This week we have professional Ocki in the hot seat – Adam and Paul asked him some questions in the run up to his 3rd season at the club:
- First questions first, how has your recovery gone since last season’s time on the pitch was cut short?
Recovery has gone well; my Achilles has fully attached. It has been a long eight months, and I am looking forward to being back on the pitch with the team this season.
- Was the recovery from injury as much a psychological one as a physical? When you get such a bad injury in such an innocuous way then it must be hard to trust your body for a while.
Psychologically it wasn’t always easy because I had to quickly realise, I was partially dependant on others to get around, but the support I have received from my family has made the recovery process easier to deal with. Personally, the best thing I could have done was to stay as active as possible, continue to maintain my fitness by focusing on other areas and be involved with the club and interacting with the team for the remainder of the season. My Achilles has fully attached, and I have been in the nets since December with other team members, so I am confident that I am psychologically ready.
- You made 515 league runs in just 10 league innings before your injury – how are you looking to take that form into this year?
It would be great to continue that form into the 2019 season. Since December, I’ve been working hard at the indoor nets and on my fitness, and I would like to think that while I was injured it acted like an extended ‘off season training’ for me. I am motivated and excited at the same time, looking forward to the 2019 season and would like to continue that standard from where I left off before the injury.
- This is your third year at the club, how does it compare to those you’ve played at in the league?
Lowerhouse CC is a great club and I’ve enjoyed every moment of being part and associated with the club. With my injury occurring the end of June, myself and family are extremely grateful for how the club has looked after me and supported me through the recovery process and would like to thank each and everyone for that. It is a massive privilege to be part of a club like this and I am sure that there will be many more memories to be made in the 2019 season at Lowerhouse.
In terms of how it compares to other clubs, each club that I have played at, is unique in their own way, however when you are part of any club no matter who the members are, the supporters or the players, everybody has always welcomed me and my family, and they make you part of the club. This I believe, has also helped us settle in the UK and that is what I would say is different. We are extremely fortunate to have made many friends in and around the league over time, and they have all been extremely helpful with settling in the UK.
With me now being permanently in the UK, and not having to leave after each season, I feel this makes things a lot easier for myself and the team because you have that opportunity to work with other team members over the winter season, get to know each other off the field but you are still part of the club the whole year through.
- And how does it compare to back home in South Africa?
No matter where you are from, cricket brings people and families together, from different backgrounds to play, watch and enjoy, for example, a 20-degree heatwave in the UK on a Friday T20 evening. The only difference is the temperature back home is double and you are guaranteed it will not RAIN that evening.
On a more serious note, you can’t compare club cricket in the UK to club cricket in in South Africa. Back home, spectators only pay to watch franchise cricket. There isn’t a lot of people that watch club cricket apart from your family and friends. The biggest difference is the conditions cricket is played in back home. The pitches are a lot firmer which makes batting a bit easier and RAIN doesn’t affect the games as much as it does in the UK.
- Speaking to Jonny, he said the final was a great game to be a spectator, did you feel that way? How do you remember the final?
To be honest, I am not too sure how I felt, more like a bag of mixed emotions, but I know that was probably one of the most difficult days in my cricket career. With my parents visiting at the time, to have played and won the final while they were here, would have been amazing but unfortunately that didn’t happen for me, as I didn’t fully contribute towards the success of winning the Worsley cup.
The way Robyn and my parents were hosted on the day was exceptional and living to see so many people watch a club game, was a first for us. Overall, it was a privilege to be a part of the team that day and it was also my proudest moment as “manager”.
- By the looks of your social media, you can’t go a week without having a braii… what’s the best thing to braii nowadays?
A braai… Rain or shine we will braai!!! It is something that reminds me of home and that’s why we have one as often as we can. The best thing to braai… Ribeye steak, marinated in olive oil with some South African spices and finished off with Jimmy’s sauce just before taken of the fire. Served medium-rare with an avocado salad, and puff pastry filled with bacon and cheese. My choice of beverage with a braai is a Brandy (South African) with Coke Zero and a LOT of ice.
- Admittedly the back half of last season must have been hard off the field for you, what were your thoughts watching it from the sidelines?
We were very fortunate to get the pro’s we did and the way they fitted in with the team and performed on match days was exceptional.
The entire team stepped up and played well the entire season, to lose two league games and not win the league is not heard of. For a team to be that consistent throughout a season, just shows the calibre of players and depth we have at the club. The maturity shown throughout the season by players will benefit us massively this season and that’s why we will be a force to reckon with.
- What are your ambitions personally and for the team in the coming season?
Personally, I want to be consistent throughout the season with bat and ball. I want to ensure that I have contributed towards the team and will put us in a good position to win games.
As for the team, I would want us to be able to compete in all formats of the game and be consistent throughout the season.