Cricket: McClenaghan wickets all about balance

By Andrew Alderson, in Nottingham

Team experts help bowler keep attack contained to avoid over-exertion and keep injuries to the minimum.

Mitchell McClenaghan. Photo / Getty Images
Mitchell McClenaghan. Photo / Getty Images

Mitchell McClenaghan has wrestled patience and aggression in his return to a black uniform during the one-day international series against England.

The 26-year-old suffered a side strain during the first ODI in the New Zealand summer which the hosts won by three wickets. He left the field with figures of four for 56, having taken 10 wickets in his first four ODIs. The injury had captain Brendon McCullum "gutted because he's been a revelation for us ... and allowed us to attack in areas where we haven't had that luxury in recent times".

After the first two ODIs in England, McClenaghan had increased his tally to 15 wickets at 18.73. The final match of the series is scheduled to finish this morning. New Zealand were pushing for a first clean sweep against a side ranked above them in 50-over cricket since beating Australia 3-0 in 2006-07.

McClenaghan has been forced to balance the licence McCullum's given him to attack, against the wisdom of bowling coach Shane Bond to avoid over exertion.

"Brendon gives me the confidence to take wickets by coming in and hitting the deck hard without stress or pressure. That's the kind of feeling most of the players, if not all, have from the way Brendon and Mike [coach Hesson] run the team.

"I've spoken to Shane briefly about how much work he had to do to get back from his injuries. He's been helping me get my head around not being at full pace. I still need to put more work into my legs because I'm quite a few clicks down from where I was in New Zealand. Hopefully I'll be at full speed by the start of the Champions Trophy.

"Shane's been easy to approach. He has a lot of experience but doesn't force it down your throat. We share ideas and build a plan."

Former New Zealand cricketer and now Nottinghamshire professional Andre Adams popped into yesterday's final practice to catch up with a few old teammates and offer Trent Bridge tips.

He says McClenaghan's injury may have been a blessing long term.

"I rate him but it's always interesting after someone has such a successful start to their international career to see when that initial bubble bursts. Personally, I think it's a good thing he got injured, in a way.

"What happens otherwise is that he has an expectation of himself which is high, the public have the same expectation and they can't wait for him to be back. Then you get guys waiting for you to fall and people jump on you. He's come back well and is a good strong kid. I keep saying he's a weapon."

A host of left-armers have stormed the New Zealand bastille of right-arm dominance over the past 18 months. Trent Boult, Neil Wagner (in tests) and McClenaghan [in limited overs) are bona fide selection options.

- NZ Herald

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