Cut Cham­pi­onship fur­ther, says McKay

Richard Rae dis­cov­ers that the is­sue of too much cricket has been wor­ry­ing an Aussie seamer

The Cricket Paper - - REVIEW -

De­part­ing Le­ices­ter­shire over­seas player Clint McKay be­lieves the County Cham­pi­onship should be re­duced to as few as ten matches per sea­son.

The Aus­tralian seamer, who has taken 199 wick­ets in all com­pe­ti­tions for Le­ices­ter­shire dur­ing his three years with the Foxes, says de­spite this sea­son’s re­duc­tion in Cham­pi­onship matches from 16 to 14, the amount of one-day cricket now played means the work­load is still too high to al­low play­ers to be at their best in ev­ery game.

McKay, who has played with an on­go­ing back prob­lem through­out much of this sea­son, sat out Le­ices­ter­shire’s fi­nal game of the sea­son, dur­ing which Northants’ seamer Rory Klein­veldt broke down with in­jury af­ter bowl­ing just 11 balls.

Fel­low Northants seam­ers Ben San­der­son, with match fig­ures of 8-99 from 34.2 overs, and Richard Glee­son (7-108 from 35.1), made light of Klein­veldt’s en­forced ab­sence, us­ing the ad­van­ta­geous late Septem­ber con­di­tions to their full ad­van­tage, but both were tired men at the end of the match.

“I’ve ab­so­lutely loved the last three sea­sons in county cricket, but phys­i­cally and men­tally it’s tough to be at your ab­so­lute sharpest when you’re play­ing week-in, week-out,” said the 34-year-old McKay.

“If you think the ob­ject of county cricket is to pro­duce in­ter­na­tional crick­eters, ideally you’d re­duce the work­load, so that play­ers are less likely to be car­ry­ing in­juries, and make each match even more vi­tal so they got used to play­ing un­der real pres­sure.”

McKay, who was the lead­ing wick­et­taker in this sea­son’s NatWest T20 Blast com­pe­ti­tion with 23 vic­tims in 12 games, says he has yet to de­cide on his fu­ture be­yond play­ing for Syd­ney Thun­der in the Big Bash dur­ing the Aus­tralian sum­mer.

“I’ve re­tired from first-class cricket in Aus­tralia, but may play more white ball if the right op­por­tu­nity comes up,” said the Vic­to­rian. “I’ve also en­joyed men­tor­ing and help­ing coach the younger play­ers dur­ing my time at Le­ices­ter­shire, and it’s cer­tainly some­thing I can see my­self do­ing more of in the fu­ture. What­ever hap­pens, it’s an­other chap­ter and I’m very ex­cited about that.

“It’s been a frus­trat­ing fi­nal sea­son with the Foxes, es­pe­cially af­ter we made good progress last sea­son – a lot of peo­ple seem to for­get we beat Es­sex last year and were com­pet­ing for pro­mo­tion for much of the sea­son – but what Es­sex have done in be­com­ing county cham­pi­ons this sea­son should in­spire ev­ery so-called smaller county.

“There are some very good young play­ers com­ing through at Grace Road and I’m sure they’ll be a com­pet­i­tive side in years to come.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Way to go: Clint McKay, right, lis­tens to the in­struc­tions from his skip­per Mark Cos­grove

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