A place for pace in England
• Howick and Pakuranga Times
|HOW’S THAT: Mitchell McClenaghan appeals for a dismissal during a Plunket Shield match for Auckland. Photo supplied / Photosport.|
FOLLOWING the announcement of the Black Caps squad to tour England next month, one local lad who has made the grade will be ready to hit the pitch running.
Speaking to Mitchell McClenaghan prior to the announcement, the Times discovered the Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club fast bowler was itching to take on the English at their own game.
“I’ve had a pretty good start [internationally] and added something a little different to our one-day side.
“I bowl well with Millsy [Kyle Mills, also of Howick Pakuranga] at the other end, so hopefully that’s a combination that can continue.”
McClenaghan had figures of 4-20 on debut earlier this year, and collected 17 wickets in 10 ODI and T20 appearances for New Zealand, before a side strain suffered during the recent home series against England ruled him out of the remaining matches.
Yet to make a test appearance, McClenaghan, 26, believes his skills could be beneficial in all forms of the game.
“I feel like my attributes are versatile, and, at the end of the day, whatever the format, you have to take wickets to win matches. That’s my role, that’s how I bowl.
“I enjoy all formats, including the tactical side of test cricket. It’s very interesting, and you have more opportunity as a bowler to perform.”
Whatever the format, McClenaghan is sure he’ll be ready to deliver the goods.
“My role is to take wickets, be aggressive and try to swing the momentum of the game.
“Brendon [McCullum] uses me during periods when we need something to happen. That’s my job, to make something happen, even if I do go for a few runs.”
McClenaghan attended Howick College and played for Howick Pakuranga, but relocated to Hawke’s Bay, where he was born, for his first shot at provincial cricket with Central Districts.
Following a major injury, he moved back to Auckland in 2011, benefitting from the tutelage of former Black Caps Dion Nash, Andre Adams and Kerry Walmsley, his Howick Pakuranga clubmate.
“I admire Dion because of his tenacity. He had real fight. He’d give anything on the pitch for the team.
“Kerry is my overall mentor. When I need to talk about anything, even outside of cricket and dealing with the pressures of the sport, he’s there.”
He says returning to Auckland was a logical move.
“I realised I’d just been cruising through my career.
“I hadn’t worked on my diet, wasn’t as physically fit as I could be, and was lacking motivation.
“Game time came a bit easy, because there wasn’t a lot of competition for a spot in the team at the time.
“The only way I was going to improve was to move to Auckland. I knew if I could make the team, which had many great bowlers, I’d be ready for international cricket.”
To secure his future, McClenaghan recently established a business providing healthy cereals, under the Clean Paleo brand.
“You always have to look to life beyond sport. Building a background away from cricket has always been important to me.
“I’m confident the business will take off. People are more conscious about what they’re eating these days, so I think we’ve hit the market at the right time,” he says.
With the tour to England in early May, McClenaghan’s cricketing aim is simple: to be the best bowler he can be.
“Long term, I want to go down in history as one of the best bowlers in the world, and definitely one of the best for New Zealand.”