Kirby - Ryan an inspiration
Steve Kirby aims to follow the trail blazed by Ryan Sidebottom and force his way into the England reckoning.
Last Updated: 14/04/08 4:22pm
Steve Kirby aims to follow the trail blazed by Ryan Sidebottom and force his way into the England reckoning with strong performances in the county game.
The Gloucestershire fast bowler feels that Sidebottom's success for England since being plucked from county obscurity last summer has revitalised the international ambitions of all bowlers on the domestic circuit.
"It is such a lovely tonic to see Ryan Sidebottom doing so well. He has proved over three or four seasons in county cricket that if you do take wickets you are noticed," said Kirby.
"I am really proud of him individually, because he has taken his chance and is now leading England's attack and doing really well.
"From a personal point of view, he has shown the way which has given players like myself and others in domestic cricket a lot of encouragement.
"But it is all about taking wickets and backing it up, and you need to stick with your plans on how you are going to get there rather than think too far ahead.
"What Ryan did was go and take wickets day-in, day-out in county cricket - so that's what I'll be aiming to do."
Kirby, 30, spent part of his winter touring India with the England Lions but believes the only way to secure a call-up to the full is to take a sackful of wickets for Gloucestershire.
"I had an opportunity to play for the Lions in the winter - which was great - but that means nothing unless you are able to follow it up, so I'm keen to do that," he said.
"In India with the Lions it was very hot, very tough but very enjoyable - and I learnt a lot. I think if you can bowl there as a fast bowler, in those conditions, you can bowl anywhere in the world.
"Now I can't wait for the season to get started really. It's going to be a big season for Gloucestershire and, I hope, a big one for Steve Kirby as well.
"I just want to try and do as well in every game we play and I want to take as many wickets as I can.
"Any aspirations that I have got that are any higher than that to play for England will only be on how many wickets you take and how successful you are.
"I'm under no illusions. I don't want to think any further than that, but it is a massive dream of mine to play for England."
Kirby made a strong start with figures of 4-39 for MCC against Sussex at Lord's in the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic season.
But he was also knocked unconscious later in the game after being hit on the head by a Luke Wright bouncer while batting and required a visit to hospital before being given the all-clear by medical staff.
Gloucestershire begin their Division Two campaign at home to Derbyshire on Wednesday and Kirby thinks they can improve on last season's seventh place finish.
"If you look at our team we are pretty much geared up for the one-day game again this year," he admitted.
"We have a lot of the right ingredients for a one-day side in that we are a very good, athletic fielding side and have some great one-day players.
"Alex Gidman has done well over the past few years; Jon Lewis has played one-day international cricket for England.
"I'd like to think if you look at our batting line-up for the longer game it is very strong, so I don't see us losing many games.
"It is important that you try and take 20 wickets, because that is how you win county championship matches - our main ambition is to get out of that second division.
"Also the acquisition of Jack Russell coming back as coach is fantastic as well.
"Jack's enthusiasm is infectious. He was like that when he played and was the model professional, so I can't speak highly enough of him.
"He has been so helpful to me in pre-season and he is always going to be there in the summer as a tactical head to speak to."