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Fabian Cowdrey looks forward to captaining Michael Clarke

Tuesday 16th February 2016

Men’s First Team

Kent all-rounder Fabian Cowdrey is spending the winter in Sydney playing for Western Suburbs.

He has hit four successive 50s and now looks ahead to his final game of the season on Saturday with a familiar face in the dressing room…

It was a huge honour to be asked to lead Western Suburbs at Christmas. With just two months left in the country I was given the chance and I haven't looked back!

The club is steeped in history. Test players from the past era including the great Alan Davidson and Bob Simpson have passed through the club's gates.

Modern superstars like Michael Clarke, Mitchell Starc and the late Phillip Hughes have also taken to the famous Pratten Park Cricket Ground in Ashfield, New South Wales.

With that in mind, being offered the captaincy was an enormous privilege for me and an easy decision.

Leadership has always been something I've enjoyed and found to be a great challenge. I have embraced the responsibility that comes with it and in particular, identifying how to get the best performances out of different characters within the squad.

It has given me an insight into a role that stems much further than over the white line. It has been enormously rewarding for me to witness members of our first grade perform.

Seeing others in your side perform is an area of leadership that provides me with an aspiration to lead at some point in the future.

I first met the great Michael Clarke last Thursday, as he turned up to mid-week nets at Pratten Park. Following his lengthy photo-shoots and interviews I had the enormous pleasure of meeting him.

After he was told who I was and that I was in fact leading him the following weekend, he approached me briskly and said,

"Alright Skip, thanks for the opportunity next weekend, where do you want me to bat?"

Considering he is one of Australia's greatest cricketers, his comment left me a little speechless…

I responded, "Well our middle order is going pretty well, so I'll have a good think about it!"

Shortly after a brief laugh, I told him that he could have any position from number 2-11, and that if he chose to open he'd have to accept I like taking the first ball. I recall I also offered him the captaincy, a post he politely declined…

Watching him bat that evening was a learning curve for all those present. Every club player observed closely the intricacies of his technique with huge respect and his attitude to practice was formidable.

After he'd finished, I indulged in his knowledge for around half an hour. We discussed his batting approaches and his aggressive captaincy strategies.

He mentioned how the flatter the wicket, the more enjoyable he found captaincy, and the more imaginative it allowed him to be.

He told me the precise details of the way he used his bowlers on different pitches and the way he broke into a batter's bubble.

He also gave me batting tips as how to best manage approaching a milestone as a batter.

He spoke of his biggest innings in test cricket, and I remember him saying, "When you reach 190 mate, think of 300! Takes the importance away from the double you see!" Needless to say it was an insightful afternoon…

This weekend I have the chance to watch the world's best at work, and soak in a tremendous opportunity. Let's just say I hope I last long enough to bat with him!