Yohan Blake, the world’s second fastest man, has set his sights on a career in county cricket with Yorkshire when he retires from athletics – and revealed he fancies himself as the new James Anderson.
The 24-year-old Jamaican, the Olympic silver medallist over 100 and 200 metres, said he could see himself hanging up his spikes and pursuing a cricket career when he was 29 or 30.
Blake, who competed over 150m at the BT Great CityGames in Manchester on Saturday, has even been invited to a nets session at Headingley, although his track commitments are set to take precedence.
“Cricket is something that I really love, it’s my first love. I think I’m going to tackle it,” he said. “I can bowl fast and hit the ball miles.
“The bowler I am most like is (Lancashire and England’s) Jimmy Anderson.”
Asked when he might turn to cricket, he said: “I’d say after (athletics). The human body slows with age but I haven’t reached my peak yet. Somewhere around 26 to 27 I think I’ll reach my peak. So somewhere around 29 to 30.”
Blake used to play for Kingston cricket club every Sunday, although that is no longer possible due to his athletics career. He is second to training partner Usain Bolt in the all time rankings over 100m and 200m.
The athlete known as ‘The Beast’ named Yorkshire as the county he would most like to play for and the county were quick to get in touch.
They tweeted: “Hey @YohanBlake you’re always welcome to come and play for Yorkshire. Let’s get this sorted and come and have a net with us. £YCCC £TopGun”.
Blake replied to the tweet, saying: “I will.”
Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur said the county were “flattered” by Blake’s interest.
He added on the county’s website: “Let’s make this happen. We’d love to see Yohan in the nets at Headingley. Jason Gillespie, our coach, will put him through his paces and see what he is capable of.
“If he is a quick with ball as he is on two feet then we will have one talented cricketer. The challenge is out, so if Yohan wants to have a trial we will get him kitted out and give him his opportunity.”
Blake has never had the speed of his cricket deliveries measured, but can reportedly reach speeds of around 85-90mph.
He should have no problem being quickest down the temporary track on Deansgate at the street athletics event on Saturday and afterwards could head to Old Trafford to watch Lancashire’s Twenty20 meeting with Worcestershire.
“I’ll have nothing to do after the race so I’ll probably swing by,” he said.
That match could have been Andrew Flintoff’s comeback and Blake added: “I would love for him to return to action. There’s T20 and Freddie Flintoff is not playing because of a little knee injury!
“I’d love to see him in action. He’s a dangerous guy. I remember him coming to the West Indies in 2005. I think I was in school and that guy was so dominant. I really look up to him as I like his aggression and temperament.”