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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Andy Bichel Q&A
Thrasy Petropoulos

Q. You've probably played more cricket over the past few months than you do in an entire Australian season, and yet you give the impression that you would play seven days a week for Worcestershire. Is that how it feels?

Bichel bowls Glamorgan's Steve James
Bichel has proved a good signing by Worcestershire
A. It's something I've always wanted to do, play county cricket. I came pretty close to playing for Hampshire and Glamorgan a few years ago but for one reason or another nothing came of it.

It all came to a two winters ago after putting out a few feelers and sounding out a few clubs. A number came back and asked me how much I wanted. The idea of me putting a price on my own game was something I had never done before.

Thankfully Worcestershire came up with a very good offer and New Road was a ground that I had very much enjoyed playing at in the past. Graeme Hick and Tom Moody involved, it was an easy choice to make.

I like the idea of playing as much cricket as possible. Everyone goes on about how much better the Australian system is but I think that sometimes they can underdo it.

There are times when all you seem to do is play in the nets.

All I want really to do is play cricket. It's the only way to improve. The only place to learn is in the middle.

Q. I bet you wouldn't get many cricketers in Australian domestic cricket being asked to name their price?

A. That's for sure. In Australia we are selected by our state and pretty much take whatever they offer.

We're never asked how much we want. I had absolutely no idea what the going rate was for an overseas player was.

Preparing for a net session with Australia
Bichel also takes his batting seriously
Q. You are 31 now. Do you consider yourself a late developer?

A. Well, the way the system works in Australia, if you are not chosen immediately you often have a long wait before being given a chance. It happened to me at Queensland and it happened with Australia.

The way I look at it, I've served my apprenticeship and want to make the most of whatever opportunity comes my way.

Q. You took nine for 93 against Gloucestershire earlier this season, a career-best. Any regrets that you didn't take all 10?

A. It was a crazy day, that's for sure. The thought did go through my mind. It's rare enough to get the first five but Gareth Batty took the sixth wicket, Ian Harvey, soon after that.

I suppose it was only when I got the next four the following morning that I realised just how close I had come.

Then again, there was so much going on. I got a wicket early in the second innings to make it ten and we went on to win the match.

Q. Be honest now - given the runs you've been scoring for Worcestershire, is batting easier in England than in Australia?

A. It's not that simple. Take my last season for Queensland as an example. I played three or four games for them last season and in two of them I didn't even get to the crease.

We've been so successful in recent years that I can barely remember a time when I had a second innings.

It's about having opportunities and taking them.

Q. Have you ever done any work other than cricket?

A. I'm actually a qualified carpenter and joiner. In fact, a couple of years ago I worked for three months on a building site with Craig McDermott.

Bichel follows the Brisbane Broncos
Rugby league remains a favourite sport
I know what it's like to have to be at work at 7.00am. It was a taste of the real world and bloody hard work. It certainly makes you appreciate life as a cricketer.

Q. I've heard that you used to play a decent standard of rugby league. Is that true?

A. Yeah, I played in the TRL back home in Toowoomba, which is a step down from the National league. I really miss it. It was different: a contact sport and different characters.

I still follow the Brisbane Broncos and there are a few guys in the Worcester dressing-room who follow the Bradford Bulls. I've also got a soft spot for Wigan. I suppose I get my fix from that.

See also:

10 Jun 02 | Warwickshire
31 May 02 | Counties
27 May 02 | Counties
20 May 02 | Cricket
01 Apr 02 | Cricket
14 Apr 02 | Worcestershire
16 Sep 01 | Worcestershire
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