At the age of 39, the popular Australian batsman’s seven years with the county will end with their final match in this season’s Vitality Blast
Michael Klinger has spoken of the legacy he hopes to leave behind at Gloucestershire after playing his final game for the club this summer.
At the age of 39, the popular Australian batsman’s seven years with the county will end with their final match in this season’s Vitality Blast.
But Klinger also intends to closely monitor Gloucestershire’s bid for promotion in the Specsavers County Championship and will be a proud man if the group of young players he has watched develop reach Division One.
“I followed the recent run chase at Derby ball-by-ball, even though I was not at the ground, and later congratulated the players for reaching the target,” he said.
“It has been a real club focus to win promotion and so much work has gone into it over many seasons. Now it is close and a really exciting time for everyone involved.
“My greatest joy is seeing a group of lads who were aged between 18 and 21 when I first arrived still at the club with their game having improved so much.
“There are also guys like Chris Dent, James Bracey and Ryan Higgins now knocking on the England door and I hope the selectors take a good look at them.
“I am not taking the credit for player development because a lot of other people have been involved.
“But I do hope I will leave a legacy in as much as I played a small part in their learning process and approach to the game.”
Asked to name the highlight of his years with Gloucestershire, Klinger does not have to think for long.
“It’s hard to go past the one-day final at Lord’s in 2015 when we beat Surrey,” he said.
“But I also enjoyed all the Championship victories I was involved in because such a lot of work goes into winning a four-day game.
“A couple of wins over Somerset at Bristol also stand out because of the atmosphere at those matches. I have loved playing in front of big crowds on our home ground.”
With wife Cindy doing well in her battle with breast cancer, Klinger, who has already retired from playing in Australia, is looking forward to spending time with her and their three children when he goes home.
“When I get there I will be unemployed and I am not too sure yet what the next stage of my career is going to be,” he said.
“I will certainly look at going into coaching or the management and administration side of sport. I’ve done my masters in business and sport and it is now a case of seeing what opportunities come along.”
One thing is certain. Klinger will always be able to consider Bristol a second home, having proved a credit to the game on and off the pitch during his time with Gloucestershire.
It would be a fitting climax should he lead the team to Vitality Blast Finals day. They play their final two South Group matches against Kent at Canterbury tonight and Sussex at Hove on Friday.
Courtest of the ECB Reporters Network.