Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa all-rounder Ryan McLaren has admitted that he was gutted when he was informed that he would not be travelling with the national team to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup.
However, in order to get over the disappointment, McLaren decided to represent South Africa A in their ongoing home series against the England Lions. He added that he is also using the series as a means to stay ready in case South Africa decide to call him up as a replacement for another player.
“It was a tough few days. There was a lot of disappointment, there was shock. The 48 hours after the phone call was pretty emotional but I am over the worst now. The decision has been made. I can’t complain and moan, it’s done now,” McLaren told ESPNcricinfo. “When I was asked to play for the SA A side I thought it was a great opportunity to get away from what’s happened, to focus on what I think is a really good series and in the same breath to keep playing and make sure that I am sharp.”
McLaren also believes that he was left out of the squad since fellow all-rounder Wayne Parnell possessed the “X-factor” the national selectors were looking for.
“I think it was basically between myself and Wayne as all-rounders,” he said. “They decided to go with Wayne and that’s it.
“I’ve performed consistently for two years. Whether some people see that as being the X-factor or not or whether they see that as being consistent, its not for me to decide what other people’s opinions are. If they want to express their opinion, that’s their opinion. I can’t control it. Parny has got the X-factor – he is a serious cricketer.”
McLaren’s failure to make the World Cup squad can also be attributed to the numerous injuries he has sustained over the past couple of months.
“I had picked up a shoulder injury in March and I wasn’t able to play four-day cricket,” he said. “I fell badly while fielding. The fractured arm against Australia meant that I couldn’t do any muscle strength or conditioning on the shoulder. So the arm actually felt fine but the shoulder was giving me more trouble than anything else. It took a while to get the match sharpness and strength back.
“Australia is not the place to go to not having had any cricket under your belt, rusty and and returning from injury. Anyone who plays the sport knows that you are going to go through a bad series. It’s part of sport. Did I choose to have it in that series? Obviously not.”
In order to ensure he is making the most of his career and time, McLaren is considering signing a Kolpak deal with an English county.
“It is an option to go to England but as an overseas player. These offers came in before, not as a result of being left out,” he said. “My commitment is still with Cricket South Africa.”
However, McLaren has not given up on representing his country just yet since he believes that he can become their go-to all-rounder, while also being a mentor to the younger players in the squad.
“You feel you are next in line but there is also a part for me to play being a senior in the team and pass on your experience to the younger guys in the system,” he said. “I feel I have a responsibility there. There is a lot of potential and the guys are hungry and wanting to ask questions.
“Over and above the disappointment is the fact that you have been part of a really special group of guys and a really special team culture and that’s almost more important than anything else. There’s close mates and close friends and we’ve really spent a lot of time together and I’ll be missing that. But there’s more to life than just cricket. I want to still enjoy playing. I don’t know what the future is going to be, what will be expected of me and whether I will be involved. All I can do is put in performances.”