London, July 12 (ANI): New Zealand left-arm fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan wants to be the best bowler in the world, especially after an outstanding start to his international career.
Making his debut in New Zealand's limited overs series during the 2012-13 tour of South Africa, he played a major hand in New Zealand's series victory, including figures of 4/20 on debut.
McClenaghan was subsequently selected for New Zealand's limited overs series against England earlier this summer, where he took 12 wickets from four matches as New Zealand inflicted a first ODI series loss for four years on the hosts.
Carrying the momentum into the recently-concluded ICC Champions Trophy, McClenaghan was one of the players of the tournament, his characteristic pace and bounce helping him to collect 11 wickets from three matches. In total he has taken 29 wickets from ten one-day internationals at an impressive average of 16.51.
McClenaghan has also performed well in the eight T20 Internationals he has taken part in, with eight wickets at 22.88 and his good form resulted in a contract with English county side Lancashire for their Friends Life T20 campaign for 2013. McClenaghan has settled in well at Lancashire and made an impressive start for them by taking 5/29 on his home debut.
PakPassion.net quoted the 27-year-old fast bowler, as saying that his father wanted to make sure that he had something to fall back upon before he took up the game of cricket.
"The thing is that if I had tried to play cricket before doing my degree, I might have not made it, and then had nothing to fall back on. The studying was very important for my family values and important if the cricket career did not quite work out," he said.
"Cricket's my passion and I'd much rather do something that I love than to do something I don't really enjoy. I'm really stoked to be able to play cricket, travel the world, and enjoy the job I do," he added.
When asked about his role models, McClenaghan that he initially grew up in Australia, and then a lot of his role models were Olympians.
"One of my early role models was Kieren Perkins, I loved the way he went around swimming and the way he trained so hard. Also, Ian Thorpe and the likes of those guys. They were my role models," he said.
"I liked the way they worked and the way they trained and their work ethic really impressed me. They showed that hard work gets you to a lot of places," he added.
He also revealed that he had had three hip surgeries during a five year period before making his international debut.
He admitted that it was a hard grind trying to get back to being able to just play cricket.
"I think you learn a lot from the ups and downs in your first few years. I learnt a lot from the first couple of years of my cricket career. You learn how to bounce back, be positive and have a bit of mental grit in your approach to cricket and life. I think I grew up really quickly when it came to the mental side of the game after the injuries I suffered. I found going through those injuries early in my career to be a good experience and character building for me," McClenaghan said.
He added: "I think the main thing with being a fast bowler is, if you're going to go flat out all of the time and give everything every match then you are going to get injuries. You've got to be able to understand that and hopefully you don't pick up too many serious injuries in your career."
McClenaghan also described Test cricket is the pinnacle of cricket.
"It takes precedence over any other format. The bigger picture though is that New Zealand Cricket are starting to get together a group of fast bowlers and the fact of the matter is you can't play all of the same bowlers in every format otherwise they are just going to suffer from burnout and pick up some serious injuries," McClenaghan said.
"New Zealand cricket has a good young group of fast bowlers coming through and they are actually being smart in how they are utilising the bowling resources in all formats of the game. Obviously, I want to play Test cricket, but at the moment I'm really enjoying being given a leadership role with the ball in the shorter formats of the game and being able to focus on that," he added.
"As far as long term plans for me are concerned, I keep it plain and simple. I want to be the best bowler in the world. I want to be that number one ranked bowler in the world and out of everyone that's playing international cricket at the current time, I want to stand on top of that podium and say that I am the best bowler in the world," he concluded.