Written by Kumudu Jayawardana
20 May, 2014 | 11:11 am
Yohan Blake, the second-fastest 100m runner in history, insists he wants to play county cricket for Yorkshire – but has rejected the chance of an immediate net with the club’s head coach, Jason Gillespie, because he has to fly back to Jamaica to train.
Blake, 24, who is competing in the 150m at the Great CityGames in Manchester on Saturday, insists that “cricket is my first love”, and that he hopes to play the game professionally when he retires from athletics.
If he were to play for Yorkshire he would join a select list of overseas cricketers to represent the county, including Sachin Tendulkar, Darren Lehmann and his fellow West Indian Richie Richardson. But while we are yet to see whether Blake can play a good game, he can certainly talk one.
“I can bowl fast and hit the ball miles,” said Blake, who used to play every Sunday at Kingston cricket club. “The bowler I am most like is Jimmy Anderson.”
It has been reported that Blake can bowl between 85mph and 90mph, however he admits he is yet to go under the speed gun. And a switch in sports is unlikely to happen for several years, as he also concedes. “Somewhere around 26-27 I think I’ll reach my peak in athletics, so somewhere around 29-30 I want to be playing cricket,” he added.
Blake says his love of the game runs deep and that he intends to watch Lancashire’s Twenty20 match against Worcestershire after he races along Deansgate – and hopes to meet Andrew Flintoff.
“I would love to see Flintoff in action,” he said. “He’s a dangerous guy. I remember him come to the West Indies in 2005. I think I was in school and that guy was so dominant. I look up to him. I really look up to him as like his aggression and temperament.”
Blake, who missed last year’s world championships after tearing his hamstring, admitted the injury had forced him consider other options than athletics.
“It was the first time in my career I was injured like that,” he said. “The type of work I had to put in to get back to where I am right now took a lot of work and a lot of crying at night. I wondered to myself: ‘Is this really happening to me?’ I had to go a whole year without running.”
“So I would love to play for Yorkshire. They are a great side full of top players. Maybe one day I can go to Headingley and have a trial.”
A spokesman for Yorkshire said they would offer Blake a net when he returns to Britain to compete in the Diamond League in Glasgow later in the summer.
“We’d love to see Yohan in the nets at Headingley. Jason Gillespie, our coach, will put him through his paces and see what he is capable of,” he said. “If he is as quick with a ball as he is on two feet then we will have one talented cricketer. The challenge is out, so if Yohan wants to have a trial we will get him kitted out and give him his opportunity.”
SOURCE: The Guardian
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