We couldn’t have a return of Francois without letting Paul give him a good grilling! Paul Hargreaves poses some questions on Frankies return.
1. Welcome back Francois although most of us thought it would happen last year. How surprised and disappointed were you that your registration was denied for the 2017 season?
Obviously I was a bit disappointed and in hindsight it was a long shot for my registration to go through in the first place. The more disappointing part for me was how it all transpired and was handled especially that I think there will be a few ex pro’s returning to a former club in the future. It is a shame because we all want the strongest league possible and now with the precedent set I expect everyone to be handled the same and go through the same process meaning either delaying the inevitable for a season or they go play somewhere else.
2. Was an upside of that decision that your golf game improved?
It’s true I’ve spent a lot of time on the golf course. I still love playing and will have to juggle both this season.
3. Seriously though are there any issues for you in not playing for so long or does it make you hungrier to get out there?
Yes I am excited, hungrier is probably not a how I would describe it as I’m ultra competitive and once I’m in the battle I want to win but being away has definitely given me a different perspective on the game, more relaxed and I feel fresh mentally. Regarding any issues only time will tell.
4. The league and the players you left behind have both undergone changes since your last year as pro’ in 2013. Are you disappointed that so many of the young players you helped mentor are no longer at Lowerhouse?
Not at all. It’s a massive compliment to the club and everyone involved with the juniors that they’ve produced so many quality cricketers. I’m sure everyone would return at some point as better cricketers and play out their careers where it all started.
5. How do you assess the relative strength of the team currently with the team you left 5 years ago?
I’ve not really given it any thought as I don’t think its important. Did we have a better team in 2013 than 2011? Strength of a team doesn’t mean you will have success. Don’t get my wrong it does help having talented players but I think if you play together as a team and everyone working for each other you will always be competitive.
6. Do you think the ongoing changes to the League structure are good for the quality of cricket at this level?
Definitely, I think a promotion/relegation league will make sure every game is important and strength playing strength.
7. When you arrived at the club in 2011 you inspired a big improvement in the quality and enthusiasm in fielding. Is this important part of the game something you’ll be stressing again?
I wish I could take all the credit but Nigel and co were already putting a huge emphasis on fielding before I came. It just coincided with me starting and continuing their hard work. I also don’t think their was less emphasis after I left as I know Ben did work the boys hard last year. Hopefully the hard work pays off this season and were lucky most catches stick.
8. Have you set yourself any personal targets for the 2018 season?
100 sixes. Nope not at all, just want to enjoy it and win as many games as we can.
9. In a perfect world where do you see yourself in the batting order?
It doesn’t matter really matter, I would like to open and take the game forward in cup/t20 games but it depends on how Ben wants to balance the team. I’m happy to bat anywhere.
10. On the bowling front you had some back problems back in the day. How many overs do you see yourself contributing? Will you be on a baseball player’s equivalent of a pitch count?
Don’t think so, thinking back my workload as a seamer for Lowerhouse was very high and inevitably would lead to injuries. Not being pro means it will be easier not to bowl on a Saturday to bowl 100% on the Sunday and manage the niggles that will always pop up during a season. In the end if I can bowl I will bowl as many as the captain wants.
11. I ask this slightly tongue in cheek as somebody who had kittens watching your reverse sweep in big games, but are you able to play with more freedom as an amateur rather than having the responsibiIity of being pro’?
Of course, especially at a club so well supported everyone has an opinion about the pro and I always felt a bit pressure not to disappoint and to play a certain way. To my own detriment sometimes. I’m looking forward to just go out and play.
12. Do you fancy the team to pick up silverware this year? and , if so, which competition offers the best chance of success?
I think we have a chance in all competitions, don’t think there is one you can say is the best chance because its so unfamiliar. If the rub of the green goes your way in the tight games anything is possible.
13. It’s been a long cold winter have you got enough sweaters ready for the start of the season? As someone who grew up in a better climate for cricket can you ever quite get used to the low temperatures many of the early games are played in?
I’ve been playing golf as much as possible during the winter so I’m use to getting wet and being cold. It doesn’t mean I enjoy it but its nothing new as I always came over early as pro anyway.
Best wishes and good luck Francois I’m sure you’ll get a great reception when taking the field again as a Lowerhouse C.C. player