Perth: Australian middle-order batsman Marcus North has said that he does not get the jitters over the criticism coming his way for his poor form, saying that it is a natural part of the participation process.
He knows that not enough has been made of his achievements.
His match winning century on debut against South Africa at Johannesburg. His 125 not out on his Ashes debut, a series in which he and Michael Clarke were the only Australians to score two tons and average over 50. Or, how his name is now inscribed on a Lord’s honour board after hauling 6-55 against Pakistan just last month.
“That’s Test cricket, isn’t it?” North says from Perth, where he is with wife Joanne and their four-month-old son Archie, after the national squad’s camp in Queensland last week.
“There’s a lot of expectation and at times it can be pretty intense,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted North, as saying.
“I’ve never taken criticism badly or negatively. Players are always analyzed, and, if you’re not performing to expectations, you can’t expect easy treatment,” he adds.
“The thing is that in my 11 years of first-class cricket I’ve never had to deal with that. I’ve never come close to that sort of scrutiny at state level. It’s something I had to learn very quickly and adapt to, especially towards the back end of the Australian summer when the attention on me was growing,” North said.
He candidly admits that when he started out at the international level, he set a pretty high standard for himself.
“I’d set the standard for myself pretty high after those first two series, in South Africa and England. Then you have a couple of quiet Tests against Pakistan and it’s easy to get compared to the success you had before. But my career is only young. I’ve only played six Tests in Australia, so hopefully I can make sure my home record this summer equals what I’ve done away,” North said.
North’s relaxed demeanour amid the chaos was a fair reflection of his character.
The 31-year-old is laid-back and well-balanced. He loves golf. He spends a lot of time listening to his iPod. No particular genre. Just a good beat.
He is private and lets few people in, yet is open with friends and teammates. He enjoys being part of dressing room banter, often led by Doug Bollinger, he says, which keeps the team cool and adds to the camaraderie.
“I’m very driven, very determined and enjoy every contest. If I didn’t have that fire and desire to win then I wouldn’t be playing cricket at this level,” he says.
North rates the Lord’s triumph among his favourites of his fledgling career. But, apart from the wickets and centuries, there’s one innings that stands out for him as his best so far. “I feel I’ve achieved some big things in my 17 Tests,” he says.
“Making my debut and scoring a hundred was something I’m really proud of. It was magical. And just having success in a huge series in England, I carry that with me. It’s nice to know that when I have done well, it’s been against some of the best teams in the world. I think my best innings was the 96 I scored at Edgbaston to help save the Test for Australia. We were about 4-150 with a lot of time left. It was my job to put on a big partnership with Michael Clarke, which we did. That was very memorable and something I’m really proud of,” he says.