Andy McKay eyes return to Black Caps
Any time Andy McKay wakes from slumber wondering whether he can face another morning in the gym, he just turns on the television for motivation.
Seeing the Black Caps playing the West Indies without him does the trick every time.
A veteran of one test, 19 one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games for New Zealand, McKay isn't in the Caribbean or on the national list of 20 contracted players for the next 12 months.
But he is in the nets and in the gym, day after day, as he seeks a return to both.
"Once you've had a taste, and a fairly decent taste, you want to make the most of it and stay there as long as you can. That's the goal," McKay says.
It pays to think that way too. The 32-year-old's existing New Zealand Cricket contract expires on August 1, meaning he will have to make do with a significantly less lucrative Cricket Wellington one.
Wellington's list is announced on Sunday, but the dollars and cents part doesn't start until October 1.
The New Zealand Cricket Players' Association collective agreement makes provision for payments to be made to players who fall off the national list, during the two months between contracts.
But McKay is still about to take a massive pay cut.
"It's just one of those things about professional sport. You have your big ups and your big downs and your big swings, but that's just the nature of the beast," he says.
"Everyone knows what they're up for. If you can't hack it anymore, that's the time you need to retire and move on."
In McKay's case, he feels that's four years off at least.
A trained physiotherapist, he fulfilled that role with the Wellington under-18 boys' hockey team during their recent national tournament and has also spent time with the Hurricanes.
But those were one-offs and McKay's main interest in the Hurricanes was actually Wellington Firebirds-related. "Just seeing what they've been doing and seeing if I can pick up a few pearls of wisdom and see if we can bring things back to the cricket side of things."
The other thing Wellington's major sports teams have in common is that none hold a trophy.
"Tell me about it - it's definitely at the forefront of our minds," McKay says.
On that score, he believes the Firebirds are in their best position in some years to claim some silverware. At least on paper.
He feels the team have always had the talent to win things, but is disappointed that the ability has not translated itself into runs, wickets or wins.
Off the park the team is better organised now than it has ever been and that will hopefully pay dividends where it counts, he says.
McKay will leave no stone unturned in the meantime, with a September stint playing club cricket in Brisbane among the options he and Cricket Wellington are exploring. The other proposal is weekly trips to Lincoln. Anywhere will do, as long as it enables him to bowl on grass.
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