With the season just around the corner, we caught up with hard hitting opener & potato connoisseur Ollie Runswick. Here's what he had to say:
LHCC: Hi Buddha, great to see you and welcome to the 2016 season. How has the winter been and are you fully prepared for the title defence ahead?
OR: Hi guys, it's great to be back at the Peroni Stadium, it's been a long winter! I've been netting hard and working tirelessly on my fitness so I feel in great shape going into the new campaign. I've also recently secured myself a new girlfriend, so I'm hoping a bit of pre-match jiggy jiggy can produce more runs!
LHCC: That's great to hear, it's certainly about time you got a bit! Your fans will be delighted to hear about your new fitness regime, would you be able to tell us a bit more about that please?
OR: Well as you all know I've long struggled with my addiction to any form of fried food. However, at the end of the summer I was issued with a warning that my heart would explode if I hit a big enough six, so I've been limiting myself to 3 kebabs a week and I've attended the gym at least once a month ever since. I've seen some remarkable changes to my physique and feel fitter than ever, which can only be of benefit to my cricket this season.
LHCC: Congratulations, maybe you'll need a new nickname soon then! You developed a reputation last season for passing the buck, and giving your wicket away very easily. Have you been working on your concentration over the winter to help convert more of your 60s into big centuries?
OR: You are quite right when you say that. I almost cost the side the league title on several occasions last season by throwing my innings away rather than kicking on. I flew out to the Himalayas in January where I spent 3 weeks sat in a cave alone, focusing on a motionless point on the wall. I have found this has dramatically improved my concentration and I feel prepared to bat for long periods of time this season.
LHCC: That sounds like a productive off-season. In 2015 you were shamed in the local press for ruining the career of an aspiring limbless junior by needlessly hitting him for 6. How did the media pressure impact your life and what have you learned from that incident?
OR: It was horrendous to be honest with you. For weeks I had paparazzi outside my flat bothering me, and I even received a mail bomb. I know what I did was wrong, but ultimately that's business. I'm out here to win and I'll do whatever it takes, whether that is morally right or not I don't really care. I apologised to the lad at the time and gave him a £5 Subway voucher which he accepted. We have moved on. It's old news now, I'm just focused on my game.
LHCC: That's very honourable. Finally, do you have anything you'd like to say to the fans or maybe opposition teams with the season on the horizon?
OR: I thought you'd never ask! Look, we are in a good place right now. We've had a great winter of training and we go into the season as favourites to lift the trophy again. We want to win every match we play and we won't be satisfied unless we do. We know our strengths and we know our weaknesses. I'm hoping to have a new opening partner this season, and I'm hoping we get to see a bit more of Chicken with ball in hand. Jon Lown was cruelly demoted last season due to his low strike rate, but I don't recall the skipper hitting a boundary last season! It seems unfair to me so I'm hoping we see Jon return to the 1st XI this season. Chicken is a fantastic bowler. Not only physically but mentally. He is great to be around on the field as he comes up with some great plans that nobody else thinks of, and when you need a moment of inspiration there really is nobody better.
LHCC: Thanks Buddha and good luck for the season.
OR: Cheers, speak soon.