Expect Josh Brodie to hit the ground running when the Plunket Shield resumes later this week at the Basin Reserve with the Wellington Firebirds hosting the Auckland Aces.
With a strong motivation to help the Wellington Firebirds rediscover their winning formula and a huge desire to play Test cricket for the BLACKCAPS, the left handed opener can’t wait to don the whites and get back into four-day cricket.
“I’m excited about the upcoming Plunket Shield games and it’s a great opportunity for Wellington to finish the season strongly,” he said. “We need to put in some good performances over the next several weeks - the batsmen need to score big hundreds and occupy the crease while the bowlers need to form partnerships and back each other up. If we can have some big sessions and dominate teams then we can climb up the ladder and be in contention for the title at the business end of the season.”
He’s quick to point out that it all starts with him at the top of the order and he’s relishing the opportunity to lead the turnaround in fortunes. “Personally my goal is to score heavily and if I can contribute with the bat and get my name out there then I’ll be happy.”
It’s been over two years since the then 21-year old left handed opener announced himself to New Zealand first-class cricket with his maiden first-class century against the Northern Knights at the Basin Reserve, reaching three figures after being stuck on 99 not out overnight.
His maiden ton came in just his fourth first-class match and he backed it up with another later in the season for the New Zealand Emerging Players team against the touring England Lions.
He was set for a prolific season last summer when he scored 403 runs in the first five matches before Christmas, including his second Plunket Shield century - 103 against Auckland. But a freak broken finger sustained while batting against Mark Gillespie in the nets ruled him out of the entire second half of the Firebirds’ 2009/10 campaign and he could only look on from the sideline as the side limped to last place in the four-day championship.
He suffered similar bad luck last month after he was chosen to open the batting for the Firebirds in the 50-overcompetition for the first time. Just four games into the 10-round One-Day competition he injured his shoulder in the field and was again forced to spend the rest of the campaign on the other side of the boundary rope.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to open the Firebirds batting for the One-Day games but I was gutted to injure my shoulder early on in the round-robin and it was hugely frustrating,” he said. "However I’ve had two good weeks to get my shoulder right and I’ve been back in the nets, doing physiotherapy, gentle rehab in the gym and swimming."
“There’s still a bit of pain but I’m going to guts it out and get through the rest of the Plunket Shield. Once I get onto the cricket ground the adrenaline will kick in and I’ll be fine.”
Such is his motivation to play Test cricket.” There’s a lot of Test cricket coming up after the World Cup and I want to be part of it. Hopefully I can get an opportunity during the winter or early next season.”
“If I could make a career out of Test cricket for NZ I’d be pleased. I’ve always wanted to play a Test for New Zealand and get a Test hundred. It’s not all about Twenty20 or the money for me. I get joy from watching people scoring Test centuries and I want one of those.”
Brodie paid tribute to former opening partner Matthew Bell, who recently retired from all cricket, and is relishing the challenge of becoming the senior opener in the Firebirds squad.
“It’s huge losing Bell for Wellington. I was 19 when I first joined the team and he was the guy who came up and made me start training with him. I learnt his work ethic and he taught me that hard work will lead to results. Off the field we are good friends and we still hang out and play golf.
“I’m excited about being the senior opener and leading from the front. It’s always been Bell with his experience and me at the other end. I want to be the senior opener. I see myself as a senior player who other players can look up to, not so much with the words more through my actions and hard work and dedication to strive for excellence. I hope I can do half a good a job as Bell and have a career somewhat like his.”
He also said Head Coach Anthony Stuart’s departure at the end of this season will be a big loss.
"Losing Anthony Stuart as coach will be big on us. Personally, he’s been great for my cricket. What I like about Stuey is even when you have a good day he’ll come back with things you can work on. He’s always striving for his players to get better every day and that is something I have enjoyed. He’s a great guy off the field. I hope we can perform during the Plunket Shield and send him off in style.”
When not playing, practicing or thinking about cricket Brodie can sometimes be found with his head buried in textbooks or on the golf course.
“At the moment I’m studying extramurally through Massey University. I’m studying business, marketing and management and sports psychology. During the summer it’s quite hard to study so in the winter months I pick up as many papers as possible. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and playing a bit of golf.”