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27th June 2013
McClenaghan excited by t20 challenge

New signing Mitch McClenaghan is included in a 14-man squad for Friday's opening Friends Life t20 against Durham at Emirates Durham ICG.

Lancashire Lightning squad: Glen Chapple (captain), Kabir Ali, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Gareth Cross (wicketkeeper), Steven Croft, Kyle Hogg, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Stephen Moore, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Tom Smith.

Durham Dynamos squad: Mark Stoneman, Phil Mustard (wkt), Scott Borthwick, Paul Collingwood (captain), Gordon Muchall, Jamie Harrison, Calum Thorp, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Ryan Pringle, Mark Wood, Chris Rushworth, Max Morley.

Mitchell McClenaghan will try his hardest to maintain the exciting brand of cricket he has brought to the international arena recently during his short stay with the Red Rose county.

The New Zealand fast bowler, who is in contention to face England in a Twenty20 international at the Oval tonight, will hop on a train up to Durham on Friday morning ahead of his Red Rose debut later in the day.

McClenaghan and his Lightning team-mates start their Friends Life t20 campaign up at Emirates Durham against the Dynamos at 5.30pm.

It will be the first of hopefully 13 matches in a Lancashire shirt for the 27-year-old left-arm fast bowler, who has taken 24 wickets in his last eight limited overs internationals for the Black Caps, including 23 in seven one-day internationals.

“I play every game like it is my last, and I leave everything on the field,” said the Auckland quick, who had problems with his hips during the early stages of his career. “And that’s what I will be doing for Lancashire.

“It will be a big achievement for me if I fly back to New Zealand with a Twenty20 title in the bag.”

“I was pretty excited when I heard Lancashire were interested in extending my stay in England. It is an amazing opportunity. A couple of years ago I never thought I would have the chance to play county cricket or for my country.

“I had surgery three times and spent two-and-a-half years out of the game. I have to admit it was pretty tough. They were pretty dark times. But I have a fantastic family and friends, and they gave me the support I needed to get through it.

“It has been a really exciting eight months for me. I have learnt so much about the game. And having gone through what I did certainly makes it sweeter. It makes me appreciate what I have got a lot more, and ensures I don’t take anything for granted.”

McClenaghan has really made a name for himself in the past few months with his performances against England and at the Champions Trophy.

“I am always happy to be put in pressure situations like at the end of the innings,” he said. “It is a great battle to try and outwit the batsman. The best way to stop teams scoring runs at the end of the innings is by taking wickets, and that’s what I will be trying to do.

“A lot of people say Twenty20 is a batsman’s game. But bowlers can win a match too. If you take three wickets in the first six overs, you tend to win 80 per cent of games.

“I know I am joining a team in red hot form, and I know there have been a few comments about me struggling to get into the side!

“But they can expect me to work my backside off to ensure I add to the competition for places because, as I have found out with New Zealand, that’s the best way to be successful.

“Being the overseas player won’t change the way I play my game, and it doesn’t add any extra pressure on me. I will give everything for Lancashire, just like I do for New Zealand and Auckland, and hopefully that will help us get over the line.

“Lancashire are obviously full of confidence at the moment, and that is the ideal situation going into a Twenty20 competition.”

The Red Rose county missed out on qualification for the quarter-finals last year, but they beat Durham at home and tied the final North Division match at Emirates Durham having posted 133-8.

Graham Hardcastle
Photo: PA Images

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