England batsmen on this winter’s Ashes cricket tour to Australia had better take their quick singles very quickly, as the inclusion in the 17-man squad of Thornton Heath-born Michael Carberry is certain to put some speed into their running between the wickets.
Carberry, the Hampshire opening batsman, has been on the selectors’ radar for several years and was called up for the recent one-day international series against Australia, when he had mixed fortunes, being involved in two run outs with Kevin Pietersen.
Neither occasion had much to do with running speed – it was just sloppy cricket – although as Carberry revealed to Inside Croydon, part of his programme that helped to revive his career was doing sprint drills on cold, wet winter’s nights at Croydon Arena under the supervision of local Olympic hero, Donna Fraser.
Carberry will be 33 last this month, and the Ashes tour represents a significant comeback for a player who left both Surrey and Kent for lack of playing opportunities, and who after forcing his way into the England side for a single cap – in Bangladesh in 2010 – survived a serious health scare when he suffered a blood clot in his lung. It looked for a time as though his career might be over.
The aggressive left-handed batsman missed the first three months of the 2011 season but returned to score an unbeaten 300 during a County Championship match against Yorkshire. Only recently has Carberry’s health condition eased sufficiently to allow him to take long-haul flights as he will need to travel for the first Test in Brisbane in eight weeks’ time.
The blood clot was just the latest set-back to Carberry’s career. He left The Oval after Surrey’s 2002 Championship-winning season (remember those?), only to find he could not get to play in the Kent team, either.
“Those who are closest to me know the tough time I had at Kent, not through lack of performances but because my face didn’t fit and they messed me about quite a lot. I was pretty despondent,” Carberry said.
Carberry began training with old friend Fraser – fourth in the 2000 Olympic 400 metres final – as a means to improve elements of his game. “I’d had issues with cramp in the past. I’d always done lots of weight training, and wanted to see whether a different type of training would help. I wanted to get anaerobically fitter and stronger.
“Training with Donna’s group is quite varied. We’ll do track work 12×400 metres with timed recoveries, heel sprints, looking at the technical side of sprinting, maybe doing 30-metre sprints, 60-metre sprints, 100-metre sprints.
“I was doing core work. Initially to see whether I could actually handle it, but it became my main physical work throughout the winter. I was training five or six times a week,” Carberry said.
“The track training has really helped my concentration, as I feel like I can last longer with the extra fitness,” he says. “It’s been something different and I’ve really enjoyed the change to the routine and learning from different athletes.”
Carberry is joined in the England squad by two Surrey players, Pietersen and pace bowler Chris Tremlett.
Coming to Croydon
- Three plays in a pub: The Ship, Sep 24
- Old Coulsdon Residents’ autumn meeting: Sep 26
- Have a cup of coffee and help fight cancer: Sep 27
- Help break the chains of human trafficking: Sep 28
- Multicultural entertainment, St James the Great: Sep 28
- Tea at Five at the Spread Eagle: Oct 2-4
- Minster’s musical celebration for Silver Sunday: Oct 6
- Rent at the Secombe Theatre: Oct 9-12
- Debate the future of arts in Croydon: Oct 10
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- England Ashes squad announced (espn.co.uk)
- Michael Carberry’s blistering form earns him England T20 call-up against Australia (telegraph.co.uk)