Jason Krejza: It has been a very difficult career when it comes to injury © Getty Images
Jason Krejza: It has been a very difficult career when it comes to injury © Getty Images

Remember the Nagpur Test of 2008? Sourav Ganguly‘s last. Murali Vijay’s first. India reclaiming Border-Gavaskar Trophy and beginning of the MS Dhoni-era. Lot of memories. Lost in the annals is Jason Krejza. It was his Test debut too. Only 6 players in history have taken 8 or more wickets in an innings on debut, Krejza is among them. His bowling figures of 8 for 215 was kind of bittersweet start to his career as he had conceded the most runs by a debutant at that time, which was later bettered by Sri Lanka’s Suraj Randiv, who have 222 runs against India in 2010.

His Test career lasted 2 Tests. His ODI career was short. Played only 8 ODIs, Krejza scalped 7 wickets. After such bittersweet start, Krejza was never called back in the side but he continued to serve to the sport for which he earned the chance to represent the national side. Currently, Krejza is mostly busy in running his coaching business named Elite Cricket, which he owns and operates from Sydney. In an interview with Abhishek Kumar, Krejza expressed his views on Cricket Australia’s pay dispute with players, DRS, his journey from fast bowler to spinner, injury-prone career, getting sledged by Andrew Symonds, most embarrassing moment from his life and more. 

CricketCountry (CC): What is your take on ongoing scene over CA pay dispute with players?

Jason Krejza (JK): They need to sort out the dispute quickly, for all players in Australia to know what is happening in the years to come. The players are only wanting the same structure that has been in place over 20 years, which has worked and is great for everyone. I don’t know why Cricket Australia would want to change something that has been successful for so long, but this does play on the players’ minds so I hope this gets sorted quickly and fairly. 

CC: Your take on DRS. Do you think players/captains are yet to learn on the proper use of DRS as they have seen misusing it plenty of times because of excitement?  If the ball is clipping the stump, should the batsman be given out? For example, if the ball minutely touches the line, it is considered in.

JK: I think we should embrace the technology, even though I think it is still slightly flawed. I think some captains use it well and some don’t. But it has gone away from what it’s intended purpose was; to eliminate the ‘howlers’. For instance, top order batsman are using it to see if they can maybe get a decision turned around knowing that the game rests on their shoulders. Tail-enders are using it if they have one remaining, just because they can. So there has been some element of tactics creeping into the system and I guess that happens all the time.

I’m not sure on how it should work. There is some allowance for error, which I think is why they have the rules about how much of the ball should be hitting or not hitting. My take is that if we are going to use the tech then we should trust it — so if the ball is hitting the stumps at all, it’s out. If not, not out. Keep it simple!

Currently no as I love running my own coaching academy here in Sydney. But you never know – if I keep improving as a coach and see myself being able to influence cricket on a larger scale then I might start putting it into my plans.

CC: Tell us about your journey from fast bowler to spinner. You have a big built. Why off-spin in particular?

JK: I changed to spin due to injuries. I started as a junior fast bowler and player for State NSW junior teams as a fast bowler. At the age of 12-13 I developed a stress fracture which led me to a year of no bowling. On return, it happened again. So I played a NSW junior game as a batsman and towards the end of the game, I bowled an over of spin as we were going to win by a big margin. That over I turned the ball a lot, more than the actual spinner in our team and was pretty consistent. From this point onwards I was told I had a talent for it and continued on with spin bowling. Good move in the end – firstly because I was successful but secondly I don’t think my body would’ve held up as long if I continued to bowl fast.

CC: Your prediction for upcoming Ashes series.

JK: Australia win

CC: Are you looking for any coaching role in future?

JK: Currently no as I love running my own coaching academy here in Sydney. But you never know – if I keep improving as a coach and see myself being able to influence cricket on a larger scale then I might start putting it into my plans.

CC: How difficult it was for you after being dropped just after 2 Tests, which included a record bowling figures by an Australian in India?

JK: It was very difficult. It is something you dream of and once you are at the top you never want to leave that environment again. I understand why I got dropped but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t harsh. I hoped to have played more but that’s how it panned out for me and I am grateful that I even got the opportunity to play for my country.

It was such a blur to me because of how excited I was, I didn’t even remember who gave me my Test Baggy Green cap. I needed to ask someone years later as I always thought it was Justin Langer.

CC: Tell us about your injury-prone career and what will be your advice for upcoming cricketers on how to handle it.

JK: It has been a very difficult career when it comes to injury. Ever since I was a kid I had some issues with my knees. That was the beginning of an injury prone career. My advice to kids is to start learning your body as quickly as possible from a young age. Seek professional help and make sure you know that there isn’t anything wrong with your body from an early age that will affect you in the future. My hips were my biggest issue towards the middle and end of my cricket career. I had a defect with one mainly and the other wasn’t great either, but I didn’t have any scans on them until I moved to Hobart when I was 24.

I then needed major corrective surgery but by then the damage had been done to a degree. Look after your body as this is your tool to do the thing you love most!

CC: Do tell something about your Elite Cricket.

JK: Elite Cricket is a cricket coaching business or academy that I own and operate in Sydney. We do private coaching, specialist academies and cricket clinics during the school holidays. Once I finished cricket I had a need to help people and the best way I could do that is to teach people what I learnt over my career. Turns out I am actually quite good at it and I love it! I also do cricket tours, the main location being India as I love the place and because of my spin background I have a lot of players coming for spin coaching. So I take them to India to learn from the best!

CC: Any interesting story from your debut Test in India?

JK: It was such a blur to me because of how excited I was, I didn’t even remember who gave me my Test Baggy Green cap. I needed to ask someone years later as I always thought it was Justin Langer. It was the captain Ricky Ponting, who is an idol of mine and still a good friend.

CC: Any incident of being sledged by your heroes — Andrew Symonds and Jimmy Maher in your debut First-Class game?

JK: Yes I was sledged my Andrew Symonds in my first ever First-Class game. Wasn’t sledging really, just a lot of intimidation. I walked to the crease and he was standing right on the batting crease, staring at me the whole walk to the middle. While I was taking centre, I didn’t move and he was telling me how I was going to be hit by all their quick bowlers etc. It was very intimidating!

Rapid fire

CC: Most embarrassing moment in your life?

JK: Getting stuck on a fence while trying to jump it to go to soccer training. A wire got stuck in my pants and I ended up hanging by my underpants on the fence, feet not touching the ground.

CC: Best sledger you have come across?

JK: Andrew Symonds was pretty funny. Blunt and clever, but it was his strong Aussie accent that made it even funnier.

CC: Tell us something which we don’t know about you.

JK: I played Ice Hockey as a young kid – I was a goalie. And I am now starting to get back into the game as I love it. Fastest sport on Earth!

CC:  Which batsman you have troubled most number of times in the nets?

JK: Too many to list! Everyone slogs spin in the nets!!!

CC: Which moment in the history of cricket you would like to re-enact, where you would be the player who turned the game on its head?

JK: Australia’s World Cup win against South Africa when we got a run out to win. Would love to just to have been part of the team for that win!

CC: What is that one question you would like to prohibit the media from asking you?

JK: Do you think you should have been dropped from the Test team?

CC: Who is your favourite athlete outside cricket?

JK: Jaromir Jagr (Ice Hockey Player who I loved since I was a kid. Played for the Pittsburgh Penguins back then – my fav team!)