Exclusive: Circle of Cricket interview with Chris Jordan

Jordan is England’s leading wicket-taker in the shortest format of the game.

Chris Jordan | GettyDuring the three-match T20I series against South Africa late last year, speedster Chris Jordan surpassed Stuart Broad to become England’s leading wicket-taker in the shortest format of the game.

Jordan, who plays franchise cricket across the globe, has 66 scalps to his name from 55 Twenty20 internationals.

Having the experience of 202 T20 matches under his belt in addition to his variations and ability to execute yorkers, Jordan is aptly considered as a vital cog in England’s bowling wheel for the two upcoming T20 World Cups, slated to be held in India and Australia in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Coming to his exploits in franchise cricket, Jordan has turned up for teams such as Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Adelaide Strikers, Karachi Kings, Perth Scorchers, Peshawar Zalmi, Sydney Thunder, Trinbago Knight Riders among others.

The 32-year-old plied his trade for KXIP in the IPL 2020 and claimed 9 wickets in the cash-rich tournament. On Wednesday (January 20), he was retained by the Punjab-based franchise for the 2021 edition of the league.

In an exclusive interview with Ishan Yadav Mahal of Circle of Cricket, Chris Jordan opened up on his cricketing journey, shared experience of bowling alongside Jofra Archer, how it feels like playing the game with COVID-19 restrictions in place, among other things.

Here’s the excerpt of the candid chat:

Q: Describe the feeling on being the highest T20I wicket-taker for England?

A: “At the moment, it is still little bit surreal but a proud moment for myself. When I started playing I couldn’t have imagined that I would have topped the chart, I would be top of the list to break any records or anything. So, I am very humbled by the achievement but at the same time, for me my hard work just starts again now. Yes I am leading wicket-taker now but I still want to continue to keep coming with performances for England and continue as I have been and focus on team’s success more than anything."

Q: With two T20 World Cups to follow in 2021 and 2022, do you think England is best placed to lift at least one if not both titles?

A: “Yeah they [two T20 World Cups) coming in quite quick succession but I think what we as a team have been very good at is staying in the present and trying to win now and dealing with one game at a time. And so far that’s the attitude with which we have reached No. 1 in the world. Hopefully we can continue that and have some self aware to go with that current set of assets we have now.”

Q: Tell us, How was your experience with Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020?

A: “My experience with Kings XI Punjab was a great one this year. I got to meet some new people and got to be involved in a great franchise. I have always watched them from afar and thought that it looks a real fun franchise to be involved in and so it was in the IPL 2020. Along with being fun, I think there is a real focus to try and win the IPL. I think Anil [Kumble] and Andy [Flower] and the entire management staff – their drive and focus is to not only compete but really want to win and they really starting to create a real winning mentality amongst the group. We were probably one of the most watchable teams in last year’s IPL, lot of our games were exciting. Maybe when they shouldn't have been, nonetheless, exciting, a real watchable team, a real exciting team and hopefully there is plenty more to come in the next edition."

Q: So, How did cricket happen to you? You always wanted to be a cricketer or something triggered it? How it started?

A: “I started playing cricket when I was 4 years old. My dad and my aunt got me into it. Mostly I grew up in the Caribbean and my dad used to play a few friendly games at one of the local clubs. So, I used to go along and I used to do a lot of fielding even when I was 4 or 5 years old. So I started to get into it and then I went to watch my first ever cricket game. It was the West Indies playing at Kensington Oval and just watching all the stars compete and everyone cheering for them, I thought to myself that I want to be in that position one day and yeah that’s what triggered it, that’s how cricket started for me."

Q: Who was your inspiration when you started taking cricket seriously?

A: “My inspiration when I first started, my dad was a part of it and also watching the West Indies play, watching Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh. These guys really played and really performed at a very high level. As I said, when I first started like I thought to myself wow I want to be a famous cricketer as well but as I got older and as I started to understand the dynamics of the game, a lot more I sort of changed that phase from the famous cricketer to be in a professional cricketer. So yeah I always wanted to be a professional cricketer and that’s where I took my inspiration from.”

Q: You have once said that you used to give throw downs to Lara. How did that happen? Share your experience of watching cricket in the Caribbean?

