cricketer?Starting pre-season is hard as the leap from park cricket to professional cricket is challenging. I had a double heart surgery two years ago and took six months to recover. I wasn’t sure I would be back on the field. With the help and support of my wonderful wife, I mustered the determination and courage to fight it back.
6. What achievement are you most proud of in your career?Getting my first century was remarkable, but it is actually seeing the young guys I play with reach higher honours is something I love to see. Majority of the players I played with as captain in the 2ndXI’s made it to the 1stXI and I am extremely proud of it. Besides, we have won three 2ndXI premierships which were quite memorable.
7. Do you have any superstitions before preparing for games?The umpire throws the new ball at the captain as soon as you take the pitch. I never take the new ball! I make sure somebody else from the team receives it. Also, when I was younger, I would wear my left pad first and always buy new socks before every game.
8. Who is your idol in cricket?Allan Border for his drive, grit and determination as captain of Australia.
9. Any message to those who aspire to be cricketers?Get the most out of yourselves be it in coaching, training or in games. Play every game like it’s your last. Back yourselves. If you have come this far, you definitely have the talent. So apply yourselves well.
Author: Ujwal Trivedi