Published: 13th July, 2020
Surrey’s young seamer Nicholas Kimber says it was healthy competition with his two brothers that kept him going through the coronavirus lockdown.
The 19-year-old just so happened to have been visiting his parents in Lincolnshire when the government called a halt to situations that would allow professional sportspeople to continue training together.
That meant that rather than returning to the London flat he shares with fellow young professionals Dan Moriarty, Nico Reifer & James Taylor, he had a spell in his childhood bedroom to look forward to.
While Surrey’s coaching staff have remained in constant contact with the professional squad and guiding their training plans, it was always likely to be tough for the players to maintain their top level.
However, living with a 22-year-old brother involved in the MCC Universities programme and a 20-year-old who has represented Lincolnshire in the Minor Counties game is sure to help.
“I was just getting used to training and being around the ground every day so all of a sudden that not being part of life was strange,” he said.
“At that point we had no idea when I would be back in London too and then it ended being a lot longer than everyone thought.
“Every day the highlight of the day would be a session whether it was fitness or cricket. I managed to do all my gym sessions as we have a few weights at home.
“My brothers are good cricketers and they like to stay fit as well so we all did it at the same time to keep it interesting. I managed to bowl at them in the back garden and that was quite competitive too. If I was on my own, it would have been a lot more difficult.”
Having come through Nottinghamshire’s academy and garnered a reputation as one of the most promising young seamers on the circuit, Kimber chose to make the move to London this winter.
Bowling coaches Richard Johnson and Geoff Arnold and Strength & Conditioning Coach Daz Veness have been those from the Club who have kept closest to him during recent months.
“It was a little difficult with Jonno (Johnson) and Horse (Arnold) over lockdown as bowling drills were limited and they’re not there to see what I’m doing. I’m working with them now though and it’s great to be learning from two like that who have so much knowledge.
“Daz was always there for us, checking in that we were doing our running and lifting. Although they weren’t there, you still felt like they knew what you were up to especially when you’re logging the workouts you’ve done. You can’t slack off or anything like that.”
With current internationals like Morne Morkel, Sam Curran, Tom Curran and Reece Topley as well as several experienced professionals, there is a plethora of seaming options in the squad.
Kimber is now back in London, living at a family friend’s closer to The Kia Oval than the shared flat, and training every day with the big names that make up the Surrey squad.
As a youngster on his first professional deal, the seamer is aware just how important it is he soaks up the knowledge of those around him.
“They were around in the winter but it was more fitness based then. Now I’m bowling with or alongside these players that have played county and international cricket and I’m learning off them. They’ve clearly been doing something right so if I can do what they do then I should be on the right path.”
With only around two months of cricket expected this summer, what would make a successful first year at the Club for the young bowler?
“Because of the lack of cricket available, everyone in the squad will be even more desperate to get into the first team. Any opportunity that I get I need to be ready to take it. Everyone can give it 110% for the two months, really go for it.”