INJURED NSW fast bowler Burt Cockley will have banked $110,000 from Cricket Australia – despite not having bowled a ball in anger for almost a year – by the time he returns for the start of the 2010-11 season, but don’t dare suggest he’s won the lottery.Cockley, who was picked to replace paceman Peter Siddle during last November’s one-day series in India, earns $5000 every time the Australian one-day team plays due to an injury clause in Australian player contracts.The powerfully built 24-year-old was expected to make his debut in the final game of the seven-match series in Mumbai, but the match was abandoned due to rain before the selectors named the team.His summer was written off because of stress fractures to his back, but he’s benefiting from a deal which ensures players injured while on national duty don’t suffer financial hardship.While Cockley realises some readers might think he’s won cricket’s answer to Lotto, he described it as ”hollow” cash because he’d prefer to be out working towards his ultimate prize – a baggy green cap.”I don’t play cricket for money,” said Cockley, who debuted for NSW two years ago.”Some people ask, ‘How good is the cash’ but all I see is the baggy green [cap] … it’s what I want most out of the game.”The injury payments have helped a lot. It’s the result of a system that I think shows care for the player. Cricket Australia hasn’t put me on the sideline and said, ‘Look after yourself and see you when you get back’ – they’ve helped me a lot.”Cockley hasn’t yet taken any of the Australian one-day gear out of his kit bag because he’d feel ”funny” wearing even the training gear to the gym until he actually plays. The Novocastrian has taken 30 wickets at an average of 30.43 from 10 first-class outings for the Blues after making his debut against Tasmania at Bellerive Oval in 2008.The stress fractures follow the bulging disc injury which forced him out of the Australia A team which played Pakistan’s A side last year, and it denied him a second stint in the Indian Premier League.”It’s been a very tough eight months,” he said. ”I was picked for the IPL and returned with a bulging disc. I worked on my action and while it came good, it was still a bit mixed. I came back that little bit too early and while I bowled well it probably wasn’t as good as what I am capable of.”But I was still picked for Australia A and then Australia, so I was proud to think that I’m capable of matching it with the best bowlers in the country when I do my thing.”Cockley is spending the off-season rebuilding his body through boxing, weights, yoga, running and three net sessions a week under the direction of state bowling coach Matt Nicholson.Tests conducted by CNSW show his fitness has improved to such an extent he’s now one of the fittest in the state squad.”Watching the new guys like Trent Copeland and Josh Hazlewood was great because I know they’ve worked hard for their opportunity,” he said. ”But it frustrates me to think I haven’t been able to show what I can do through injury. That’s made me even hungrier.”
Nanjing Night Net