Image courtesy of: Zimbio
New Zealand left-arm seamer Mitchell McClenaghan has conceded that he is determined to regain his spot in the Twenty20 squad and represent his country in the shortest format.
McClenaghan was told that his chances of featuring in ODIs and Test matches were slim at best, which prompted him to focus solely on Twenty20 cricket.
In a move that shocked many, he even turned down a central contract in order to play in domestic Twenty20 competitions around the world.
The 31-year-old recently played for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League (BBL) and had a solid campaign as he picked up 11 wickets in 10 games at an average of 32.81.
McClenaghan also put his name into the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, but surprisingly, he went unsold, even though he was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament last year with 19 victims at an average of 26.68.
While he has been playing in Twenty20 competitions around the world, McClenaghan reiterated that he still has a burning passion to don the New Zealand jersey in the shortest format.
“I’m still available for New Zealand,” McClenaghan was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. “It seems to be the misconception out there at the minute that I’m not available.
“To be fair, I’ve had a couple of bad overs recently which hasn’t probably made it look like I’m in great form, so I understand if they’re leaving me out based on form.
“I’ve still got passion for New Zealand cricket but, as it was spelled out to me quite clearly, the likelihood of me playing in any other format for New Zealand other than T20 is very little, so for me when I made the decision it was about me making sure I can always work on my T20 skills which are completely different [to longer formats].
“The thinking was to keep putting myself in the frame to play T20 cricket for New Zealand. Once you stop playing T20 cricket those skills disappear very quickly.”
While the Hastings native feels that he hasn’t been at his best as of late, he is confident of turning his fortunes around.
“It happens all the time. We saw that with New Zealand’s best bowler at the minute in Trent Boult,” he said. “[Against England] he took 2-46 and that’s T20 cricket. Like we’ve seen in the past, in another game he’ll go out and get 3-28, you know, winning you a game.
“If you put each game in a vacuum, you can say this guy is the best player in the world, or this guy is the best player in the world.
“But when you’re building a Twenty20 team, particularly in tournaments, you want a team of guys who can win you 3 or 4 games in a 10 or 12 game comp.”
In order to keep himself fit and healthy while he is not playing competitive cricket, McClenaghan will be launching a F45 gym in Howick, Auckland.
F45 is a new fitness craze in New Zealand, and McClenaghan revealed that his sister introduced him to the regime.
After that, former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson helped him invest in the business, which will have 10 studios opening in New Zealand in the near future.
“In all honesty, as I get a little further on in my career I guess I’ve been looking for alternative ways to keep the weight off and stay fit,” McClenaghan said. “I ended up getting in touch with Shane Watson when I was in the [Caribbean Premier League] and he’d just brought into a franchise so he showed me what it looked like behind the scenes and it was pretty inviting.
“Things like this business venture keep myself busy and keep things ticking over. You have such a short life span as a professional athlete that you need to build the life skills and be in a position where you’ve learnt a lot when you come out of it.”