How did you get involved in cricket initially?
I didn’t actually start playing until I began Secondary school in Year 7. I hadn’t even thought of playing cricket, but the school team could barely get 11 players together and as I was playing other sports they asked if I was interested. I gave it a go and have never looked back!
Why did you enjoy cricket so much?
When I first agreed to give it a go it was a way of getting out of lessons, but then once I started playing I found I really enjoyed it! It was really the 2005 Ashes that got me hooked and as I started playing more and more, sharing the journey with mates from school.
Why do you think club cricket is so important?
I think it is so important because it is where you learn to really enjoy cricket. Once I was dropped off in the morning, I wouldn’t want to come home until the evening! It offers not only the opportunity to enjoy playing cricket, but also to learn how to get better.
What made you want to be a part of Club Cricket Academy?
I got involved in a few coaching sessions, helping the kids and was quite surprised at how many kids were interested in being coached and learning to play. It reminded me of me. It is really refreshing to have kids eager to learn and play cricket. The academy is also a great opportunity for me to gain some good coaching experience. So it was the perfect fit.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
I just enjoy seeing people have fun playing the game. In my opinion you don’t need to take the game seriously until you are 15 or 16, so I like to encourage the children I coach to just enjoy and they end up picking up skills without realising.
There is no right or wrong way to play cricket, the trick is finding what works for you, and so I base my coaching on finding a way that suits each individual. I also like to make it competitive – kids will figure out ways to win, which is what the game is about.
How does Club Cricket Academy benefit the local community?
Lots of clubs struggle with the youth system, with some offering better coaching and training than others, but the academy offers opportunities regardless of which club you are from. Everyone can send their kids, and it is a great way to meet new people, learn and benefit from the excellent facilities, especially through the winter months. I think it’s a really great initiative, which reflects lots of the values of Essex.
How would Club Cricket Academy have benefited you as a young cricketer?
I think it gives young players the chance to really improve their skills. I was fortunate that there were lots of young people wanting to play the game when I was starting my career, but at Chingford there aren’t many youth programmes, so the academy gives all those young players the opportunity to learn and improve.
What advice would you give to any young aspiring cricketers?
Enjoy the game and play as much as you can! Ultimately if you don’t enjoy it you won’t want to learn. Everything will fall into place. If you are forced to go to a one to one every week hating it then you won’t want to do it. The most important thing is to make it fun then the learning comes in and around that. Like I said before make it competitive – kids will figure out ways to win.
What would you do if you weren’t a cricketer?
No idea! To be honest, I’d have probably ended up as a recruitment consultant.