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During the recent victory for the Exiles against the Strollers on 22 August 2010, veteran bowler Naren Patel became the first Exile to pass 300 wickets for the club. No other bowler even has 200 in fact. The Exiles website caught up with Naren to ask him a few questions…
Naren, many congratulations on taking your 300th wicket for the Exiles. How do you feel about this achievement?
Nothing special but regret not starting my career with Exiles bowling medium pace which could have brought my tally nearer to 400. When I started playing first for the Exiles I used to bowl leg spin but used to concede lots of runs and hardly took a wicket. In the third year we played a team (can’t remember the name) on a ground adjacent to CSSG where the allotments are, we were 4 short. That day I decided to bowl medium pace and took 4 quick wickets and nearly won the game. that was the start which has now taken me to 300.
Are there any particular wickets that stand out in your memory?
I have a very short memory so the wicket which stands out this season is Rob Peter’s from Agricola when I hit his middle stump after his onslaught on my bowling earlier in the season. The other wicket which stands out is that of Mark’s when I hit his stumps first on the second ball I bowled to him when we played the Nomad’s at Nursery Road. I had never managed to do that in any of the club matches prior to him joining the Nomads.
Can you remember your first Exiles wicket?
I have no idea when I took my first wicket. In fact I might have been wicketless in my first season when the Exiles did not win a single match.
Which Exiles bowlers do you enjoy bowling with – and are there any you’ve tried to learn from?
I used to like bowling in tandem with Jonty Tarbuck and that is going back a few years. The reason being that the opposition never knew where their next run was going to come from in the first 12 over or so.
How do you prefer to take your wickets?
The best way I like taking wickets is to it by my own effort and not rely on others.
Are there any batsmen out there that you particularly enjoy bowling at?
I like bowling to batsmen who like to hit everything out of the park. I feel I stand a better chance of getting a wicket against those type of players as I tend to bowl straight. However, I also get upset if they connect.
Do you have a favourite spell that you’ve bowled for the club or victory that you’ve played in?
Frankly I do not have any specific memory about any good spells. I like to contribute in every match with my bowling and every win is a good win for me particularly against some of our old and regular rivals. I say this because when we first started it took us a few seasons before we won our first game. Losing was the order of the day and it did not matter who the opposition was. However, over the years the team has improved so much and with the players we have I find it hard to take to take when we lose.
How long can you keep going – is 400 or even 500 wickets achievable?
Not sure about 500 but 400 is possible provided the team is going on for the next 5 years. Might have to bowl at a reduced pace or go back to bowling spin.
Many younger bowlers out there will be interested to know how you can keep bowling with the same pace and effectiveness, year on year – any tips for bowlers’ longevity?
The message is to keep going and never think you are old. Keep playing and don’t take breaks unless you are injured.
Naren, many thanks for your time and best wishes for your future cricketing career.
Interview by: Andy Wingfield 30 June 2010
During the recent victory for the Exiles against the Strollers on 22 August 2010, Exiles batsman John Tither brought up his first 1,000 runs for the club. The Exiles website caught up with John to ask his thoughts.
John, congratulations on bringing up 1,000 runs for the club – are you pleased with this achievement?
Yes definitely. My availability like most other Exiles is mixed but playing most Sundays for back half of past 2 seasons has helped my form. It was also good to reach the landmark against a club I nearly played for before being invited to join the Exiles. There were also some other more impressive landmarks that day.
What’s been your favourite innings to date?
The 98 (I won’t mention the 6 that was converted to a 4) against Surbiton Imperials in 2007 springs to mind. I hadn’t played much in previous 5 or so years. I enjoyed getting a big score again and chasing down 230 to win. Also, against the same opposition 83 not out last year chasing 115
someone flicked a switch that day. Anyone bored yet?
Which Exiles batters – if any – do you particularly enjoy batting with?
Anyone who rotates the strike and runs quick singles, then I remember how unfit I am and prefer anyone who hits boundaries. In no particular order and mainly because they are the batsmen I remember batting with most often, Q when he is hitting boundaries, just sit back at non strikers end and enjoy. Keith, a proper opening batsmen and good to build partnerships with. JPJ hits boundaries but also good at nudging and running, shows me up a little and despite my relative youth he just keeps running and puts me to shame.
What’s your favourite shot?
