Cricket: Diet change has worked for McClenaghan

By Daniel Richardson

Mitchell McClenaghan. Photo / Dean Purcell
Mitchell McClenaghan. Photo / Dean Purcell

Vegetables have been on the menu for Mitchell McClenaghan this year and, while it might not be an attractive dinner option for the big fast bowler, it's certainly worked.

The 26-year-old Aucklander was in devastating form at the back of end of last summer when he claimed 16 wickets at an average of 16.37 in the Ford Trophy and has followed that up this season as he continues to pick up scalps by the bucketload.

McClenaghan proved tough to get away for Wellington in their HRV Cup match at Westpac Stadium last Friday night when he claimed 3-18 from four overs and his form in 2012 is a stark contrast to the early stages of his domestic career.

The left-armer started his first-class career with Central Districts in the 2007-2008 season but his time with CD was blighted by an injury list that resembled a car crash victim.

"Fractured pelvis, three hip surgeries, a snapped ankle ligament ... I could keep going if you want," he said.

So, what has prompted the turnaround in form?

"I'm injury-free, that's a big start and I'm really, really fit. I've done a lot of work with our trainer Greg Owen and Jordan Drinkall, his assistant. I've been doing a lot of CrossFit to try to get more explosive and really work on the power side of things."

As for the food options, McClenaghan has given up bread and pasta.

"The diet's been massive as well. No sugars, no breads, no nothing, really. Just good veges and broccoli, lots of broccoli. I've learned to love it."

McClenaghan was selected for the New Zealand A side who played against the touring Indians in September and took 3-42 in one of the 50-over outings, which shows he is in the wider frame for the Black Caps.

McClenaghan might expect to be given a chance at some point, given the national side's struggles across all forms of the game recently, but he admitted the selection process was a fickle beast.

"I reckon consistency is interesting when it comes to bowling because you can bowl incredibly well and not get wickets," he said. "For me, if it's coming out well even if I don't get wickets, I'm not too bothered. I guess if the selectors are going to pick you, you have to be taking wickets but I'm just worried about myself at the moment and trying to make sure everything's coming out well at my end."

It's certainly been coming out quickly and Lou Vincent tweeted after a recent first-class game that McClenaghan should be in the New Zealand side to meet England when they tour here in February and March.

"I wouldn't go that far," McClenaghan smiled. "But Lou's great with the press, isn't he?"

Auckland's next Plunket Shield outing begins on Monday when they host Wellington at Eden Park and, if McClenaghan continues to steam in and bowl well, a meeting with England in the New Year isn't out of the question.

- APNZ