Rob Keogh: “Australians play hard”

Spending winters overseas is a much travelled route for young cricketers, who are on the cusp of a professional career in County Cricket, and for 21-year-old all-rounder Rob Keogh, a six month stay in Melbourne, Australia is his next move.

In an exclusive interview with northantscricket.com, the Dunstable-born youngster talks about his trip, the club’s new signing and his elation at signing his first professional contract at the County Ground.

Having been in Melbourne for a number of weeks, Rob explains, “I’ve settled in properly now with the family I’m staying with. They are really nice people and are looking after me well. I’ve been here for a month and don’t come home until early March, so I’ll be enjoying a six month all round trip. I’m here to play an Australian summer of cricket for a team called Hawthorn Monash University Cricket Club. They play premier grade cricket in Victoria at a very good standard. I’ve also been given the chance to bowl and train with the Victorian squad thanks to Cameron White which is an added bonus for me.”

“I’m hoping to continue the form I started to show in the summer just gone back home,” stated the youngster when asked what he wants to gain out of this trip. ”It’s also a good opportunity for me to work on a few bits of my game and also my fitness. I’m looking to improve certain aspects of my bowling and have been speaking to the Victoria spin bowling coach recently. The wickets are fast and bouncy so it is a good chance to get tested in different conditions.”

“I think it’s a good opportunity for a young cricketer to go and play in different conditions away from home,” continued the spin bowler on the importance of spending the winter in the much warmer climes of Southern Australia. “The wickets are harder and the bowlers look to bowl different lengths here than they do back home, so it’s learning to adapt your game in different conditions. The game is treated differently in different parts of the world. Australians play hard and they certainly let you know that you’re a ‘pom’ in their country. It is also an experience to be away from all the home comforts and you learn a lot off the field as well as on it.”

2012 was a big year for the Bedfordshire based all-rounder; as well as making his first class debut for Northants, Rob was rewarded for his hard work and form with a summer contract for the 2013 season. He said of his new contract, “I’m delighted that I’ve been offered a contract with Northants. I’ve been around the county for a while now, after starting as a junior ‘EPP’ player at 13 years of age, and then moving up the age groups and academy system, so to now be rewarded with a contract is amazing. I owe big thanks to the likes of ‘Rips’, ‘Rowey’ and ‘Kev’ for all the help and support they have offered over the years. Hopefully I can repay them with a good season for the Steelbacks.”

It has been a busy time recently for player recruitment here at the County Ground, and Rob was joined in signing terms with the club by Steven Crook, Matt Spriegel, Ben Duckett, Christian Davis and James Kettleborough.

Rob said of his fellow new recruits, “I think they will all be great signings for the club. I’ve played cricket with ‘Ketts’ (James Kettleborough) at Bedfordshire as a boy from 9-years-old, so its great to see him come over from Middlesex. He is a solid batter who loves scoring runs!”

“I’ve was brought up with ‘Davo’ (Christian Davis) as a boy, he was best mates with my cousin a long time ago and I played football against him a few times. We worked together through the junior and academy system and help each other with any problems in our game. He works hard on his game and deserves the opportunity he has been given and I hope he does very well for the club.”

“Benny (Duckett) is a great young signing. As everyone saw in the U19 World Cup, he is a great talent and backs his ability which is good to see in such a young player. He did well in the twos last year and it will be good to see him progress.”

“Crooky was at the club when I first made it onto the scene - he played when I made my 2nd XI debut down at Kent, and is a good all round cricketer. He bowls fast, hits it hard and is a gun in the field! It’s good to see him back in Northampton Colours.”

“Matt Spriegel coming from Surrey, I don’t know much about, but I know he again is a good all round cricketer and will be a big asset to the one day side of the game. I haven’t met him yet but I’m looking forward to getting to know him better. He does the same as me so he will be a good person to learn and develop my game from. I hope he does really well for us!”

Northantscricket.com will keep you up to date with Rob’s progress over the coming months.

Rob Keogh: “Australians play hard” www.northantscricket.com