Probably cover drive and leg side pick up off pads when I’m playing well. I like to think I score all round the wicket depending on bowling but maybe some team statto will contest
Are there any bowlers over the years who you’ve found particular difficulty in facing?
Not especially, I think more about my batting than their bowling. I show all bowlers respect and have faced some very good and quick ones (remember Sanderstead away?) but try not to get too concerned about what bowlers do. Most teams don’t have 4 or 5 good bowlers so there is usually someone to cash in on.
Does it further put into context the magnitude of your achievement when you note that Martin Thomas has only scored 278 runs for the club?
Blimey I didn’t realise he was so close, I’d better get a move on. To be fair some of Martin’s runs this season and last have been scored at crucial times, I’m sure he will be happy to talk through with anyone who missed key moments.
How does playing for the Exiles compare with playing in the Durham Senior League? Presumably the standard is more-or-less the same?
Most Senior league clubs had professionals and some were current and past test cricketers. Although on a topical theme honesty and sportsmanship isn’t always apparent in the higher levels of the game. I wonder if Exiles games were scrutinised any match fixing would be apparent, I’m sure the ICC would be bewildered by Phil L’s best comedy fielding moment from last year. Exiles have some good players and a first choice 11 could be very useful.
What further ambitions do you hope to achieve whilst playing for the Exiles? You’ve already won the batting trophy once, whilst your seam bowling seems to’ve had a resurgence of late
Another 1,000 runs would be nice. I’m not sure I could bowl every week and the chief selector noted I needed to sort things out after my last spell
generally just to play as much as I can and win as many games as possible over the next few years.
John, thanks for your time and best of luck in your future Exiles career.
Interview by: Andy Wingfield, 28 Sept 2010
During the recent victory for the Exiles against the Strollers on 22 August 2010, star all-rounder Martin Thomas brought up his century of wickets for the club. The Exiles website caught up with Martin during a recent book-signing for some comments:
Martin, many congratulations on taking 100 wickets for the Energy Exiles. How do you feel on reaching this landmark?
Over the moon to be sharing this landmark with the likes of Hilson, Scott, Thomas G, Bunton. Not sure if I’ve missed anyone.
Have you tried to model your classic bowling action on anyone in particular?
I’ve analysed the likes of Fraser, Gough, McGrath, Sidebottom but I think my self-taught action will remain unique. I have in the last couple of years tried to approach the crease like Freddie Flintoff.
Are there any spells of bowling that particularly stand-out in your mind that you’ve produced for the club so far?
I did enjoy my three wickets several years ago against a decent Agricola side. Scalps included Everett, Bradshaw and Thody, who even applauded my bowling.
Which have been your favourite wickets?
Probably the ones above.
Which batsmen do you feel have coped with your bowling best?
Almond and Krunic
Do you deliberately try to bowl reverse swing at 90mph or is it natural?
My natural length is a pretty full one, so if everything slips into place, I do take a lot of wickets with yorkers. Although they’re not 90mph it is satisfying to knock a batsmen of his feet like against the strollers.
Many people have commented on your grunting during delivery – does this concern you?
Sometimes striving for that extra bit of pace does lead to the odd grunt, but that’s just the effort involved and if it helps to take wickets great.
Considering you’re an all-rounder of such outstanding calibre, do you not find it surprising that given you’ve just brought up 100 wickets for the club, you’ve only scored 278 runs?
It is very difficult to score runs at 9,10 or 11. You’re always under pressure to get quick runs, survive or win the game. You’ll note that my record batting at 7 or above is much better.
Are you viewed in Poland as your country’s answer to Freddie Flintoff? If so, how do you handle such intense pressure?
These questions do get rather stupid, bit if you want an answer – It is difficult carrying a nation’s hope on one shoulders, but you have to clear your mind and focus on that correct line and length.
What cricketing ambitions do you have for the future – are there any targets you’re particularly keen to achieve?
150 wickets is the next target as well as hopefully adding some variety to my bowling. Hopefully I’ll get some more chances batting up the order.
Do you have any bowling tips for any youngsters keen to follow in your footsteps?
I would always try and bowl full and straight. Have a high left arm during delivery (if you’re right-handed) to help you place the ball where you would like. Don’t worry about pace, as it will come if the rest of your action is smooth.
Martin, many thanks for your time, and best of luck in your future Exiles career
Interview by: Andy Wingfield