South African-born, Australian-raised and Middlesex-captaining Stevie Eskinazi is a cricketer of global appeal, whose star continues to rise. As we settle into winter, Stevie’s off to his other homeland, the sultry shores of Western Australia to play in the Perth sunshine.
We caught up the cool, calm and collected 26 year old right-handed batsman to reflect on his life on and off the pitch.
What are your first cricketing memories?
For sure my first cricketing memories were playing backyard cricket with my brother Greg and my dad Rob. Starting out in Southampton all the way to sunny Perth. I don't think there are many tougher places to start out. As a younger brother you get used to long days wanting to bat and not getting the chance. But that sense of patience has come in handy during my career.
Who are your all time cricketing heroes?
Tough question, there are so many players I admire and look to emulate in different ways. Growing up I idolised players like Graeme Smith and Mike Hussey, two players whose attitude was their greatest strength. I aligned myself with an ethos and work ethic that I believed would give me the edge over others my age. It’s been one of my favourite things about playing county cricket really, the ability to play with people you grew up idolising.
What's the best thing about the sport right now?
I think there are a huge amount of positives that surround our game at the moment. We are striking a nice balance between innovation and tradition. With franchise competitions around the globe drumming up unprecedented interest from crowds and a new audience being introduced to the game I think there is great reason to be optimistic about the future of short form cricket.
And what's the worst thing?
Pointless series. I fundamentally disagree with 2 match series that result in no winner. The ICC are trying to stop this style of series by introducing the test championship and other points based competitions because there is nothing worse than dead rubber cricket!
Do you think the sport gets enough support at a grassroots level?
I actually do think there is a lot of amazing work being done at the grassroots level in the UK. ECB initiatives and grants are allowing clubs that need it most to update facilities and introduce quality coaching. I do think there needs to be a slight rethink about the position of amatuer clubs as feeder teams for the professional game. There needs to be a priority on creating a high class standard of Premier League cricket that allows players a platform to perform and be noticed by counties.
Tell us about your fitness regime - how do you stay match fit?
There is quite a distinct difference between a cricket player in season and their out of season conditioning programme. Because we play between four and six days a week in the summer, the priority becomes mainly maintenance of fitness standards and recovery. Nutrition, after game sessions and making sure you stay on top of niggles are the only way to get through a full county season. They call it 'the grind' for a reason!
Out of season is the best time to make real gains when it comes to strength and conditioning. The winter sees us mixing yoga, pilates and mobility sessions with pure strength sessions and not to forget the grim mid december running sessions up Primrose Hill!
What do you enjoy outside of the game?
I have just completed my Bachelor of Business and Sports Management from the university of Hertfordshire, which I’m looking to continue into a masters. Outside of that i am a level 1 barista which is cool as I love my coffee!
What's your take on how the sport and the culture surrounding it differs in Aus and UK?
Cricket in Australia is slightly more 'competitive' even at an amatuer level. Whereas in the UK you see a lot of players playing for recreation and fun. I love the competitive nature of the australian cricket scene but there is something romantic about the British ideal of a friendly cricket game, with a cold jug of Pimms and a jolly good picnic!
How have you been enjoying Urban Jack's range?
I’ve loved it! I have recently been getting into my skincare (I have my girlfriend Brielle to thank) and these products suit me down to the ground. Being out in the sun six days a week it’s making a huge difference to be able to look after my skin. I’m really loving the Face Wash and Moisturizer combo for after days wearing sunscreen and zinc. One product that took me by surprise was the Beard and Stubble Oil! It’s brilliant and I couldn't recommend it more.