10 Questions with Oli Wilkin - Ealing CC
One of the most explosive and destructive batsman the league has seen in recent times. Oli Wilkin is a player who possess a natural ability most can only dream of, and has entertained many over the years, playing a pivotal part in the success of Ealing Cricket Club. A shoulder injury put paid to a potential first class career, but that has proved to be Ealing’s gain as he spearheads their hunt for more silverware this season. In the first ’10 questions’ interview of the season read what he had to say.
1. How did you first get into cricket?
Through my dad, he was a good cricketer in his day and loves the game so he got Mylo and me keen on it very young. Dad was finding a club for Mylo when he was old enough to join and Ealing is just where he ended up (plus its 5 minutes from our house!) Growing up with an older brother generated some serious competitiveness and the constant desire to beat him in anything and everything that I think helped massively in my sport.
2. What differences have you found between the clubs from other leagues you have played against?
I’ve never played in a different league before but having played a lot of other sides in national cups etc it seems to me that the Middlesex league probably has more strength in depth than other leagues; anyone can beat anyone at the moment, which is great! That doesn't seem to be the case in other leagues.
3. You played for Middlesex CCC, but injuries curtailed your career, how did you deal with that?
It was difficult at first not being able to play to the ability I knew I could, but after a while I accepted the fact that I wouldn't be able to bowl properly anymore and moved on from it.
4. What's been your favourite cricketing moment?
Tough. Probably winning the National T20 for Ealing in 2011, or my debut for Middlesex at Chelmsford in front of a drunk Essex crowd which was brilliant!
5. If you could pick a preferred format would it be limited overs or all day?
Limited overs for sure – the fewer the better most of the time! Suits my game better as well.
6. Are there any changes you would make in the MCCL?
The points system we have needs looking at – you can have an abandoned game and get less points than a team that plays and loses which can’t be right!
7. Who’s the toughest opponent you have played against and with?
Tymal Mills bowled absolute rockets – very happy to not face that ever again! I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of good players but probably Peps would be best I’ve played with.
8. What would be your all time MCCL eleven, you can include one overseas?
1) Simon Hawk (Ealing CC) – Hawky was playing in the 1sts when I came into the side and was my first opening partner and he was phenomenal – very laid back (absolute moon man!) and a great bloke to have as an opening partner as a young player. And he scored a lot of runs!
2) James Keightley (Teddington CC) – always seemed to score runs against us! Never gave his wicket away cheaply and also pretty handy with the ball too!
3) Luke Stoughton (Ealing CC) – his weight of league runs alone makes Beast a shoe in at number 3 – winning the league with 2 different sides too. And a complete legend
4) Pat Darwen (Ealing CC) - Dars gets in as my overseas – He was an overseas for Ealing for 2 seasons and was unbelievable. Runs wickets and a ridiculous fielder.
5) Josh Knappett (Finchley CC/Teddington CC) – My keeper batter – Amazing keeper – would stand up to anyone which was highly annoying but a great skill and a great batter too!
6) Carlos Nunes (Twickenham CC) – proper cricketer – can bat, bowl and keep wicket.
7) Chris Peploe (Ealing CC) – not much more needs to be said about Peps – class above
8) Tom Nicoll (North Middlesex CC) - Tom is too good to bat at 8 and bowls brilliant leggies. Very good fielder too.
9 Mark Reingold (Stanmore CC) - Rhino has been the bane of many a side in the Middlesex league for so many years. His mystery left armers and uncanny ability to score runs when his side needs it.
10) Dave Burton (Richmond CC) – Burts has been the best seamer in the league for many years now- so consistent and a tremendous bowler
11) Tahir Afridi (Ealing CC) – T is the best left arm seamer never to have a professional contract. Made many a good player look stupid!
9. You’ve seen some changes over the years in club cricket. What’s changed from when you first started playing for the first team?
There has been a culture shift in club cricket – not just at Ealing – but there seems to me to be less people who have a loyalty to a particular club anymore. People want to play and win but there isn’t that desire for their club to win. There has also been a change in the younger generation – clubs aren’t keeping hold of their 15-19 year olds. For whatever reason this age range are not making the transition into senior cricket which is having a negative impact on clubs, which is a massive shame.
10. You’ve been the scourge of many bowling attacks throughout the South East. What was your mindset when adopting attacking your batting style?
When I was at my best I wouldn't be thinking at all! I would literally be in a see ball hit ball mindset which worked well for me! When I overthink batting I get myself into trouble so I always try to keep it as simple as possible!