Saturday, July 11, 2009

Five counties down, thirteen to go for Marcus North

“Look mate, you have to be patient if you want to wear the Baggy Green” says Marcus North* when asked how it feels to make an Ashes debut at the age of nearly 30. North impressed with his solid innings of 54* yesterday in a partnership with Michael Clarke which finally killed any remote chnace that England might have had to force a win the first Test match at Cardiff. Asked whether his County experience had helped him North was clear: “Look, my time at Durham in 2004 definitely taught me how to bat on English pitches like this one at Cardiff, then my move to Lancashire in 2005 helped me develop further. Obviously also my spell at Derbyshire in 2006 was very valuable. In 2007 I moved to Gloucestershire and put some firm roots down and played almost a full season for them in 2008. I am also grateful to Hampshire for letting me play for them this year in preparation for the Ashes”.

Asked what he thought of the English county system North was very enthusiastic “It’s bonza mate. Most of us are at a bit of a loose end during the Aussie winter which is our “off-season”. Professionals need to hone their skills and you only have to pick up the phone to one of the counties and offer your services and they jump at the chnace. Mike Hussey showed me the way. He played for Northants, Gloucester and Durham before he played for Oz and reckons that without this experience he might never have got the call-up. Obviously the standard isn’t that high and the games can be a bit of a bore but it’s quite tough now that there are so many South Africans at the counties. I suggested to young Hughesie that he give it a go at Middlesex before The Ashes got underway and they were only to pleased to help. Watch Hughesie go next week on familiar ground at Lord’s!”

* Marcus North's words were crafted for him by Paddy Briggs

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