Cut Championship further, says McKay
Richard Rae discovers that the issue of too much cricket has been worrying an Aussie seamer
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.”
Way to go: Clint McKay, right, listens to the instructions from his skipper Mark Cosgrove