A: “After everyday’s play in the Caribbean, the West Indies guys used to come on the outfield and take a few throw downs to get themselves ready for the next day if they didn’t bat that day. So, Brian Lara, Chanderpaul, Carl Hooper all these guys used to come on the outfield and I always relished that opportunity to actually be in their presence and throw balls at them and stuff so much so that I actually got left behind that they were all my friends and everything and I had to find my own way home on the bus but it was well and worthy experience. Growing up watching cricket in the Caribbean, it was very lively, very electric, you will always hear music playing in the background and horns going off and just the whole different flavour much more party atmosphere. It’s a great experience for anyone to have.”

Q: How's it like to bowl with fellow Barbadian, Jofra Archer?

A: “Bowling with Jofra is always exciting, always a good opportunity because I think we always bring out the best in each other, we always competing with and against each other which I think is very healthy and which I think also pushes us to bring out the best in each other as well. So, yeah that’s what it's like bowling alongside him. He has got very special skillsets. As much as I will teach him stuff, he will teach me stuff as well and that’s how our relationship goes.”

Q: Who's the most difficult batsman to bowl to?

A: “The most difficult batsman to bowl to. I mean there are so many. I bowled at AB, I bowled at Chris Gayle, I bowled at Russell, I bowled at Virat. But one of the most difficult actually I found was Hashim Amla because he is very hard to bowl dot balls to and he always managed to pick gaps. He might not hit the ball for many sixes, he actually used to hit quite a lot of fours and it was quite frustrating. In his own right, he was actually a bit of a 360 player as well because he can play, he can get the ball from fine leg right way around to third man. So, I found Hashim Amla actually difficult to bowl at.”

Q: A dream wicket (past or present batsman)?

A: “My dream wicket probably was or is that was actually when I first started playing for Surrey in county cricket, Hashim Amla came over to play for Essex I think it was at the time. I nicked him off, did it in my first two balls of my spell. So yeah, that was a great moment for me.”

Q: Which bowling spell of yours do you consider as your best?

A: “One of my best bowling spells was in a T20 game against the West Indies in St. Kitts where I got my best T20 figures of 4 for 6. Ball was coming out brilliantly that day, I got on a roll and I guess even more special it being against the West Indies in front of the home crowd, in front of family and friends as well. So, that was the real special moment.”

Q: How's the current scenario for Cricketers? Games are being played without crowd or after spending some time in quarantine.. how hard is this as a player?

A: “Playing without crowd and after quarantine, it can be quite tough for players for sure because you are so accustomed to feeding off the crowd’s energy and not spend so much time in your room as well in between games and after training and after games. So, it can be quite difficult but I am such a person that I look at the scenario and think it is what it is and we can’t change the situation currently. We can only give thanks that we are actually getting the chance and opportunity to play cricket and we have to make the most of that opportunity. We still get to entertain millions of people watching from their sofas and from their home. So that’s my mindset, that’s the sort of spin I try to take on it but all in all, yes it can be quite hard. So you just have to keep finding good routines when you are on tour, try to get into good habit and stay as positive as possible. That’s how I try to manage it.”

Q: What's your favourite pastime when you are not playing cricket?

A: “My favourite pastime when I am not playing, I like to dive into a good series.”

Q: Heard you didn't go to meet your family because of COVID-19, and then international commitments and IPL. Have you visited them yet?

A: “Yes now I have visited my family for the past month. So had a great time seeing my niece, my nephew, my mom and my dad and just spending some great time with family and friends.”

Q: You have been retained by Kings XI Punjab for the IPL 2021, what are your thoughts on it?

A: “Being retained by Kings XI, it's an absolute honour. As I said in one of the earlier questions, I really enjoyed my time there and had so much fun. It's a really fun franchise to be involved in and obviously we want to continue to compete on the field. We were a very watchable team last year but ultimately we do play this game to win things and hopefully we can go a couple of steps further and lift this trophy for all the fans back in Punjab this year. So yeah I am really looking forward to have another season and hopefully we can continue to put in some brilliant performances.”

Q: Circle of Cricket wishes you all the best for this cricket season and may you continue getting lots of wickets. While we end the conversation here, any message for your fans?

A: “My message to the fans, I love you guys so much. I try to put on a show for you guys everytime I step out and give a 150%. So yeah just keep supporting, keep showing the love because I have so much love for you guys and I hope to see you all soon back in the stadiums."

 
 

By Salman Anjum - 22 Jan, 2021

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