Reeve able to forget his captains' role fbyline
DERMOT Reeve is the first to admit that his skills as a cricket strategist will not be called for this weekend as England bid to defend their Hong Kong Sixes title.
'In this game, the captain does not have to do much and there isn't much strategy involved,' said Reeve. One could almost detect a hint of sadness in Reeve's voice.
Probably there is nothing more that Reeve enjoys than the chess-like moves a cricket captain makes on the field as he battles to outwit his opponents.
This is an important factor of Reeve's game. The man who learnt his cricket on the fields of Hong Kong, Reeve is a noted one-day thinker, who revels in the pressurised atmosphere of 'bang-bang' cricket.
'But at Sixes there are only four fielders and you don't need to think as much,' says Reeve, who will lead England for the second time in his career.
The first time was a fortnight ago at the International Sixes tournament in London, at The Oval.
'That was not a patch on the Hong Kong Sixes. The Hong Kong event is well organised and very well run. It is a great spectacle. The Oval tournament hardly got any attention from the public and it was badly organised,' said Reeve.
Reeve returns home to Hong Kong fully recovered from a groin strain which kept him out of action for most of the just-concluded English county season - a season during which his team Warwickshire won three of the four titles on offer.
'It has been a great season. We have set a record which I think will be hard to emulate,' said Reeve, who captained Warwickshire into the record books.
Warwickshire won the English County Championship, the Benson and Hedges tournament and also the Sunday League. The only title to elude them was the NatWest Trophy which they lost to Worcestershire in the final.
The fact that two of the three titles Warwickshire won have been one-day tournaments speaks volumes for Reeve's captaincy.
'Because of my injury, I didn't pick myself for the four-day county games. I'm more of a match-winner in the one-day game and because of this I rested myself,' explained Reeve.
This factor was one of the main reasons why Warwickshire did so well, says Reeve. 'In England, we play too much cricket at the highest level. But this season, at Warwickshire, we rested players as much as we could . . . only Tim Munton, Neil Smith, Roger Twose and Dominic Ostler played in all the matches.' Munton, who filled in for Reeve for most of the season in the captain's role was described as 'unlucky' by Reeve to miss out on a place in the England team for the Ashes.
'Munton, Twose and Ostler can regard themselves as unlucky to miss out considering that we won three of the four trophies on offer this season.
'Perhaps the England selectors were looking more at individual performances. Ours was an excellent team effort more than individual brilliance,' said Reeve.
That is, apart from West Indian star Brian Lara. 'He was very vital to us. He had the capacity to get us into good positions with his batting by scoring so many runs quickly and that helped us tremendously,' said Reeve, who will be in Hong Kong only for the weekend, before jetting back to England.
'My immediate goal is to win a place in the England team for the next World Cup,' said Reeve.
Of course, he didn't say anything about wanting to lead England to victory in front of his home crowd at the Kowloon Cricket Club.
That goes without saying.