RedHanded meets Jim Allenby
Riath Al-Samarrai catches up with Glamorgan all-rounder Jim Allenby to talk motorways, T20 and his hopes of finally getting an England call
How’s it all looking at Glamorgan?
We started quite well in both four-day and Twenty20 cricket but it is a base that we need to build on. The challenge early on was stringing results together. Draws are nice but wins are better and that is what we needed.
You’ve been at Glamorgan since 2009 and you’re the T20 captain so you have had ample time to assess this club. It’s in Division Two at the moment and has a ground that will host an Ashes Test next year – what is its potential?
Our potential is very high. We have the obvious advantage of a stadium that can hold a big crowd and it is very exciting that the Ashes will be played here. It creates a good, positive atmosphere. We also have a whole country to choose players from so really we can be as big as we want to be. But like every club you have to consider the finances. What is certain is that whatever resources we have we need to make the absolute most of them. Whether that is players, coaches or facilities – everyone needs to perform to at least their potential if not more. We have the players to reach a higher level and we showed that last year in one-day cricket [when they reached the final of the Yorkshire Bank 40]. That was a case of five, six or seven players coming good at the same time. We are a club that needs a lot of guys performing well regularly, not one or two doing it rarely. Like I say, the potential is as great as anyone’s, but realistically, financially our squad is small so we need everyone to muck in.
How far off do you think Glamorgan are?
There are tweaks that are needed. We saw when Mike Hogan was back home with his family in Australia, that we lack depth in seam bowling when he is not here. Graham Wagg has done well, but we need guys to back those two up because they can’t play all three forms all year without injury and form dipping. So we need to strengthen the back-up bowling. As far as batting goes we just need to be more solid, but that is coming with the signing of Jacques Rudolph. I feel we are moving in the right direction and it is not far away, but, like I said, we are the type of club that needs all its players to deliver.
How about yourself? You’ve been doing very well across the formats – is there a preference?
I’ve been lucky enough to do pretty well in all three. But I love T20. It is probably the most fun. I do enjoy the challenges of four-day cricket – it is a great way to spend a few days with your mates, trying to get a win. A win in four-day cricket means more, obviously, than T20, but everyone is just a bit more pumped up for the shorter game. The crowd goes nuts. It’s why we all like the T20 Blast – at those Friday night games everyone is excited and there is a big atmosphere. Any sportsman would like that.
T20 is also where you’ve had your best success – winning the T20 Cup with Leicestershire in 2006 and taking four wickets in four balls in 2008.
That’s right. I get really excited by it. I don’t like to close any doors so I do like all formats. I guess I don’t want to feel left out! But T20 is great. I’ve managed to produce some of my best moments in T20 and it’s something I want to carry on with.
Do you have a concern about the number of games you are playing across the formats? How many would you expect to play this season?
There is a lot of cricket, we all know that. Touch wood, I will play every game – 16 Championship games, 14 T20 games and something like 10 50-over games, so that’s about 40. Hopefully there will be a couple of finals or semi-finals as well. It is a lot, but I like it. The only thing that gets to you is the travel, staring at the motorway. Mile after mile after mile after a four-day game. You feel your mind going numb. But I love being out there on the pitch, having a bat or a bowl and playing cricket with my mates. So there’s no complaint from me about the schedule. As you get older you get used to it and you cope with the workload better. If you don’t like it you can always do something else.
I gather you’d like a bit more action in the form of England honours. You were born in Australia, but it’s obvious you’d like to finally get that England cap that has eluded you.
That’s right. It would be great. I have been over here a long time and I would love to play for England – I’ve said that for years. I am realistic enough to know it will take a lot for someone like me to get selected having not been involved so far. It would suggest to me that I will have to do even more to get selected, which is fine. I will keep trying. I got mentioned a few times last year but I will only get that this year if we start winning games of cricket. I think given the chance I would do pretty well but it is out of my hands.
Are you surprised you have reached 31 and not had the call yet?
I am a bit surprised (not to have been picked) in the shorter formats. I thought the way England’s T20 has gone for a few years that they would look at county cricket a bit closer given that we play a lot more T20. The guys who perform in that I think could do it just as well on the international stage. Maybe, having had my best seasons in 2009 and 2010, I have perhaps missed the boat. But the England management has changed and I think that will open the door for a few new guys if they do well for their county. I am certainly not ruling it out. If I get a chance I’ll take it.