An Interview With Nick KnightPosted on: 18 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Former England star Nick Knight skippered the PCA Masters against South Africa in a one-off Twenty20 match last week but any chance of a return to first-class cricket has been laughed off.
Knight retired from cricket at the end of the 2006 cricket season to take on a role behind the camera with the Sky Sports cricket commentary team.
The 38-year-old is enjoying his new career and is happy to leave his bat and pads behind when he leaves for work.
“It is strange going out to earn my living without having to carry the enormous cricket bag and panicking to make sure I’ve got all my gloves, kit and equipment,” says Knight.
“As most professionals would tell you, we love the sport but there comes a time when you have to call it a day and sometimes you wake up and realise that day has come.”
“I look back at my career with fondness but it was the right time to call it a day and I don’t have any regrets.”
First Class: 303*
Knight made 100 ODI appearances for England and won 17 Test caps during his distinguished career as well as having the dubious honour of facing the first ball to break the 100mph barrier.
Playing in his maiden World Cup in 2003, Knight survived Pakistan’s speed ace Shoaib Akhtar’s record breaking ball in Cape Town.
“It’s not something I remember too well. Shoaib is known as the fastest bowler in the world so I was expecting it,” Knight remembers.
“I was concentrating on my innings, scoring runs and keeping my concentration. It was very hot and humid and extremely difficult to put on a score with balls flying down the wicket at that speed.”
To many cricket observers there are two Nick Knight’s. One is a flamboyant left-handed opener for England’s one-day side; the other is a tentative Test player.
Many fans feel Knight was never given a fair chance to showcase his talents in the England Test team, despite enjoying tremendous success in the one-day side.
“I guess it’s just a tag you are given at an early stage of your career. You’re either a one-day player or a Test player and because I didn’t build great scores regularly in the Test team, I was dropped and labelled as a one-dayer.”
“Rightly or wrongly I didn’t really get another proper chance but it’s something I dealt with and in a way I was pleased that I was still being recognised as an international one-day batsman.”
First Class: 44.18
Knight began his career at Essex but moved to Warwickshire in 1995, developing into a world-class fielder and established batsman.
He went on to skipper the Midlanders to County Championship success in 2004 - an achievement he ranks at the top of his pile of cricketing glory.
“I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of the world through cricket, scored centuries for my country and had great memories but I’d pick the County Championship win as my most memorable.”
“It’s one of the toughest and challenging leagues across all sports in my eyes. You have what looks like a strong team, then the heart of it is pulled away for international duty and you’re left to take the field with whoever’s left in the squad.”
“We had strength in depth, experience, youth and a great team spirit and bond and I think it was the perfect blend. We fully deserved to win it and it was a great privilege to be involved with.”
And Knight has some words of wisdom to the England selectors who decide to throw inexperienced youngsters straight in to the international frame.
“I think the Championship is the place to learn how to play cricket, to come to know your game,” says Knight.
“What worries me about English cricket is that sometimes young players get chucked in so early (to the England team) they have to learn a hard lesson and then go back into county cricket for 18 months and get back in again.”
“County cricket has much more to offer than some people might think. I don’t like seeing kids being thrown straight into the mix and expected to just perform at the highest level. Let them mature and then take a look at them.”
Nicknamed “Stich” and “Fungus” during his cricket career, Knight also weighed in with his support for new England captain Kevin Pietersen.
“Kevin’s a leader on the field, an innovator and an extremely talented cricketer and someone who will command respect.”
“I think he’ll bring new ideas, a fresh approach and I think we’ve already seen that in the final test against South Africa.”
“He’s a dedicated individual and as long as the captaincy doesn’t curb his form then I think we’re about to see a new-look England over the coming years and it could possibly be one of the most exciting times as a cricket fan in this country.”
Nick Knight is a member of Sky Sports’ cricket commentary team and captained the PCA Masters against South Africa in a one-off Twenty20 match.
Was Nick Knight given a fair chance in the England test team? Will Kevin Pietersen take England on to a new level?
Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.
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