Critchley focusing on all-rounder role

Matt Critchley is looking to use his second winter in Australia to develop his skills and cement his place as an all-rounder in 2018.

The 21-year-old is in his second season of Sydney grade cricket and has been practicing with the New South Wales State squad as part of the ECB’s men’s International Pathway set up.

Currently spending the winter playing for Fairfield Liverpool CC, Critchley has continued to learn from former Australian leg spinner Stuart MacGill as part of the link-up, and now is directing his own development towards an all-rounder role.

He said: “It gives you more options if you can bat six or seven. That’s the challenge for me at training to progress every aspect of my game. It’s going alright so far, I keep getting starts – a few 30 and 40s and a 60.

“I need a big score but I feel in good touch. I will try and hit the ground running when I get home.

“We made progress with Derbyshire last year and that’s the main focus; progressing again and myself scoring runs to be the main man in the team helping them win games.”

With seven wickets at an average of 24 in the T20 Blast last season, the leg spinner recently trained with England Lions in Brisbane, adding expertise from ECB spin bowling coach, Peter Such, to the work he is doing with MacGill.

Critchley added: “It was really great because you get some good players to bowl to, have a chat with and you can see what the Lions boys are doing.

“I was in the gym, with Stuart MacGill and club training so trying to get everything covered.

“Obviously he is a big influence, it’s my second year here, and his knowledge and passion for leg spin is huge, you can speak to him, see what you like and don’t.

“He works through it well, anything you need he will help you.”

Critchley has surpassed 50 twice in five first-grade innings for Fairfield Liverpool and is the Club’s second leading wicket taker with nine victims. He also has six catches and a run out to his name, placing him inside the top 20 in the league player rankings.

And as an overseas import, Critchley is embracing the challenge at his new Club and using the experience to mature as a cricketer.

He said: “The Australians are a bit more vocal, they like to tell you grade cricket is like Test cricket, they like to tell you it’s good cricket; it’s a very good standard and they are not afraid to get into you.

“It’s not a shock really, you get to ten and they soon shut up. You are always going to get it from your own team as much as anyone but it toughens you up as a cricketer.

“It’s something you have to get used to. There’s no better breeding ground and finding a way to work on it when you are on your own.”

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