Gruitjers article

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 2:30 PM

Gruitjers article
So Tim, is this you're first ICC Europe Men's Academy?
No, this is my 3rd time in the Men's Academy; the two other occasions were Mumbai (India) and Port Elisabeth (SA). I feel so lucky to be selected so often!

How did you get into cricket and what made you want to play?
I think the reason behind me playing cricket was because my mum is English, she loves her cricket and wanted me and my 3 brothers to play. She'd already got my father involved with her enthusiasm, he played cricket when I was young and he's now an umpire.

What were you first memories of playing?
From an early age I had a bat in my hand and played with my brothers as often as they could. I was lucky that my football club was one of the few to offer cricket in the summer and we had a really good youth set up.

You've already had a pretty busy winter, how has your training schedule been looking?
Yeah that's right and to play regularly I need to train a lot and keep myself fit. This winter I moved back to Holland to do just this. At the moment I train with the coach Peter Drinnen 3/4 times a week, alongside that I am in the gym most days trying to get my back strong and keep my weight down without hurting my back that much. With the help of the physiotherapist once a week my back stays supple. I've also started water running and this has been an excellent way to work on my fitness without straining my back.

You mention your back there, tell us about the injury?
Because of the amount of bowling and my genes, I started suffering with severe back pain when I was seventeen. At first I tried to ignore it and didn't want to admit that there was a real problem - I was scared that this would be the end of my cricket. However, two years ago it got to the stage when I was on tour with the national Dutch team that I couldn't hide it anymore and had to undergo a series of MRI scans and other tests. The results were shocking and I was told by the first specialists that I'd have to give up sport immediately or run the risk of being in a wheelchair at the age of 35 and never kicking a football with a child I hope I might one day have.

This must have been such a shock to you?
I was devastated - cricket was is my life. The problem is that my cartilage has deteriorated so my discs are rubbing against each other. However, I sought a second opinion and with the support from Warwickshire CCC I was able to get a series of four injections in my back which strengthened the tissue around the vertebrae. These injections happened a year ago and before that I had given up hope and was struggling to walk without pain. I was told that it might not work, but I have been lucky enough to have been given a second chance. So with the support from Warwickshire CCC and the faith from the KNCB I have been able to enjoy and play cricket again. Long may it continue.

Excellent. And you had your first tour to the Caribbean last month, how did that go?
It was great, personally I would have liked to have scored more runs when I got in to bat, I should have taken the opportunity to show what I can do. It was great to be around the team and training hard in good conditions. And a bit warmer than the -10 degrees in Netherlands. Team wise: we would have liked to have won a few more games but in every game we got some positive points out and with the T20 qualifiers ahead I feel we are ready to show what we are capable of!

Finally, what are you looking to get from the Academy?
I can't wait to go back to India to develop my game further with bat and ball. I used to be a seam bowler but because of my back I have been forced to bowl spin. Playing cricket and not being able to bowl was not an option. To become a main spinner in the Dutch team I need to develop this and there is no better place than India to do this. As the T20 qualifiers are straight after India I feel my batting will be mainly in T20 focus. Learning new shots and knowing where I feel my scoring options are, will benefit me as I will know what to do in every situation.

The Men's Academy takes place between 26 February to 7 March.

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